Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011 Chris R. Michener 1949-2011

Hello Everyone,

It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of Chris Michener of Golden Lake on June 25th, 2011 after a short battle with cancer. In Renfrew County, Chris was an avid birder, naturalist and environmentalist. He was a founding and life member of the Pembroke and Area Field Naturalist Club (1983) and was the club's newsletter publisher and record keeper for 28 years. He lead many of the club’s annual excursions, including the Lake Dore fall outing, the two Butterfly counts, and the very popular ‘Owl Prowl’ held in March.

Chris also founded both the Eganville (1992) and Killaloe (1996) Christmas Bird Count and was compiler (Eganville) for most of its 18 years. He was a regular on the Pembroke CBC and participated on the Dunrobin and Renfrew CBC'c too. He took part in both Ontario Breeding Bird Atlases and was regional coordinator on the second. Chris also had a keen interest in butterflies and dragonflies and conducted many local counts. Throughout his career, he used his knowledge of these areas to conduct important environmental surveys and studies for the Ministry of Natural Resources and for other conservation groups. Prior to his passing, Chris was working on the Renfrew County Biodatabase.

Eastern Ontario birders are going to miss his generosity. During the early 80's, Jacques Bouvier introduced me to the Pembroke birders which included Chris Michener, Manson Fluegel and Ken Hooles. It was through this connection that Chris introduced me to birding Lake Dore and Westmeath Provincial Park in the late 80's and early 90's. He will be remembered for bringing the birding community together with finding many great birds on Lake Dore such as the Razorbill and Ivory Gull. Other notable sightings by Chris included both Pomarine Jaeger and Red Phalarope, a male Garganey and an adult Slaty-backed Gull near Pembroke.

Slaty-backed Gull found by Chris Michener on November 20, 2007 near Pembroke, Ontario.
Photographed on November 27, 2007 by Bruce Di Labio

He will also be remembered for his unique style of pelagic birding with Manson on Lake Dore, locally known as "popcorn pelagic" (chumming for rare gulls with stale popcorn) which helped net Sabine's, Little and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Nothing made Chris happier than sharing a find and spending time with birding colleagues. He will be greatly missed by all. Condolences should be sent to Jean Brereton, his lifelong partner, at

Bruce Di Labio

In memory of Chris, 2007 Texas trip.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bruce, thanks for this lovely tribute to Chris. Regards, Tara (Chris's step-daughter)