BCR 206: Paul Desjardins, Longtime Birder

Paul Desjardins, Photo Courtesy of Hartford Audubon Society

Paul Desjardins, Photo Courtesy of Hartford Audubon Society

Paul Desjardins is a Connecticut birder, a meticulous record keeper of the birds he has seen worldwide. We will focus today on the life and times of this long time and serious birder.

Paul’s love affair with birding began when he was in elementary school.  He joined what was then the Hartford Bird Study Club in 1959, when he was just twelve years old.  His first recorded field trip was on February 21, 1959, when he visited Old Saybrook for the first time.  Since then, he has made an astonishing 6445 recorded outings !!  Paul has a North American Life List of 728 species, with 376 in Connecticut, and 236 in the South Windsor meadows.

  • when you got serious about birding? What tools did you have, who were your mentors and where did you go?
  • In Air Force basic training what memorable bird did you see?
  • You once met Allan Cruickshank in Arizona, tell us the story, and remind our audience who he was.
  • What’s with you and the estimable ladybird Johnson?
  • You birded in two states in one day in 1989, what was so special about that?
  •  on two different occasions and places you were able to scoop up two good state birds in one day.
  • You have been birding in much of the lower 48 states; tell us about your trip to Gambell Alaska.
  • What are some of the rarest birds that you have seen in U S?
  • Your thoughts on finding first state record for Townsend’s Warbler in CT this year 2020.
  • Tell us about your best one day warbler count, where it was, what species, species totals and the day.
  • Hartford Audubon Society trip to Jamaica Bay one year you saw 99 species
  • keeping records for each sighting, what system you use, what details are captured how do you use these records?
  • Favorite patch or area you revisit often?
  • One last thought on records, it would seem to me that such records in detail, over a long period of time would have some value to future generations. What is your view?

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  1. Nancy Morand on June 2, 2020 at 10:17 am

    Wonderful interview with one of Connecticut’s greatest birders.Thank you Mardi of Bird Calls Radio!

    • BirdCallsRadio on September 6, 2020 at 12:23 pm

      Nancy, Thank you for listening in and so glad you enjoyed our conversation together. Paul is a fantastic longtime CT birder and has many adventures to tell. I love hearing about birds and the history around areas many no long know of or see. Cheers, MardiWD

  2. Todd Freeburg on June 3, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    What a terrific interview! I first met Paul in the mid-1960’s. In the early ’70’s, we did several Hartford Audubon Big Days together. A highlight of my birding life was when we heard my only life Chuck-Will’s Widow calling on one of these Big Day’s at the marsh in South Windsor. A trip with him to Monomoy was highlighted by Paul spotting my only life Eurasian Whimbrel. A trip to the West Hartford Reservoir with him included the awesome experience of a dozen warblers passing through a clearing and landing on an evergreen, making it look like a Christmas tree. I would have never had these experiences without him. Paul is the best birder I ever met, and he is at the top of my life-list of the best people I ever met.

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