In Memoriam

Julio de la Torre — 7/8/2017

Julio de la Torres
Julio de la Torre

LSNY received a $100 gift in memory of Julio de la Torre from Emily Nissley of New Canaan, Connecticut. Julio was president of the Society from 1995 to 1997, and a life member. An obituary is at ncadvertiser.com/obituary-julio-de-la-torre-83-intellectual-and-naturalist.

Julio de la Torre passed away on July 8, 2017 at age 83. Julio was born on February 14, 1934 in Havana, Cuba and grew up there. He moved to the U.S. in his early twenties, and later became an American citizen. He was a multilingual intellectual and a naturalist interested in birds of prey, especially owls. His book Owls: Their Life and Behavior remains well-regarded in the field. Stalking the owl on It's Home Ground by Suzanne DeChillo, New York Times, March 9, 1986, is an article about Julio and Owls. Julio was interested in the study of habitat dynamics and worked towards the preservation of wetlands. He was a longtime member and officer of the New Canaan Audubon Society, and president and life member of The Linnaean Society of New York.

He was laid to rest at Lakeview Cemetery, New Canaan, CT. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Julio’s memory to The Linnaean Society of New York, Attn: Secretary, P.O. Box 4121 New York, NY 10163-4121. See linnaeannewyork.org/about/membership-contributions.

Irving Cantor — 6/10/2017

Irving Cantor died on June 10, 2017, at the age of 97. He is survived by his wife Jean.

Irving was a Fellow of the Linnaean Society of New York and, according to the editor of the News-Letter, a member since 1940. He was the last of the Bronx County Boys.

Irving surprised me by signing up for our Rio Grande Valley Festival birding trip for the Linnaean Society in 2006. Later he went with us to Northern California and after that Laurie and I took him to Argentina for a couple of weeks of birding in 2010. Two weeks of hard travel was almost too much for Irving at that time, but he insisted on the second week so we could go to Argentine Patagonia, where we finally saw the Magellanic Woodpecker. As always, he flew first class.

Sometime after that, Irving asked me to join him on the Audit Committee of the New York State Ornithological Association. Irving had chaired the committee for many years, and I think he saw he was coming to the end of it.

When Irving and Jean moved from East 32nd Street to North End Avenue—I think it was around 2010—Irving gave up Central Park birding, which he had begun to find unrewarding anyway, and he made it his business to know all about the birds in Nelson A. Rockefeller Park—he knew how many Robins, and how many Double-crested Cormorants, were present virtually every day for several years. We would have lunch every month or so and in spring and fall I would take my binoculars along and we would spend an hour and a half in that little park.

A side of Irving not well known in the birding community was his interest in financial matters. He was a registered stockbroker, as well as an accountant, and we talked at length about investments. Another side, better known to everyone who knew him—he did not like food.

I never knew exactly how many birds Irving had seen. I don’t think he knew either. He wasn’t that kind of birder (I am that kind of birder). He kept meticulous records; he liked to see birds and keep track. In an article in the Linnaean News-Letter in 2015, Irving wrote about Central Park birding—

It was four years before I saw my first American Crow in the Park and almost six years before the first Red-tailed Hawk. The Park also bore witness to population shifts in our common water birds over those eight decades [1935-2015]. Some examples: Buffleheads unknown; Ruddy Ducks and Northern Shovelers – very rare; Great and Snowy Egrets – unknown; Double-crested Cormorants – accidental; Great Black-backed and Ring-billed Gulls – rare; and Laughing Gulls were common transients.

We will miss his careful reporting. We will miss Irving’s good sense, generosity, and frequent indignation. We will miss our friend.

by John Cairns, Former President, Linnaean Society of New York

Irving Cantor memorial Service and reception following

There will be a Memorial Service to celebrate Irving’s life on Friday June 23 at the

Crestwood Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St, Greenwich Village, on Friday, June 23 at 11:00 AM,
Followed by a reception and lunch at Irving and Jean’s residence
Brookdale Senior Living, 455 North End Avenue, just about 10 minutes away from 12:30-2PM.

Please send me any material you think would be good to include in an obituary which we will be preparing. He will be sorely missed.  Pictures would also be appreciated for the service.

Irv’s good friends, Israeli birders, will be coming to the US in October and we are hoping to have a birding tribute at that time including Linnaean, Audubon, and ASPNI members on or about Tuesday, October 31.

Robin Gordon (aspni@aol.com)
Director of the American Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.

Chandler Robbins — 3/20/2017

Chandler Robbins, an Eisenmann Medalist (July 17, 1918 - March 20, 2017) of Laurel, Maryland.

