[Tweeters] In memory of Dave DeSante

Art Wang artnancy at harbornet.com
Fri Oct 21 13:36:07 PDT 2022

Dave DeSante was a very close friend in the 60s and early 70s before I moved to Washington. We chased birds all over California and did many crazy things together. I think we even co-edited regional reports for American Birds/Audubon Field Notes at one time. Dave was a real pioneer in studying both migration and bird population trends. Many of the insights we current birders take for granted came from pioneers such as Dave.


Art Wang

From: Bruce LaBar [mailto:blabar at harbornet.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2022 10:20 PM
To: Steve Hampton <stevechampton at gmail.com>
Cc: TWEETERS tweeters <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] In memory of Dave DeSante

Thank you for this information. A great giant in the growth of understanding many aspects of ornithology. Sorry to hear of his passing.

On Oct 20, 2022, at 9:40 PM, Steve Hampton <stevechampton at gmail.com <mailto:stevechampton at gmail.com> > wrote:

I'm passing this on from CalBirds regarding Dave DeSante, who first studied and coined the term mirror-image misorientation.

His focus and kindness touched the lives of many decades of birders far and wide.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Kimball Garrett <cyanolyca818 at gmail.com <mailto:cyanolyca818 at gmail.com> >
Date: Thu, Oct 20, 2022 at 10:23 AM
Subject: [CALBIRDS] Dave DeSante
To: <calbirds at groups.io <mailto:calbirds at groups.io> >


I know that these email birding listservs have largely fallen out of favor with birders these days, but I am surprised not to have seen mention on Calbirds of the passing of Dave DeSante on October 18th, as reported in yesterday's message from Rodney Siegel, Executive Director of the Institute for Bird Populations. Dave was a giant in California birding and ornithology through his work on navigation and vagrancy in migratory birds, and of course his founding of the IBP led to the great work that organization has done for decades on bird population monitoring and conservation biology. Every bird bander, bird conservationist, and vagrant seeker in the Americas is well aware of Dave's contributions.

The message from IBP said Dave passed away while "pursuing a sighting of a vagrant bird, which in this case was an ultra-rare Willow Warbler that showed up in Marin County." Dave's doctoral dissertation at Stanford University on vagrancy was pioneering and set the stage for our understanding of a phenomenon that ignites the passion of many birders. And his work certainly cemented the status of Southeast Farallon Island as one of the premier vagrant traps in the world. Among his findings was the notion of "mirror-image" misorientation, which ironically might go a long way toward explaining the recent appearance in California of the two primarily European Phylloscopus warblers (Wood Warbler and Willow Warbler) that have attracted hundreds of birders each the past few days.

Please think of Dave on your next vagrant chase, or even just the next time you are out and enjoying birds. We owe him so much and will certainly feel his loss.

Kimball Garrett

Juniper Hills, CA



Steve Hampton

Port Townsend, WA (qatáy)

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