WHO WAS WHO IN CALIFORNIA BIRDING
1965-1989
SHUM SUFFEL  [G. Shumway Suffel]
Shum Suffel was the grand old man of Los Angeles County birding during the late 1960s and 1970s. He had been a regular observer in Audubon Field Notes long before our period of review began in 1965, and he was instrumental in the creation of Western Field Ornithologists and the California Bird Records Committee (CBRC). He was one of the original "ten rare men" on the CBRC, and served during its first six years of existence.

Shum was also widely known during the '70s as the observations editor for the Western Tanager, the newsletter of the Los Angeles Audubon Society. In those days, that column was meant to cover all of southern California. It served as the means to disseminate bird information throughout the Region long before the formal seasonal publications of Audubon Field Notes/American Birds. Shum's influential columns in the Western Tanager were lively, and often included not only a summary of the rarities from the prior month but a look ahead at what might occur within the next month.

Shum birded not only the Los Angeles area, but enjoyed regular trips out to Death Valley or north to boat trips on Monterey Bay. On those trips he usually wore his trademark 'pith helmet' hard hat (see photo).

Shum was a charter member of the American Birding Association. His California state list was second only to Guy McCaskie until about 1977, when Jon Dunn took over that spot, but  he remained in the top four on the state list until his death in the early 1980s.

Photo 18 Feb 1979 Monterey Bay boat trip © D. Roberson
 


Official Bird Name: Sandhill Crane
 
Significant bird records during the period include: 
  • Red-faced Warbler  14 June 1973  San Gabriel Mts. LA 2nd CA record [co-finder]
  • Trumpeter Swan  1 Jan 1975  Legg Lake LA 2nd southern CA rec, southernmost ever in State [co-finder]
  • Dusky-capped Flycatcher  29 Nov 1975  Furnace Creek Ranch INY 2nd CA record [co-finder]

Selected publications 1970-1989:

  • Suffel, G. S. 1970. An Olivaceous Flycatcher in California. Calif. Birds 1:79-80.
  • McCaskie, G., and Suffel, S. 1971. Black Skimmers at the Salton Sea, California. Calif. Birds 2:69-71.

All photos © to photographers identified on this page; all rights reserved.
All text © Don Roberson; all rights reserved.

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Page created 26 Mar 2005