Ornithologist and birding legend Chandler S. Robbins died at the age of 98. Birders are probably most familiar with Chandler Robbins as the author (with Bertel Bruun and Herbert Zim) of the groundbreaking “Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification”, illustrated by Arthur Singer, published in 1966 - often called by birders, the "Singer Guide" or the "Golden Guide". Chan joined the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a biologist in 1945 and retired in 2005 from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel Maryland, after sixty years with the Service. He organized and for decades ran the annual North American Breeding Bird Survey. He was also an active bird bander and in 1956 banded a Laysan Albatross on Midway Island in the Pacific that has come to be nicknamed "Wisdom". The albatross is now the oldest banded wild bird in the world and in 2017 was still nesting on Midway. Since the bird was an adult when it was banded, it is at least 66 years old. Chan was awarded the Eisenmann Medal by the Linnaean Society of New York in 1987 for "excellence in ornithology and encouragement of the amateur". Since Chan was based in Maryland for most of his career, many New York birders may not have known him personally, but all have been influenced by his life and work, whether they knew him or not. Those who had the fortune to meet him know what a great person he was. A true legend.

By Joseph DiCostanzo

Sarah Elliott — 10/12/2016

Dear Fellow Birders,

It is with sadness that I let you know that our friend Sarah Elliott passed away on October 12th. Sarah was a longtime member of the Linnaean Society of New York. She led nature walks in Central Park and elsewhere, and maintained the bird sighting book in the Boathouse. She regularly issued an informative series of Nature Notes. In addition to her passion for birds and botany, Sarah was keenly interested in literature and jazz. For the last year Sarah was cared for by her niece Dukeanna.

Please check here for updated information.

Andrew Rubenfeld, President

Jeff Nulle — 9/25/2016

Geoffrey James Nulle, 71, son of the late Richard and Claire Couch Nulle, died of a heart attack at his Manhattan home on August 23, 2016. He is survived by brothers David, Bruce, Gregory, and niece Alexandra Duemer. Jeff was a graduate of Ithaca High School, Cornell, and Columbia University.

Jeff taught English at Manhattan Community College and Farleigh Dickinson University and was employed at Davis-Polk law firm for many years.

Jeff was a lifelong birding enthusiast and mentor, a conservation activist, past president of the Linnaean Society of New York. He helped establish the bird sanctuary at Riverside Park in Manhattan. He loved the city and knew its hidden gems.

Jeff was an avid student of art and literature, an entertaining storyteller deeply interested in the life stories of others, a man of integrity who spoke his mind in thoughtful ways.

a memorial service for Jeff was held on Saturday, October 8th at Volunteer House at 107th Street in Riverside Park, followed by a walk through the bird sanctuary. The service was at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Ithaca, New York on October 15th. Donations in Jeff’s memory may be made to the Riverside Park Conservancy at www.riversideparknyc.org.

Gregory Nulle, Brother of Jeff Nulle

Geoffrey Nulle, former president of the Linnaean Society of New York, passed away at his home in Manhattan August 23. He had had recent surgery. The cause of death was a heart attack.

Jeff also served as LSNY vice president and council member. As chair of the conservation committee he was instrumental in blocking plans for a major bicycle path through Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Jeff will be best remembered for his work in establishing a 10-acre designated bird sanctuary in Riverside Park, as well as his tireless management of the park's famous "drip." He also did volunteer work at the Great Gull Island office at the American Museum of Natural History.

Andrew Rubenfeld, President

Vivienne Sokol — 7/10/2016

Dear Fellow Members,

Vivienne Sokol, a local wildlife rehabilitator and LSNY member since 2009, passed away in July.

Andrew Rubenfeld, President

Sonia Acevedo has provided the following statement.

It is with a heavy heart that I write of Vivienne Sokol, who peacefully passed away on July 10th, 2016. Ms. Sokol was exemplary in her field, one of the very few federal and state licensed Wild Bird Rehabilitators in New York City for close to 40 years. The wealth of knowledge that she shared and those that she mentored, as well as the birds that were rehabilitated under her meticulous care throughout the years, have experienced a great loss. Her memory honors all she touched and the ornithological world she proudly nurtured and represented. Thank you kindly.

Sonia Acevedo, Training Coordinator and Senior Veterinary Technician at the Hunter College Animal Research Facility

In Memoriam — After March 2016

  • Birchard, Mary C.
  • Bauch, Rhoda L.
  • Loeb, Elizabeth G.
  • Stillam, Meg
  • Norton, C.J. (Christina)