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Audubon bench to honor
Dr. Ross Hawkins
BETH KINGSLEY HAWKINS, wife of the late Dr. H. Ross Hawkins, speaks during the bench dedication ceremony at the pollinator garden at Page Springs Fish Hatchery on Saturday, July 9, in Cornville. Hawkins founded the International Hummingbird Society in 1996 to promote the conservation of hummingbirds. Daulton Venglar/Larson Newspapers
On Saturday July 9, 2022, about 20 people gathered around the pollinator garden at Page Springs Fish Hatchery to honor H. Ross Hawkins, Ph.D., who founded the International Hummingbird Society in 1996, with his wife, Beth Kingsley Hawkins.
Ross Hawkins died in 2020; however, those who knew him say his spirit took the form of one of his beloved hummingbirds at a recent gathering in his honor, perching on a branch as his widow, Beth Kingsley Hawkins sang “The Rose.”
When the couple traveled to Greece, Ross was invited to join the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, where he was given the Greek name “Triantáfyllo” or Rose, as there was no Greek word for Ross.
“He loved that actually,” Hawkins said. “He was comfortable enough in his masculinity that if they wanted to call him Rose that was OK with him.”
Hawkins’ deep affection for her husband was obvious as she told stories of Ross to the small crowd, which consisted mostly of his friends and coworkers, who were bedecked in hummingbird clothing, hats and jewelry.
She described Hawkins’ journey to founding the IHS, beginning with a story about his ﬁrst encounters with the tiny birds — placing a feeder in the couple’s bedroom window — to his growing fascination — the purchase of a new camera and trips to Tobago and Trinidad to study them — to his stunned realization that there was no hummingbird society to speak of, while “there was even a society for turkey vultures.”
Hawkins said that after watching a video produced by Michael Godfrey about “hummingbirds up close; teaching about all of the species of hummingbirds found in Arizona; Ross called him to talk about it and tell him how much he liked it.”
“Michael said to him, ‘there isn’t any organization that’s protecting hummingbirds; maybe you are the one to do it,’” he said. “That’s when he got off the phone and put a big white board on the easel and began to draw spokes at the center of a wheel marked ‘humming-bird society,’ representing all the things he would need to learn to start a nonproﬁt.”
The rest as they say, is history.
Before his death, Hawkins served as executive director of the IHS for 24 years. Now, his wife has taken up the position as interim executive director.
During his time with the IHS, Hawkins ran the Sedona Hummingbird Festival, gave speeches for the Northern Arizona Audubon Society Birding & Nature Festival, wrote the monthly “Ask the Hummerman” column for this newspaper for several years, and more.
“Whenever we needed him to talk hummingbirds, he would do that,” said Audubon’s Chairman of Field Trips Rich Armstrong.
Armstrong said the Audubon Society Board voted unanimously to place a bench in Hawkins’ honor at the ﬁsh hatchery, “close to the butterfly garden, because Ross would love to have a bench near where hummingbirds are in their natural habitat.”
“Northern Arizona Audubon Society says ‘thank you’ to Ross Hawkins, for all of the work that he has done, not only in the world, but in Sedona, bringing tourists, promoting hummingbirds and birding,” Armstrong said.
Article from Lo Frisby - Cottonwood Journal Extra and The Camp Verde Journal
Join The International Hummingbird Society as we attend the grand opening of one of our sponsors, Robeks! Saturday, June 4th from 10AM-4PM. Located at 2320 E. Baseline Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85042. We will answer any questions you have about the festival, our society, hummingbirds, or just come by to say hi! We'd love to see you there and cool off with a fresh smoothie!
We have all of the photos that we need for our 2023 calendar! We are currently accepting donations for calendar spots. The cost to sponsor a space is $250. Personal dedicated spaces are available for your own postings advertising hummingbird related themes, perhaps a kudos to the society as praise for our work, a shout-out in honor of your favorite hummingbird, an honoring of an individual, or a dedication in memory of a loved one.
Spaces are first come first served.
To assure your month, please email us at: email@example.com or call us at: (928)284-2251
*You will receive three free calendars for every space purchased (valued at $20 each).
Northern Arizona Audubon Society graciously dedicated a plaque in the Butterfly Garden of the Page Springs Fish Hatchery in memory of Dr. Ross Hawkins. It reads, “Audubon remembers Dr. Ross Hawkins, Ross loved hummingbirds he and we invite you to rest and watch them in this garden.”