Bird Board

Paul Bithorn

I have very sad news to share with the Tropical Audubon family. Paul Bithorn, my mentor and dear friend, passed away last night after a brief illness. Paul, who served as the Mayor of the Village of Virginia Gardens for nine years, has been associated with Tropical Audubon Society for half a century. He served on the TAS Board of Directors and has been a TAS field trip leader for longer than anyone can remember. He's been a birder since he was a Cub Scout, which as Paul was fond to say, was "many, many mango seasons ago."
When I became TAS field trip coordinator in 2001, Paul became my most reliable and indispensable leader, joining me as co-leader for virtually all of our multi-day birding tours to North Florida, the Keys & Dry Tortugas and Ft. DeSoto, as well as our Miami Exotics tours (he knew the parrots better than anyone), our annual tours of the Everglades Agricultural Area and out of state tours to southern California and to the Great Parks (Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier). I was honored when Paul agreed to write the forward to my bird-finding guide when it was published in 2007.
Paul's favorite saying (among his many sayings) was "Life is Good." Paul lived a good life, filled with contagious joy, and life was always good when you were with him. Life simply won't be as good without him and I'm already missing him dearly.
Information about any memorial service, etc. will be posted here when it becomes available. In the meantime, if you knew Paul and want to share favorite memories here, feel free to do so.


Vincent Lucas
23 days ago

I didn’t know Paul as well as many of you, but the interactions I did have with him while on TAS trips and birding with him on “chases” was a memorable experience. I’ve been gone from south Florida for nearly nine years now and I still have fond memories of birding those locations that Brian mentioned. Paul was a great birder and really knew his stuff. R.I.P. Paul.

23 days ago

From trips to the sod farms to pelagics to helping me find parrots in Miami Springs for Bird-A-Day, I have too many happy memories with Paul to list. I always enjoyed his company, and when I wasn't there I lived vicariously through his posts full of detail, humor and above all else, exuberance. He could make the slowest birding day seem like a lifetime event. I think the first time I met him was on a TAS walk at Matheson. Near the bathrooms on the east side I saw a bird that at first looked like a Tennessee Warbler, but not quite. I thought out loud "Oh, Oh". Paul was standing next to me and said "Oh, Oh is good. What you got?" I replied that I wasn't sure but there it is. He quickly said "You got a Philadelphia Vireo my man!" My lifer Philly Vireo, and the beginning of a long appreciation of and friendship with Paul. Our birding community will never be the same. I will miss him, but not forget him. Here's to you Paul. One of a kind gentleman birder.

Dorothy Robbins
23 days ago

So sad to hear this! Tho at opposite ends of this long state, I always considered Paul a special friend. When I first got on the 'net, back in 2002 or 2003, I got to know Paul through his posts and emails. I finally got to meet him face to face at the Eurasian Kestrel February 2003. When we realized who each other was, his response was a great big bear hug! Who couldn't love a guy like that!

James Sigsbee
21 days ago

I'm really sorry to learn that Paul has passed away. He was a great birder and a really unique individual. I'll always remember him for his genuine warmth, enthusiasm, and sense of humor. An entertaining story-teller and a nice guy. I'll miss him greatly!

Bill Boeringer
19 days ago

I've known Paul since TAS trips in the mid 1990s, and especially those early sod farm trips, where we'd ride together and talk not only about birds, but about baseball (including his family relationship to Puerto Rico's Hiram Bithorn Stadium), UM football, 1960's rock & roll, and of course about celebratory libations to be enjoyed at the end of the birding day. Memories from long trips stand out - Slaty-backed Gull walking up to us in Key West, the first MacGillivray's Warbler at Sanibel, Paul's long-sought first state junco on a North Florida trip, and his condo-sized tent in the Dry Tortugas. The day that stands out most was when we used to conduct the migration counts every mid-May; Paul and I would often bird Loop Road together. On this day, Paul heard a tanager and we stopped and jumped out of the car. As he scanned the trees, I looked down the road and saw something moving towards us...."Paul", I said in shock, "there's a (expletive deleted) panther in the road!" We pulled out a scope and watched a young panther for 5-10 minutes amble up the road until it finally noticed us, and disappeared into the grass. Later that day, we went to the house "of a guy he knew" (Paul seemed to know everyone) and celebrated with cold beer and venison chili. I will always think of Paul when I think about that day. RIP my friend, and good birding.

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