Monday, September 10, 2007

Tribute to Aelred Geis

I learn something every day, and I learned yesterday about Aelred Geis, who conducted research about backyard birdfeeding after working for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for 30 years.

From Howard County Times in Maryland:

Aelred Geis was perhaps the world's foremost expert on backyard bird feeding and a driving force behind the creation of the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area, in Clarksville.

But Geis -- who died Aug. 20 at 78 -- was probably best known locally for getting Columbia founder James Rouse to lie in a ditch on his belly in a wooded area that is now part of the 1,021- acre wildlife refuge, to watch the mating flight of the woodcock.
Later, the article says:

Claire Horvath, the owner and operator of the Wild Bird Center of Columbia, a seed and feeding franchise that is based on Geis' research into what birds prefer to eat, said of Geis: "He just wanted you to do it right, and the right way was his way."

And Geis often was right, Horvath said, adding that many in the bird-feeding industry credit his bird seed and feeder research for creating the $4 billion-a-year industry's standard practices.

"Before he picked up his pen, no one knew what wild birds liked to eat," said George Petrides Sr., who in the 1990s hired Geis to run the research division of his company, Wild Bird Centers of America, a national bird-feeding franchise.
I like learning more about birding's history and the individuals who contributed to our current knowledge. Thank you, Mr. Geis.

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