I was thrilled to see the beautiful pictures that Laurie Dirkx took of the wood ducks (March/April 2016). My great uncle, Foster Parker, is credited with saving the wood duck from extinction. He found a nest in a tree when he was in his 20s, sometime in the 1870s. The only one he ever found as it turns out! He took the dozen or so eggs home and hatched them under a hen. He raised and tamed the ducks and became a noted conservationist, bird expert and self-trained taxidermist. He was known as the Hermit of the Finger Lakes.
He was born and grew up near what is now known as the Montezuma Game Preserve. He lived his whole life in that boyhood home and has been recognized as an authority on birds and their habits. I remember visiting him once when I was little and recall how the whole Parker family held him in very high esteem.
Thank you for publishing and Laurie for taking the beautiful pictures of a rare, magnificent duck. I will treasure this issue as one of my favorites!
– Irene Parker McQueeney
Editor’s Note: Laurie Dirkx’s name was spelled incorrectly in the March/April issue. We regret this error.
Last night and this morning I got feedback from friends who received the January/February 2016 issue in England, Australia and New Zealand. They all loved the article about Austin Steward but what they enjoyed a lot was the map enclosed. They said it gave them a better idea of where I was located in the United States and a better understanding of the Finger Lakes Region. They were all surprised about the wine industry.
Also I thought it was very interesting that none of my Black friends – including school teachers – had ever heard of Austin. They were so happy the article was published during Black History Month so they could share it with their students.
– Chester Freeman
Chester is the author of an article about Austin Steward, an unsung hero in African American history. The article appeared in our January/February 2016 issue.
In response to the article on frogs (March/April 2016), I want to let your writer Arthur Masloski know that I have been enjoying the delightful song of many western chorus frogs in the canal water of the Genesee Valley Greenway, near the Cuylerville entrance. I have yet to spot any, but that sound is very much indeed “similar to a fingernail being dragged over the teeth of a comb.” I will continue to keep my eyes peeled for a glimpse!
– Jacki McCausland, Leicester, New York