Way back in 1960, on 29 July to be exact, a time before personal computers, rap music, cell phones, fax machines, and a host of other modern distractions, Charlie Moores came into the world. Back then Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Dwight Eisenhower was President of the United States, Dag Hammarskjöld was Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Charlie had no birds on his life list.
Of course, Charlie’s life list has grown quite a bit in the last fifty years. In fact, some say that he has forgotten seeing more birds than I have ever seen. Several of the species on Charlie’s life list, however, won’t be seen by anyone anytime soon, after all, one doesn’t see a Great Auk or a Carolina Parakeet every day. Ask him sometime about his sighting of the latter – it’s a great story and you can’t believe the John James Audubon imitation Charlie can do!
We are all happy for Charlie that he finally ended his career as a flight attendant; it was clear he was not at all happy continuing to work for the airline and he definitely needed a change. But what many people don’t know is that Charlie’s first day as a flight attendant was rather momentous, and few historians report the fact that Charles Lindbergh wasn’t alone on his so-called “solo” flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, Charlie and Charles later stopped speaking when Lindbergh wouldn’t stop supporting fascism, but they later reconciled and worked together to help save the Philippine Eagle.
As a birder Charlie has seen a ton of change in the world of birding. You might have heard that early ornithologists used a shotgun to shoot birds for close, in-the-hand, study, and used primitive field guides that involved complex keys to identify their kills. While Charlie did get involved in that type of ornithology later in life, he first studied birds that he killed with a spear, and his only field guide was paintings on the walls of caves.
Well, now that we have fulfilled our quota of “old” jokes I can be serious for a paragraph here and say how great a guy Charlie is. He helps visiting birders, he started the 10,000 Birds Conservation Club, and he is a great dad. His blog posts are often awesome: some consider him the finest master of the blog post trip report. In the field he is a very good birder, on occasion even showing up us Americans on our own turf. And, despite his now-creaking joints and aching muscles, he sticks in there and is up for a full day’s birding even though he knows he is going to pay for it on the next day.
Charlie, I know you’ve liked your first fifty years on this great planet and here’s hoping you’ll have fifty more! Happy Birthday, old man! May you see many life birds this year and each year thereafter…