|In Memorium: Norman was a volunteer with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society for 10 years. He was deeply dedicated to local wildlife and habitats, and had transformed his backyard into a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife. Norman was an active member of our Environmental Action Committee, where he often brought a voice for South Santa Clara County residents. He also put to use his handy-skills in building Plexiglas display cases for the mounted birds in our education programs.|
Perhaps Norman’s most significant contribution was his role as a volunteer in our Cavity Nesters Recovery Program (CNRP), which strives to help native birds that nest in tree cavities recover from population decline. A retired mechanical engineer, Norman built and installed nest boxes of all sizes to be used by local birds throughout the county during the nesting season, and monitored over 120 nest boxes in Gilroy to ensure that the families of birds using his boxes were safe from predators and non-native competitors. These boxes will continue to provide important nesting sites in areas where trees with natural cavities have been removed for many years to come.
In addition to spending hundreds of hours each nesting season to monitor his nest boxes, Norman also shared his love for cavity-nesting birds with youth. At our fall Wildlife Education Day and spring Earth Day Festival, Norman taught kids and their families about the plight of cavity-nesters and the various nest boxes used to help them breed. He led bird walks where youngsters can look inside a nest box, and Santa Clara County families have enjoyed viewing Norman’s display and video about these feathered families. Norman also worked with at risk youth in restoration work, guiding teens in installing and learning how to monitor nest boxes.
Norman’s initiative and drive to install more nest boxes and get more people involved in the CNRP made him a gem of a volunteer. Before his death, Norman was working to encourage South Bay residents to install Barn Owl boxes to help these cavity-nesters recover from a ~70% population drop and to help neighborhoods control rodent populations.
Santa Clara Valley birds and our Audubon chapter are very fortunate to have had such a dedicated and passionate volunteer advocating for and restoring habitat for so many years.
Norman will be sorely missed by all that knew him.
Thank you, Norman Watenpaugh, for dedicating
your time and skills to the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society!