Thursday, September 01, 2005

ENV: The worst kind of news . . .

This from the AZ/NM listserv on the heels of Jason Starfire's death . . . well, tragic does not suffice:

I have very bad news to report. There was an accident near
Roswell when Ryan Beaulieu and Raymond Van Buskirk, two of our teen
birders, swerved to avoid a deer. The car rolled and Ryan was
killed intantly. Raymond is in bad condition in a Roswell hospital
and needs our prayers. More news later on services. Pat Snider

I do not know Raymond, but knew of him from correspondence Ryan and i had about Rosy-Finches (i had filmed quite a few at Taos). Sad.
Update: Raymond has returned home (9/1). Ryan's obit is posted below. This post moved up to the current date.

Update: There is now a tribute page posted at here.

Update: Memorial Service info is below. A Memorial Fund has been set up, here is the info (more at the page linked above):

A Memorial service-- a celebration of Ryan's life-- will be held on Friday, September 2nd at 6 pm (CORRECTION: earlier notice stated 7 pm) at the Rio Grande Nature Center.

Nancy Cox writes:
Wear your hiking boots. Bring your water bottle and your binoculars for Ryan Beaulieu’s memorial service Friday night, September 2nd, 6 p.m., at the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, 2901 Candelaria NW, Albuquerque, NM. It is located at the west end of Candelaria, west of Rio Grande Blvd. NW. Please plan on arriving no earlier than 5:15 p.m. and no later than 600 p.m. Ryan’s family greatly appreciates your prayers, phones calls, love, and support in getting through this difficult time.

David Henderson, Executive Director of the Randall Davey Audubon Center (and one of our Game Commissioners) last night said that they had agreed to have the fund set up with the Central New Mexico Audubon Chapter. Anyone can make a tax deductible donation in Ryan's memory in care of the Randall Davey Audubon Center. David promised they would send over whatever funds came in to Central New Mexico Audubon Chapter when it was all set up. So, in the interim it is:

Ryan Beaulieu Memorial Fund
c/o Randall Davey Audubon Center
PO Box 9314Santa Fe, NM 87504
(505) 983-4609 for questions

I have also added some articles below, and news from about Raymond's condition.

BEAULIEU -- Ryan David Beaulieu, 17, of Los Lunas, NM, died in an automobile accident Sunday, August 28, 2005. He was born in Albuquerque on Monday, September 21, 1987. He attended Los Lunas schools and entered St. Pius X High School in September 2001. Graduating high school in 2005, he had just begun classes at the University of New Mexico. During the past year, Ryan worked at the Wild Bird Center Westside. He also held a summer internship at Sandia National Labs working in environmental research. Ryan is survived by his father, Dana Beaulieu and fiancee, Tracy Longwill; mother, Eileen Beaulieu and stepfather, Ray Schaedler; brother, Dylan Beaulieu; stepbrothers, Joe and Jack Schaedler; grandparents, Janet Beaulieu, Mirella Burke, and Michael and Roselia Burke and family; uncles, David Burke and wife, Theresa, Jeff Beaulieu and wife, Cindy and family, Raymond Burke and wife, Lynn and daughter, Destiney, and William Burke and wife, Carol and family; aunts, Lynne Diaz and son, Mateo, and Susan Riley and family; other family members, Ryan and Casey Longwill, Sheena Hawkins and Melissa Leyba; godparents, Maeve and Dennis Sanders and their daughters, Candice and Siobhan. Ryan touched and influenced all with whom he had contact. He was a person who had a true love and respect for his fellow human beings, the environment and nature. As a member of the Audubon Society, Ryan received national recognition and awards for his continuing rosy-finch migration research project in the Sandia Mountains. As an avid birder and environmentalist, he traveled throughout New Mexico birding and passionately sharing his love and concern for the protection of our natural resources espousing that we all live, in his words, an "earthly" life. As Ryan believed, "the only way people can truly love God, is to truly love the Earth." This beloved person and son will be deeply missed by his family, many friends, and classmates who have, in his short seventeen years, experienced his genuine, caring, and loving personality. The family extends their deepest appreciation for all the support and compassion offered to them during this difficult time. A Memorial Service will be held Friday, September 2, 6:00 p.m., at the Rio Grande Nature Center, 2901 Candelaria Rd. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in Ryan's memory to the Rio Grande Nature Center or The Central New Mexico Chapter of the Audubon Society, P.O. Box 30002, 87190. French Mortuary 1111 University Blvd. NE 843-6333

Rugged and rosy
By Ollie Reed Jr., Albuquerque Tribune Reporter, December 31, 2004

Earlier this week, Albuquerque wildlife biologist Steve Cox met a man who had flown in from San Diego, rented a car and driven to the Sandia Crest just to see rosy finches, birds about the size of sparrows.

"He saw all three species of rosy finches - the gray-crowned, the brown-capped and the black," Cox said. "Then he drove back to the airport, got on a plane and flew back to San Diego."

