Robert Ridgely

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Robert S. Ridgely has made an enormous contribution to Neotropical ornithology. A prolific author and researcher, he is the author, with John Gwynne, of A Guide to the Birds of Panama, still one of the finest field guides ever published (and one of the first, way back in 1976). Since then he has traveled virtually everywhere in South America and has become recognized as one of the top experts on its birds.  In the early 1980s, he and his friend Guy Tudor began the monumental task of producing a series of volumes covering all the birds of that continent. The first, The Oscine Passerines, was published in 1989; it contained a magnificent set of plates by Tudor as well as Ridgely’s concise, readable, and informative text. The second volume, on the Suboscine Passerines, appeared in 1994, with an abridged “Field Guide” containing updated text and many new images appearing in 2009. Bob continued his publishing blitz with the release in 2001 of the two-volume The Birds of Ecuador, with Paul Greenfield, and in succeeding years with the Wildlife Conservation Society series on Brazilian birds, the first on the Pantanal and Cerrado (2010), the second on the Atlantic Forest in the Southeast (2016). Starting in 1997 with his discovery of his Jocotoco Antpitta, Bob shifted much of his energy to international conservation issues, in 1998 founding the Jocotoco Foundation in Ecuador, which would go on to protect the habitats of many of that country’s most imperiled birds. He currently serves as the President of Rainforest Trust, an NGO based in Airlie, Virginia, that works with international partner groups around the world on behalf of endangered species, with millions of acres having now been protected! Through it all, Bob still likes nothing much better than just to look at birds, and he credits VENT with having helped give him the opportunity to see so many of them. In late 2003, having long lived in the Northeastern megalopolis, the lure of New Hampshire became too much, and Bob and his wife, Peg, made the move to their beloved house in the North Woods. They’ve resided there ever since, crossbills and Moose right outside.