Phil Hockey . . 24 January


An excerpt from Trevor Hardaker’s email on ‘SA Rare birds’: 

Prof. P. A. R. Hockey, Director of the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, renowned ornithologist, scientist, biologist, conservationist, etc. will be a name that will be known to many people that are in some way linked to the birding world in Southern Africa. Our shelves will be decorated with many of his contributions to our pastime – Roberts Birds of Southern Africa Edition Vll, Sasol Birds of Southern Africa, Waders of Southern Africa, hundreds of papers in scientific journals and articles in popular press, etc. 

Phil’s driving passion was birds – he loved them! He was one of the few professional ornithologists that was a true field birder as well, and an excellent one at that. His passion extended to listing and twitching as well, a combination not often found in academics, but there was little that excited Phil more than the prospect of chasing another mega. The traits that many will remember Phil for were his friendliness and encouragement. Even although he was a highly respected scientist, he was quite happy to talk to someone who had just recently developed an interest in birds and did everything in his power to encourage them to build on their interest. He was never too high and mighty to talk to anyone, no matter who they might be and what their standing in life was, and I think many a young birder was encouraged and inspired through his efforts.

On behalf of Hermanus Bird Club we extend our condolences to his family and especially to his wife Samantha.