Sandia Crest has become a destination spot for birders because as many as 100 to 150 rosy finches are wintering there.

Because of their preference for high, rugged, remote places, rosy finches are usually hard-to-find birds, what dedicated bird-watchers call "life birds" because you might only see them once in your life.

"They breed in remote areas, usually above the timber line, and are just hard to find," Cox said. "But it's a fairly easy drive up to the Crest. I wouldn't be surprised if there were not some people up there every day looking for rosy finches. There have been people there from foreign countries."

Cox is president of Rio Grande Bird Research, a nonprofit organization that primarily does research on smaller birds in New Mexico.

The organization is in its second season of banding Sandia Crest rosy finches to determine if the same individual birds return to the Crest year after year, research known as a site-fidelity study.

"Rosy finches have been seen at Sandia Crest for years but usually sporadically," Cox said. "People would go up there looking for them but would not be guaranteed to see them."

In 2002, however, the Audubon Society put bird feeders near the Sandia Crest House restaurant and gift shop. Now, birders can sit in the comfort of the Crest House and watch rosy finches swarm around the feeders just outside.

"It's kind of fascinating to watch them as they come into the feeders," Cox said. "They will come in and perch on the top of the higher trees. Then they will work themselves down through the branches. Then, sort of en masse, they'll land on the feeders, feed quickly and fly away."

Cox said Rio Grande Bird Research's rosy finch project was inspired by two Albuquerque high school students, Ryan Beaulieu, 18, a senior at St. Pius X, and Raymond VanBuskirk, 14, a freshman at Eldorado.

Cox said he agreed to support the project as long as Beaulieu and VanBuskirk did much of the work - building the traps needed to safely collect the birds for banding and later distributing information gathered to the New Mexico Ornithological Society and other interested groups and agencies.

Beaulieu and VanBuskirk agreed and are at Sandia Crest at least every other week to capture, band and release birds. For each bird caught, they record information such as age, sex, weight, overall condition, fat, muscle mass, wing and tail measurements, and the conditions of the feathers.

Last winter, the program banded 29 birds. So far this year, 62 have been banded.

Only one of the birds banded a year ago has been retrieved so far this year, but Cox said that is to be expected because such a small sample was banded last season. He said the overall project could last five years.

Rosy finches will winter at the crest until the first or middle part of March - depending on how long the snow lasts.

Despite what their name might suggest, rosy finches aren't sissy birds. They love the cold. They like the frigid, high reaches of mountain ranges.

Altitude that might make some birds dizzy just makes rosy finches amorous. They prefer breeding at more than 10,000 feet.

And their idea of flying south for the winter is leaving the snow-covered mountains of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming or Colorado for the snow-covered mountains of New Mexico.

Beaulieu said he fell in love with these birds when he went to the crest several winters ago to have a look at them.

"I love their color and their behavior," he said. "Their pink is like no other pink you've ever seen. And I love how they come down in this huge, swirling flock and just the whole living-on-top of the mountain thing."

Update on Raymond's condition:

August 30, 2005. Beth Hurst-Waitz provided this update after visiting Raymond in the hospital in Roswell all day Sunday (August 28th). Celestyn Brozek and Beth arrived at the hospital in Roswell about 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning and got back Sunday night about 10:00. Steve Cox came Sunday morning. Jerry Oldenettel came Sunday afternoon. She said that all of Raymond's family members were there.

"Raymond was in three different hospital rooms while we were there, asked about his friend Ryan, and improved so much physically that it was like watching a makeover dramatization. He appreciates all the care and support all of you are expressing. He himself asked about lots of people, lots of things, and he initiated phone calls to many...

"Raymond was interactive, sitting up in bed, being introduced back to food, gradually sharing and assimilating, limited ambulating. He has scalp injuries, but no traumatic brain injury. His left wrist/arm had a very bad break which has been repaired. He has literally a hole in his left elbow where there is no tissue left at all...

"In the afternoon Steve Cox drove (some of Raymond's relatives) and me to the State Police headquarters. The report will not be available for another week.

"Then we went to the salvage yard where the vehicle is. Steve retrieved all personal belongings of the boys. Folks, it's what the police call a "clean" car -- filled with empty water bottles, not beer bottles. A pizza box, not drugs. The car gives silent and irrefutable evidence that Ryan never suffered; that he was indeed killed instantly. Since some of you may have heard the reports that the boys were in the vehicle for two hours before rescue came, I send this news so that you will know that Ryan did not suffer.

"The other news I want to share is that Raymond was blessed with "accident amnesia," I'll call it. Until help did come to the side of the vehicle in the form of a man whose name we still don't know (it will be on the police report), Raymond did not have awareness/consciousness that Ryan was in the vehicle; until the man came and he heard the words, "There's another person in the vehicle," he thought that he was alone. He has been assured that Ryan didn't suffer and that he couldn't have done anything to help him."

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