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Happy Birthday, Roger Tory Peterson

The dean of American birdwatching!

August 28th is the birth anniversary of Roger Tory Peterson. He was born in 1908 and died in 1996. RTP, as he was known, wrote A Field Guide to the Birds. His favorite bird? The King Penguin. He explains his fascination with birds: "...They are attractive, they sound off with spirit, and they can fly wherever they choose, whenever they choose... The truth is, the birds could very well live without us, but many — perhaps all — of us would find life ... almost intolerable without the birds." Happy Birthday, RTP, and thanks.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Happy Birthday Roger Tory Peterson

Written by Ellen Blackstone

This is BirdNote!

[Medley of birds]

Today, August 28th, is the birthday of Roger Tory Peterson, born in 1908. He was the author of A Field Guide to the Birds and creator of the Peterson Identification System. The combination of Peterson’s illustrations and system of identifying field-marks helped generations of novices “learn their birds.” Peterson died in 1996, but his legacy remains. [begin introducing calls of King Penguins in colony]

And his favorite bird? The King Penguin. He said: "Others see little clowns, ridiculous dwarfs, little people dressed in feathers. But they are far from that. They are highly specialized birds dedicated to penguinism, a life molded by the cold, impersonal sea, harsh climate and the crowded colonies in which they reproduce.” [Calls of King Penguins]

Roger Tory Peterson—or RTP, as friends called him—began birding when he was a child. He explains his fascination with birds like this: [Medley of birds from Interview with Burt Guttman, bguttman-01-2008-05-08-]

“To me, as a youngster, birds seemed to have it all. They’re attractive, they sound off with spirit, and they can fly wherever they choose, whenever they choose. …The truth of the matter is, the birds could very well live without us, but many -- perhaps all -- of us would find life incomplete, indeed almost intolerable without the birds…”  [Medley of birds]

Happy Birthday, RTP, and thanks. [Medley of birds]

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. NE garden ambient by G. F. Budney; calls of the King Penguin recorded by T.A. Parker III. BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
2015 Tune In to Nature.org    August 2015   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID# 082807RTP2-2KPLU petersonrt-03b

 

References: The Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, www.rtpi.org, from a speech to the NYS Legislature, Albany, NY, June 17, 1987.  Information from interview with Burt Guttman, bguttman-01-2008-05-08. 

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