[CT Birds] Richard English

jtriana1 at sbcglobal.net jtriana1 at sbcglobal.net
Thu Jul 14 17:43:45 EDT 2011


As the historian of the New Haven Bird Club, I am saving all the notes and
remembrances from CTBirds about Richard and will add them to our archives.
'Thank you' to everyone who has commented.  If you have more that you'd like
to share off-list, you can email me directly.  I'd also be interested in any
photos you have of him.

Back in the spring, Patrick Comins asked me for some information on Richard
as he was going to receive the President's Award at the COA meeting.  The
following is a list of information about Richard that I provided.

I'm just going to give you a number of bullets about him.  Obviously, most
of what I have is based on NHBC history.  However, many across the state
have benefited from his work, whether they know it or not.
- First joined the NHBC as a junior member in 1946.  His parents were
members back into the 1920's.  His is the longest membership in the history
of the NHBC.
- He and his parents (Philip and Katherine) were the first to join the NHBC
as life members in the early 1970's.  (note: we bestowed life membership on
at least one other person before that, but they were the first to join at
that level).
- He served as NHBC president from 1965-1967.  This was during a period when
NHBC was transitioning from somewhat of a social club interested in birds in
the 1940's-1950's to a more hardcore birding group.  It started in the early
1960's when folks like Mae McCabe, Tony Cosenza, and Bill Stoddard started
to make various lists and restarted the New Haven CBC.  We have almost no
record of participation in CBC's during the 1940's-1950's - only one mention
in 1953.  The first one that appears in the minutes after that is the 1960
CBC that included Richard.
- Richard was in the middle of that crescendo of birding in the 1960's.
After taking the torch from those that I mentioned, he ran with people like
Noble Proctor and Davis Finch, getting the club more and more involved in
what we would consider "birding" as we know it today.  He would then pass
the torch to people like the Letis' and Fred Sibley.
- Two of Richard's biggest accomplishments for the club were 1) an update of
our checklist in 1965.  The previous checklist was done in the late 1920's.
We've updated our New Haven County checklist several times since 1965,
always relying on his notes from the 1960's. 2) He was one of the founders
of our hawkwatch site at Lighthouse back in the 1970's.
- Richard (and his whole family) have been very generous towards parks and
environmental concerns around the state, but especially in New Haven.  There
was an English on the New Haven Parks Commission for many years - preserving
many of the places we hold near and dear (e.g. East Rock Park and Lighthouse
Pt. Park).  They've donated money for parks and bird sanctuaries in many
places.  One such location is the Richard English Bird Sanctuary next to
Deer Lake in Killingworth.  I believe it is part of a scout camp.
- One more personal note.....Richard comes from a long line of successful
Connecticut Yankees.  I believe that he has CT governors on both parts of
his family tree (from his father's and mother's side).  While he goes to
operas and enjoys the things that might be stereotypical of a person of
great wealth, he is very down-to-earth, extremely friendly, and never puts
on airs.  I have been a member of the NHBC for many years myself, going back
to the early 1980's when I was in junior high school.  When I came back in
the area after grad school and got involved in the club again, I remember
going to my first annual banquet.  I was sitting at a sparsely populated
table, not really talking to anyone.  Someone tapped me on the shoulder from
a neighboring table and asked if I had seen anything interesting lately.
That person was Richard.  We talked for a while, with him sounding like he
had known me forever.  I knew who he was, but I am sure he didn't know my
name at the time.  It was a gesture of kindness I will never forget.  I
often try to "pay it forward" when I see someone by themselves at walks or

Thank you Richard.  Godspeed.


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