Coming to Town: Top Birder and Naturalist Wayne Campbell
By: Max Gotz
Date: November 10, 2000
Few naturalists in Canada have been as skilled and productive in their quest for knowledge as British Columbia’s R. Wayne Campbell. He is widely known for his work on birds, but his 40 books and 370 scientific and popular articles have also included amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. After a distinguished career as curator of the Cowan Vertebrate Museum at the University of BC and then as senior research scientist with the BC Wildlife Branch, the millennium finds Wayne spearheading a new initiative in conjunction with the Wild Bird Trust of BC called “Giving Wildlife a Chance”.
Best known as main author of the recently completed 4 volume “Birds of British Columbia”; a book one reviewer described as “the best regional bird book ever published”; Wayne pulled together colossal amounts of data from thousands of contributors scattered in every corner of the province. Birds of BC instantly became an indispensable reference. The four volumes placed on a shelf would be over one foot wide and represent one of the largest cooperative wildlife projects ever undertaken in B.C.
Essentially a complete and up to date “inventory” of all birds found in the province, the creation of the book would be impossible without anyone beating the bushes for birds, and Wayne’s skill and enthusiasm in the field have become legendary. He leaves a trail of rare bird reports and new observations in his wake wherever he goes in British Columbia, and that includes just about every nook and cranny west of the Rockies. His passion for wildlife study is easy to see and often light hearted public presentations shatter the image of the stereotypical stiff and stodgy birdwatcher. His slide presentation is selected from over 100,000 catalogued wildlife photographs taken by amateur and professional wildlife photographers throughout BC.
Among his many awards and honours; a lifetime achievement award from the Federation of B.C. Naturalists and his appointment to The Order of British Columbia, the highest honour the provincial government can bestow upon a citizen.