With the centennial of Roger Tory Peterson’s birthday coming this month, naturally I had to pull out the letter I received from him back in July 1987. This was right when Duluth’s Ring-billed Gull population explosion was making the news, but when people were still tossing French fries to them at every fast food restaurant. Duluth’s city council was trying to come up with strategies to deal with them—one proposal was actually to introduce wild pigs to the harbor to eat their eggs! I decided to write to Roger Tory Peterson asking what experiences he’d had with birds mooching for food, and received this delightful reply (click to see larger):
According to the biography Birdwatcher, Roger Tory Peterson’s wife Barbara wrote many of his letters, but by 1987, they were no longer married, and so this was actually written by him, and is one of my treasured possessions.