Date: 8/21/19 12:47 pm
From: David Williams <dave.williams6...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Birds fly up, leaves fall down - in memory of Ida
Ida Girunias was a strong, tough, independent woman who loved bird watching.
She traveled extensively around the state birding as well as the world.

I first met Ida in 1978 before I was a birder. I was walking in the
Reading Town Forest when I came upon her and Anne Blaisdell looking through
binoculars. I asked her what she was looking at and she matter of factly
replied, “Breeding Prairie warblers”.

A couple of years latter, as a beginning birder, I ran across her while out
birding, she came up to me and said, “Seen any good birds?” I rattled off
the half or so dozen birds I’d seen. She replied, “Gees, they’re all over
the place”. I asked her what she was hoping to see and she mentioned two
or three of her target birds. As I asked her more questions, she became
more effusive and over the course of the next hour I learned a great deal
about birds, bird watching, and her passion for birding.

She was often direct and blunt in her conversations, setting some folks
back on their heels, but never offensive. Once, when out birding with her
on a windy, Fall day, one of the participants stated how challenging it was
to pick out the birds because of all of the leaves about. Without
blinking, Ida said ”Birds fly up, leaves fall down”. And that was that.

One year while doing the Christmas Bird Count with my party, she got into
it with a MBTA officer who questioned her about why she was walking along
the railroad tracks. She tried explaining to him what she was doing, but
he wouldn’t hear it. Ida pulled out her home made sign stating that she
was participating in the annual Christmas Bird Count. That didn’t go over
well, either! She returned to the car muttering, but quickly got back into
the swing of things.

Ida loved the rare birds that would build her Year list. Ash-throated fly
catcher? Saw it yesterday! Western kingbird? Missed it by a half
hour. Somewhere
out there, there has to be a photo of Ida up to her chest in the Plumbush
Marshes looking for the Yellow rail. A year ago January, my wife and I
were in Boston looking at a Ross’s goose. A few minutes latter, Ida and
some friends pull in and she quickly got on the bird.

Ida was dedicated to the Brookline Bird Club. She led hundreds of walks
for the club over the years and served as President and on the Board of
Directors. For more than twenty years, she led the BBC trip to Machias to
look for Puffins and other boreal specialties. She almost single handedly
ran the nationally known BBC Extreme Pelagic trips.

Ida and technology did not mix well! Voice mail, Google Groups, eMail,
eBird all conspired to give her fits. She may have learned how to set up a
spreadsheet, but everything else was done by hand. She had a file and an
envelope for everything. She was exact and thorough and the success of the
trips she planned and led are a testament to this.

The last fifteen years haven’t been easy for her as she battled various
ailments. But she never gave in. It is my belief that birds and birding
fueled her desire to keep on fighting. Last year I offered to give her a
ride to a meeting at the local library and she said no thanks, she didn’t
want to become dependent on anyone! When I talked with her last week,
though frail and weak, she was focused on seeing that this weekends Extreme
Pelagic trip went off smoothly.

I will miss Ida. She was a friend and someone I greatly admired.

Dave Williams

Reading, MA

 
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