Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A Tribute to Judy, Bird Lady of Blogland

I heard the sad news the way we often hear news these days, a private post on Facebook from a friend saying, “Judy passed away”.  Oh no!  Judy had commented on my blog recently, slipping in her pithy statements and always making me smile.  We had missed visiting with her in Desert Hot Springs this past winter, when she said that she wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t be able to join us.  Later in the spring she mentioned to me in a private post that she had sold her little motorhome, the one she drove back home to family in 2018.

We said, “Well then, we will see you in February when we come south”. A visit to Jojoba Hills was in order.  It was time to see Judy’s new park model.

Judy and Mo and I weren’t what you would call “close” friends, but we were definitely good friends who laughed a lot in each other’s company.  We were distant enough friends that her family had no clue to let us know that she was gone, or that she was sick.  In her typical style, if she was sick, she didn’t let us know, and we hadn’t heard from her in a bit of time, so the news was a shock.

Thinking of Judy, no longer in this world, made me really sad.  Most of the readers of my blog will remember Judy, and our visits with her over the years. Many readers of my blog were also readers of Judy’s blog, Travels with Emma. Judy was an amazing fountain of bird knowledge, with all her years volunteering in wildlife refuges throughout the country expanding her skills.  She shared that knowledge with an open heart, writing with humor and detail about her refuge experiences, and always willing to show folks around on her refuge of the year if they happened to pass nearby. 

I know most readers have their own memories of Judy’s blog, and their own stories, but I wanted to remember  Judy and repost some of the photos of the times we spent together.  Judy had many photos of birds in her blog, but only rarely had pictures of herself.

The orange highlights are links to the blogposts. 

From Judy’s Blog January 2014  The Oregonians Arrive

January 2014 Judy Finds the Spoonbills

Our first meeting at Judy’s campsite at Anahuac NWR

January 2015 Imperial NWR with Judy

Judy doing what she did best, sharing her knowledge of the wildlife refuge, this time at Imperial NWR

June 2015  Visiting Judy at Harris Beach

Judy met Mattie not long after we got her in 2015, called her a pipsqueak

Visiting Judy at Harris Beach in Brookings, Oregon, where she was in charge of explaining the bird life on Bird Island

August 2015 Bird Lady Visits Rocky Point

Judy stayed in our cabin at Rocky Point and we went birding, kayaking, and exploring in the Klamath Basin

January 2016 Visiting Judy in Jojoba Hills

We drove to Jojoba Hills one year to visit Judy at her new winter digs

February 2018 Hanging with Judy in February 2018

Our last visit with Judy was when she spent a few days with us at Catalina Spa and RV Park, and we went to the movies, went for some hikes, shared some good meals and had a great time.

We will miss you, Judy, your incredible knowledge of birds, your dry and witty sense of humor most of all.


  1. What a lovely tribute to an amazing lady!! Mike and I were fortunate to spend a day with Judy showing her around Callaway Gardens (Pine Mountain Georgia)!! We had a grand day and topped it off with a great BBQ meal at a local restaurant!! We followed each other’s blogs for years!! She will be truly missed by so many!! I’m so glad you shared all those sweet memories you made with us!!! Thank you!!!

  2. Beautiful photos and tribute to Judy. I called her Sensei (Master)..and she called me Grasshopper, like the movie Karate Kid. I never had the pleasure of meeting her, but we communicated on our blogs alot...She is a one of a kind and will be sorely missed by many.

  3. I got that New York chicken too! I think it was Tule Lake I drove down to meet her. Wonderful!!! I so enjoyed her blog... Remember HLS in the spring? She was funny too.
    Great tribute to her... Enjoyed seeing the pics of her!

  4. Thank you for your beautiful post for a beautiful woman.

  5. What a lovely tribute to Judy, loved her blog and her sense of humor.

  6. Amazing tribute!!!! She will be missed!!!!

  7. Beautiful tribute Sue. While I never met her I will always remember her whitty thoughts. Judy was and amazing person. I will always remember her tails when she had her surgery, and nurse ratchet. RIP sweet lady.

  8. How wonderful of you to do this Sue. I was so sorry when she stopped doing her blog so I had no way to keep up with her. I'm really sad that now I am able to go west possibly, she won't be there to visit. These are wonderful pictures. It's a great tribute to an amazing woman. She was one of the best birders I ever knew and what a unique personality. I had no idea. So sad. Writing you an email.

  9. Very well written post Sue! I too had the privilege of meeting Judy. She mentioned in one of her blog posts that she would like to go to Mexico to see about a tooth but didn't want to go alone. We were ATVing out of Salome, AZ and I think Judy was at one of the wildlife refuges. We walked across the border into Algodones. I had my teeth cleaned, Judy declined to have any work done (in hindsight, she was the smarter!) and we drove home. I will miss knowing our bird lady is not out there keeping us and our birds in order!

  10. Met Judy when she was working at Tamarac NWR in Minnesota, and was able to visit with her again later when she spent a summer in Oregon, her last summer on the road before she bought her place at Jojoba.

    So enjoyed all her stories, and pics, and I too was sad when she stopped writing her blog.

    She was a great lady who will be missed by many.

  11. So glad you shared this with us. I admire her and her adventurous spirit.

  12. So sad to hear of Judy's passing... Loved seeing the old photos when the four of us visited her at INWR.

  13. I so enjoyed reading her blog, she had a great run:)

  14. Thank you for this. It makes me smile to know so many people were able to enjoy her company.

  15. Great tribute to a great lady!! RIP Judy


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