In Memory of Mary

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 birder, 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 pleasure 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 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 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.

William Henry Davies

In 2013, Mary shared this photo of her Christmas tree kingfisher.




  • nancyj

    Is this where I leave a note about our Mary? I miss her dearly, she touched my heart. We were pen pals. When she passed, I sat in my yard and cried. My sparrow came right near me, I knew it was Mary’s spirit. Love you and miss you dearly, Mary. Nancyj

    • Hi NancyJ – this is exactly where you should leave your notes about Mary. May I read your note during our on-line services this Sunday afternoon (11/22) at 3PM?

      • nancyj

        Hi dear SuzAnne! Of course you can read my note, I had so much more to say about Mary but I can’t put it in to words, my heart is just so sad, I love her, miss her so much, she is our special Angel now. Do you see what you have done for us SuzAnne? You brought all of us together and we feel your love and kindness and caring, we pass it on to others, we are a very special group of friends, part of your Dunrovin family. We all love, care and support each other, I feel so blessed to be a part of this beautiful family and I am so happy to have known our sweet Mary. Thank you SuzAnne, for making this possible. I love you and all our friends so very much! Nancyj

  • ilovegrandkids

    I learned so much from Mary…she was a excellent teacher and was very informed about birding…..she was very patient with us when we would ask ” what bird is that ” or ” what bird is making that call..” she would answer us each time knowing that we had asked the same question many times…….there are no words to express my sadness at her leaving us …..there are people all over the world who will miss Mary…from the Eastern shores to the Western shores of the US….there are Canadians and even some in Hungary and we all chatted with Mary like she was just next door….Mary would post pictures of her neighborhood for us to see…as I had never need to New York…. .I will cherish the times I spoke to Mary as sometimes we would be the only ones on early in the morning as we were on the Eastern shore and had a two hour time deference …… My condolences to her family as she will be missed terribly…..

    • Hello Ilove – do I have permission to read your lovely
      note during our on-line memorial service for Mary this Sunday (11/22) at 3PM?

      • ilovegrandkids

        of course..I would be honored…..

  • lynmc

    I think ilove has captured all that was so very true about our Mary. I would like to add how very much I miss her trips to her appointments Her phone gave her the name of Reynaldo and she would tell us of her views she was passing while in the cab or car to her destination. We also chatted while she was in the waiting room and then again when on her way home. She treated us with some beautiful pictures of her views she drove or walked past and shared her knowledge of the fabulous architecture that surrounded her. (she even tuned into the chat while waiting for her church service to start! lol) How we loved you dear Mary, you are so terribly missed.

  • DunrovinCelia

    Mary was my friend. I am so happy she is in peace with her Lord, but dang it i miss her
    She knew all the horses, could tell Monty and Rocket apart, and the captains!
    Dang it i miss her
    Thank you so much Suz and Dunrovin Ranch for bringing us all together, what a wonderful caring place this is.
    BUT dang it i miss mary

  • dalady

    Maryb was some kind of Lady. Always the first one to say hello in the morning. She was the flower gal. When I would send her my contribution, I would always write a little note. And she would always tell me how neat that was. She enjoyed my notes. She always had a ready answer when someone asked, what kind of bird that was in a picture. Even if it was just a back or tail. Was looking forward to the winter bird games she was going to do. How that will be missed. God Bless you maryb.

  • oriole17

    When I first started watching/chatting here at DR. Mary was one first persosn to welcome me. She asked where I was from. Told her BC Canada. She then told me she saw a vehicle on her street with BC License plates. She went up and talked to the fella. We then or, I did, called him BC Ben.
    We then became Cyber DR Buddies.
    Mary certainly knew her birds, Very helpfull to us all Which was really nice . always had time for my Questions . Remember once shortly after I arrived on chat. Saw some birds right outside my door sitting on the fence. Took a pic and posted and asked if anyone knew what they were, as I had never seen before, Within about 30 secs Mary said they were California Quail. Who would have thought California Quail would be here on Vancouver Island BC . That is how I always appreciated Mary’s expertise in the bird world.

    As I became more comfortable with Chatting. I felt I could ask Mary anything, as well as other people did. Mary also knew all the Horses at DR, very well. Sure did help me.

    As time went by. I posted some Woodlands Kingfishers pics from the Safari Cam I watch. Mary always likes seeing the pics Seems Kingfishers were her fav birds. Hence her Email addy. Kingfisher ETC

    So I posted a pic of a Woodlands Kingfisher every day if one was shown. I think Mary enjoyed seeing them as well as other birds from SA. She did not know them obviously as they are from SA. like she knew the NA birds.

    Today we on Safari saw our first Woodlands Kingfisher. They just arrived back from their Migration. I immediately thought of Mary (My too short of time with my new Cyber friend)

    Miss you DEARLY Mary. Hope you have your laptop or phone in the Bird Sanctuary in the Sky

  • kukui

    There is a hole in my heart from Mary’s absence in this world. She played so many roles here at Dunrovin chat. She was greeter to everyone, multiple times a day. If she was on, she made a point to say hello whether you were coming into chat for the first time that day, or checking back in after being away for a spell. She was a compassionate friend. The slightest issue in a person’s life and Mary was there to check in to see how you were doing. She sent her hand-made cards across the miles to check in on all of us. Her love of people was inspiring and one that I personally look to emulate as I continue my life, proudly in her memory. She was well traveled and educated. Mary’s life stories, to me, were like reading the very best book with the perfect cup of coffee. They were sometimes funny, sometimes educational and sometimes heartbreaking, but she told them all, as they were all of the things that made Mary who she was. Finally, Mary was a devoted spiritual woman and the most astounding birder. Her work at her church seemed to fill her heart and soul much in the same way birding did. Her attention to detail in terms of birding was amazing. I will forever remember that one of the best ways to distinguish the difference between a Hairy and Downy Woodpecker, is to look at the size of the beak. I will miss those tips that she so freely gave about the birding world.

    On a more personal note, the day Mary passed away I had an unusual experience and one that will forever fill my heart with Mary’s love. I was out walking with my mom in the park when we came upon a doe curled up in the leaves on the ground. I stopped to take a picture for all of the chat friends to see. The deer slowly got up. I stood there, frozen, as to not startle her. She approached me, directly. She came within 5 feet of me and stopped, paused for a moment and turned to walk away on the other side of the walking path. I was dumbfounded. I had never had a wild animal approach me so calmly. When mom and I got home from our walk it was then that I got the call that Mary had passed. I will forever be convinced that that doe was Mary, coming to say goodbye.

    Love and blessings, Mary. Thank you for changing my life in the many ways you did. You will always be present with the sunrise at Dunrovin…