Langham is a longtime botany teacher at Sacramento State University who
became interested in birding in the mid 1970s. He first appears in the
fall 1977 issue of American Birds when he is cited with various
records in both northern and southern California. Jeri's background in
biology meant he already knew the common birds, and he immediately entered
the hardcore California birding world. He and his "Dragon Wagon" (below),
often filled with eager new beginning birders who had been inspired by
Jeri at Sac State, became a regular feature on the Death Valley loop in
the late 1970s and early 1980s, and at major rarities anywhere in the State.
Jeri thus quickly became known for his interest in rare birds, and for
his mentoring of an entire new generation of birders.
Jeri rose rapidly in the California birding world, and he was elected to the California Bird Records Committee by 1985, serving out much of the rest of that decade. Among the many disciples that followed him in the '80s was Mike Lippsmeyer, who became a member of the CBRC in 1989 after finding such major rarities as Whooper Swan, Eurasian Dotterel, and Spotted Redshank. Jeri's influence was widespread and lasted well into the following decades, even as his days as an active State lister began to wane.
In the 1980s, Jeri was well known for his qualities as a field birder. He had birded much of the United States before and during the times he became an avid California lister. He was (and is) an accomplished photographer with an exceptional list of species photographed. With this background, he was picked to be a member of the record-tying California Big Day in 1983, and then joined the record-setting California Big Day team in 1984.
Jeri was born and raised in Venezuela, and speaks fluent Spanish. By 1985 he began leading bird tours to Venezuela and eventually led tours there professionally for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. His son, Gary, would also become a bird tour leader for VENT, and there have been times since the end of our period of review (in 1989) when father and son co-led tours. One standard tour that Jeri continues to do is "Grand California," an annual transect of the State.
Jeri continues to reside in Sacramento, but now mostly confines his birding to his extensive "back yard" along the American River and on VENT tours. He continues to serve as a member of the Sacramento area bird records committee.
Photo (above) at Big Bear Lake, SBE, 28 Apr 1984 ©
Official bird name: Great Kiskadee
Selected publications after 1989:
All photos © to photographers identified on this page; all rights
Photo of Great Kiskadee © Greg W. Lasley
All text © Don Roberson; all rights reserved.
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