Obituary: Bernard King (1907-1987)

Published on 01 January 1970 in Obituaries

ernard King was an exceptional birdwatcher. Unbounding enthusiasm, great kindness to others and an intense desire to commit his observations to paper were the hallmarks of this amateur ornithologist. Many young birdwatchers, some of whom have gone on to put their interest to professional advantage, had him to thank for settling them in an engrossing hobby.Bernard was born on 9th August 1907, in Bristol, of Cornish parents, a n d those two areas were eventually to d o m i n a t e his life and his birdwatching. He attended Bristol G r a m m a r School and Kent College, Canterbury, before taking an Honours Diploma in ceramics at Stoke-onTrent. He took u p birdwatching late by today’s standards, in 1937, when in his thirtieth year. By the time war came, he was totally absorbed by the new hobby, and he continued to make observations during this difficult period, when conditions permitted. Indeed, his first contribution to British Birds was during the war, and the idea was suggested by H. F. Witherby when Bernard (kitted out in his Army private’s uniform) called on him at his house. Bernard was always keen to acknowledge Harry Witherby’s help with this note (‘Unusual migrants in Surrey’, Brit. Birds 36: 76) and many subsequent ones. Another early mentor of Bernard’s was Humphrey Tetley of the Bristol City Museum.All activity was interrupted, however, by active service overseas, first in Africa attached to the Royal West Africa Frontier Force and then in Norway

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