Conservation Award

The Delaware Audubon Conservation Award
1987 - Rick West

NOTE: This is an archive article from 1987. It may contain out-of-date information.

At the Delaware Audubon Annual Meeting, Richard "Rick" L. West received the Delaware Audubon Achievement Award – a woodcock carved by Peter Micciche – for his leadership in the Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas project.

Past-president of the Delmarva Ornithological Society and a life-long birder, Rick West first became interested in a breeding bird atlas when he lived in England. He spent two years in that country in connection with his job for ICI, and while there, he noticed the fine breeding atlases available on the birds of Great Britain and Ireland.

Upon return to Delaware, he laid the groundwork for the Delaware Atlas Project. By Rick West’s design, the project has been a broad-based effort. It is sponsored by the Delaware Audubon Society, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Delaware Nature Education Society, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Delmarva Ornithological Society, Society of Natural History of Delaware, Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, and the Division of Fish & Wildlife of DNREC. Approximately 100 volunteers collect data each year and approximately 200 volunteers have worked on the project to date.

The atlas is intended to show the range, not quantity, of all bird species breeding in the state. The original list of birds thought to breed in Delaware consisted of 154 birds. When completed at the end of this season, the data will be published along with other information in Delaware’s first comprehensive book on birds.

Since it is collected and recorded in blocks – the state is divided into 222 squares or blocks, each 25 square kilometers – future generations can note intra- and inter- state changes in bird breeding habits. And, it is hoped, that agencies and organizations planning major environmental changes in the state will utilize the information.

Rick West recently retired from ICI and is presently a Research Associate of the Delaware Museum of Natural History. After living in Delaware for close to 30 years, Rick will be moving back to his home state of Florida soon. He recently became a member of the Florida Audubon Society and has already started working on plans for a Florida breeding bird atlas.

We thank Rick West for his devoted, diligent work on the Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas project and we wish him the best in his endeavors in Florida.

written by Irene G.J. Goverts