[Tweeters] Terry Wahl 1930-2022
pmand001 at comcast.net
Sun Feb 20 19:26:48 PST 2022
It is with profound sadness that I learned of the passing of Terry Wahl the founder of Westport Seabirds. Terry's vision for Westport Seabirds was founded on his belief that if he could unlock the mystery of birds that inhabit the open ocean to others it would bring awareness of a world few knew was even there.
The birds of the open ocean are truly amazing as they migrate through different continents during their annual migrations. Terry wanted to help tell their story and teach others the wonder of the sea. His vision has resulted in over 10,000 people being introduced to the birds and other marine life of the sea by way of Westport Seabirds.
Those of us who carry on his vision at Westport Seabirds will always be mindful and hold as our highest priority his goal of introducing others the birds of the open ocean with enthusiasm and the desire to teach others the importance of protecting these precious creations for future generations to enjoy.
Terry took me, a long-time charter fishing captain, and with patience, taught me to appreciate what I had been seeing all those years before I met him and how to use my skills to place my vessel in the ideal position so that others could get "great looks" of sea birds. I will miss him but I will always remember him and value what he taught me.
> On 02/19/2022 6:55 PM Bill Tweit <bill.tweit at gmail.com> wrote:
> I am so sorry to be the bearer of the news that Terry Wahl passed away on Feb 17, peacefully, at home, surrounded by family. For many of us, Terry was the father of birding as we know it in Washington. He and Dennis Paulson produced one of the first birdfinding guides in the nation, he started Westport Seabirds, he urged the creation of a Bird Records Committee, he birded the entire state when few others were, as well as many other contributions. To me, he was a mentor, colleague and friend, and I miss him greatly. Like many other west coast birders, I learned so much from him about field ornithology and birding, thanks to him Westport Seabirds has a amassed a half century database of seabird abundance and distribution off Washington. There is nowhere else in the world that can make this claim.
> Following is the obituary his family has prepared. At this time, I do not think there are any plans for a memorial service. His family suggests donations in his name to the Whatcom Land Trust. I also suggest that contributions to the Western Field Ornithologists scholarship or research grants program, or contributions to the Pacific Seabird Group funds supporting student research or conservation projects, would be fitting memorials.
> Terence R. Wahl, 91, ornithologist, environmentalist, and patriarch to many, died at home on Thursday, February 17th, 2022.
> Born in Bellingham on March 18, 1930 to Ralph Wahl and Jean Kennedy Wahl, Terry graduated from the University of Washington, earning a degree in business, and attended New York University in Manhattan. In 1951 he married Robin Geske, and entered the long-lived family business, Wahl’s department store in Bellingham.
> In 1972 he changed occupations and became a full-time field ornithologist. For over thirty years following his departure from retail, he worked at what he called “the equivalent of three part-time jobs for half pay,” writing environmental impact statements concerning breeding bird habitats, for both state and federal governments. He was a pioneer in bird census on the west coast, and started one of the earliest ecotourism businesses in the state – leading ocean-going tours out of Gray’s Harbor, educating his clients in the identification and ways of pelagic birds. He taught ornithology classes and conducted local birding trips for many years. In the mid 1970s he was a bird observer on a NOAA ship sailing to Peru and west to find the origin of La Nina, and on other trips across the North Pacific and Bering Sea, several aboard Japanese research vessels. His connections in the birding world brought many people to the Washington coast and to Bellingham, and he started many long friendships through this work.
> He published “Guide to Bird Finding in Washington” in 1977, then “Birds of Whatcom County,” last edition in 1995, and “Birds of Washington: Status and Distribution,” published by Oregon State University Press in 2005, compiled and edited with two fellow ornithologists.
> Terry imbued in his children a great love of the natural world, through camping trips in all kinds of weather, days spent in the woods and salt-marshes, memorable road trips throughout the west, in seeking and finding bird species. He taught them basic carpentry, beekeeping, how to shoot a basketball, how to make a pun that would leave others groaning in despair. His innermost concerns were to take care of the environment. He was one of the stewards of the world who didn’t mind being called a curmudgeon.
> He will be missed.
> In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Whatcom Land Trust.
> Bill Tweit
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> Tweeters at u.washington.edu
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