Rik Davis was a legend. And he touched and inspired more people than many of us will ever meet.

I did not know Rik and I am poorly equiped to write very much about him. But he did touch my life. For what seems like decades, I have been hearing about Pale Male and the people that have studied, loved and fought for him and his family over the years. And one of the names that was invariably brought up at the same name, was that of Rik Davis.

I said that I did not know him, but I did get to meet him just two weeks ago. He was on his park bench with a couple of spotting scopes pointing up to the sky. And I wanted to savour the moment, so I took a minute to just watch him, and the passers-by as their faces lit up every time they dived in to the world of the Red-tailed Hawks.

Approaching slowly, I too dived in to that world to experience three little chicks on the nest. And to hear Rik bubble with the other people meeting Pale Male, Zena and their little babies.

Rik Davis passed away last week. Many will miss him. Many more will never know they missed him.




A big thanks to the photographer Paul Quitoriano for sending me the photos of Rik for this post. Very kind of you.

They remain Paul’s copyrighted work.




Written by Dale Forbes
Dale got his first pair of binoculars for a very early birthday after his dad realized that it was the only way to be left in peace. Many robins, eagles and finches later, he ended up at university studying various biology things and wrote a thesis on vertebrate biogeography in southern African forests. While studying, he also worked on various conservation/research projects (parrots, wagtails, vultures, and anything else that flew) and ringed thousands of birds. Dale studied scarlet macaws, and worked in their conservation, for three years in southern Costa Rica, followed by a year in the Caribbean working on Whale Sharks. After meeting the woman of his dreams, he moved to Austria where he now has the coolest job in the world making awesome toys for birders (Swarovski Optik product manager). He happens to also be obsessed with photography, particularly digiscoping, and despite all efforts will almost certainly never be a good birder. He also blogs for birdingblogs.com