Wonderful Friend of the Flyway: Heather Gibbs

Birds Korea, November 21st 2012

The Flyway and Birds Korea have both lost a wonderful friend .  Ms. Heather Gibbs, researcher, data-compiler, mother and conservationist passed on November 9th. We first learned of this terrible news last week – and still feel the shock. Heather has been THE person to correspond with on leg-flags and resightings along the Flyway. We last mailed with her as recently as late October – and her mail then, as always was warm, informative and helpful.

We received the following today (November 21st)  from Mr. Phil Straw of the AWSG, shared with  members, supporters and friends of that excellent organisation:

Heather Gibbs 10th May 1973 – 9th November 2012

The death of Heather Gibbs on 9th November marked a sad occasion in the history of the Australasian Wader Studies Group of BirdLife Australia.

Heather’s involvement in the flag sighting database over many years is well known to many people throughout the East Asian Australasian Flyway for the rapid response to flag sightings sent to her from observers and researchers, as well as banding (ringing) offices from throughout the Asia Pacific. Her passing has left a large hole that will be difficult to fill due to the huge amount of work she did, well beyond resource funding obligations provided by the AWSG.

Heather was farewelled on 19 November 2012 during an emotional celebration of her life and funeral by many of her close friends and relatives. Those present included many from the birding world, in particular from the AWSG, who have been associated with her for much of the past 20 years.

This tragic loss is particularly poignant given the passing of Mark Barter just less than twelve months before. An obituary will appear in due course in the AWSG newsletter Tattler and elsewhere.