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1 July 2007 IN MEMORIAM: HOWARD L. COGSWELL, 1915–2006
Walter D. Koenig
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Howard Lyman Cogswell, a member of the AOU since 1944, an Elective Member since 1952 and a life member, died on 8 June 2006 at the age of 91, apparently of heart failure. Born on a farm in Pennsylvania, Howard discovered his first bird books in a traveling library at his one-room schoolhouse. During the depression, he left home and eventually hitchhiked across the country to live with an uncle in Pasadena, California. He began birding in the nearby San Gabriel Mountains while attending Pasadena City College. Howard joined the Navy during World War II and afterwards finished his under- graduate degree at Whittier College. During graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, he studied territory size in chaparral birds under the guidance of Frank Pitelka. He received his Ph.D. in 1962.

Howard taught for nearly 10 years at Mills College while working on his Ph.D. He then moved to California State University, Hayward (now California State University, East Bay), where he was Professor of Biology until his retirement in 1980. Besides teaching popular field-biology courses, Howard continued to be active in California ornithology, published a major guide to California water birds in 1977, and later worked on an analysis of the geographic ecology of California birds, a project only partly completed at the time of his death.

Howard regularly attended professional meetings and was particularly active in the Cooper Ornithological Society (COS), an organization with strong historical roots in his home city of Hayward (see “Who was “Cooper’?”, Condor 88:402–403, which Howard wrote while chair of the COS History Committee). He was made an Honorary Member of the COS in 1986. However, Howard’s main contributions were through his efforts engaging the public in birds and conservation. He was a founding member of the Ohlone Audubon Society and worked regularly with the Point Reyes and San Francisco bird observatories, often helping them in his capacity as a pilot and aerial photographer as well as an expert bird bander. He was a director of the East Bay Regional Park District between 1970 and 1982, during which time he was instrumental in the restoration of salt evaporation ponds to marshlands in the lower San Francisco Bay, including 80 ha along the Hayward shoreline named in his honor in 1992.

Howard was an enthusiastic and inspirational advocate of birds, young ornithologists, and the San Francisco Bay ecosystem, all of which benefited greatly by his efforts. He is survived by Bessie, his wife of 67 years, and a son, Denis, who resides in San Francisco.

I thank A. Brush, D. Cogswell, and T. Preston for help in preparing this memorial.

Walter D. Koenig "IN MEMORIAM: HOWARD L. COGSWELL, 1915–2006," The Auk 124(3), 1096, (1 July 2007).[1096:IMHLC]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 July 2007

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