Obituary

Published on 01 May 2002 in Obituaries

n 31st January 2002, Professor Dr K. H. Voous, a winner of the Gold Medal of the British Ornithologists’ Union, an Honorary Member of the BOU and an Honorary Subscriber to British Birds, died at his home in Huizen, the Netherlands. He was in his 81st year. Born in 1920, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the son of a first-team soccer player with the renowned local club `Ajax’, Karel became interested in birdlife at a very early age. His first publication, in the Dutch journal De Levende Natuur, was written when he was only 16 years old. At that time, he was a member of the Netherlands’ Youth Organisation for the Study of Nature (NJN), a more or less anarchistic club in which the members of the local branch roamed the fields and marshes surrounding the city, teaching each other the fine details of bird identification in an age when field guides were virtually unheard of. This love of nature led Karel, in 1938, to enrol as a student of biology at the University of Amsterdam. Here, the lectures on zoogeography by Professor L. F. de Beaufort of the Zoological Museum (ZMA) soon attracted his attention. Karel deplored the fact that the professor paid little regard to birds, a failing which was largely the result of the museum having insufficient specimens to enable anything more than some theoretical examples to be demonstrated. In an attempt to resolve this situation, Prof. de Beaufort made Karel his assistant in 1940. At that time,

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