November 5, 2015, was a sad day for all of us within the DaysAtDunrovin community as our dear friend, resident expert birder, voracious reader, skilled researcher, and gracious conversationalist Mary Birchard of New York City unexpectedly died. She slipped into a coma during a medical procedure and never returned. Surrounded by her family, Mary’s passing was quiet and free of pain. News of her sudden departure sent waves of tears and grief throughout her New York community and across the internet where she was much loved by all of us.
If you watch the short memorial clip about Mary below, you will hear Mary say “I never met any grown up people that did birding”; and in deed, she herself was not a grown person who did birding. She may have been a consummate researcher, a totally responsible and solid adult citizen of the world; but as a bird, she retained her childlike awe and sense of mystery. Like a child she simply delighted in seeing and watching them, in learning about their behavior and habitats, and in listening to their songs. You can see the pure delight in her face. And like a child, she wanted to share her joy – and that was her magic, her gift to us. She brought out the child in all of us with her enthusiasm and curiosity. Her passing leaves a hole; our community morns her absence.
Mary’s memorial service will take place at Rutgers Presbyterian Church at 236 West 73rd Street in New York City on November 21, 2015, at 1PM. The service can be viewed on the internet via LiveStream by visiting www.rutgerchurch.org. You can download her Memorial Service and Schedule here: MaryBichardMemorial.
One of our D@D community members, Diane Hoffman who is the woman who appears along with Mary in her memorial video clip, will attend and will read the following message to Mary’s family on our behalf:
Members of the on-line community DaysAtDunrovin.com wish to express our great sadness at the loss of our wonderful friend, patient teacher, extraordinarily knowledgeable birder, keen observer, and childhood horse lover, Mary Birchard. Mary brought delight to people across the globe with her deep knowledge and love for birds, her unbridled joy in watching horses, her eagle eye for nature’s details, and her sincere caring for others. Mary was most generous to all of us with her kind words, her keen intellect and research skills, and her unfailing sense of good humor. We will miss her dearly. We feel very privileged to have had her among us these past few years. May Mary rest in peace with her Lord; and may her family be assured that her memory lives on with us.
Another one of our D@D members, Ilovegrandkids, recorded the web cast of Mary’s service. Many of us watched it together while we chatted and shared our loss.
On November 22, 2015, at 3PM (Mountain Standard Time) both Diane Hoffman and SuzAnne Miller will broadcast a telephone conversation with chatters in memory of Mary. Please join us then. Please also leave anything you would like us to include in our session – a poem, a photo, a short statement – as a comment to this post.
The Kingfisher was one of Mary’s favorite birds – and kingfishers frequent Dunrovin. We shall always think of Mary when the lovely Belted Kingfisher visits Dunrovin Ranch along the Bitterroot River.
It was the Rainbow gave thee birth,
And left thee all her lovely hues;
And, as her mother’s name was Tears,
So runs it in my blood to choose
For haunts the lonely pools, and keep
In company with trees that weep.
Go you and, with such glorious hues,
Live with proud peacocks in green parks;
On lawns as smooth as shining glass,
Let every feather show its marks;
Get thee on boughs and clap thy wings
Before the windows of proud kings.
Nay, lovely Bird, thou art not vain;
Thou hast no proud, ambitious mind;
I also love a quiet place
That’s green, away from all mankind;
A lonely pool, and let a tree
Sigh with her bosom over me.
In 2013, Mary shared this photo of her Christmas tree kingfisher.