Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn An Oasis for Birds and Birders | Page 19

People and Happenings Staff Profile: Alberto Parker By Lauren Marsh If you are a frequent visitor of Mount Auburn, you probably know one of our security guards, Alberto Parker, by his cheerful disposition. You might not know that he also happens to be one of the few staff members to have taken up birding. Al has worked at Mount Auburn since 2005, and his interest in birds began when he started bumping into our resident wildlife photographers. “John Harrison was the first–and from there so many others,” he says. Once he was armed with some binoculars, he couldn’t be stopped. Whether on one of our early morning bird walks offered each spring or in the late afternoon when his shift ends (and the bugs are out), Al loves walking the grounds finding various species in the landscape. He has no set route or routine, but he does have his sweet spots. “Come migration I like the Dell, Laurel Ave, Palm Ave. My favorite spots seem to change every year,” he says. Deciding on a favorite bird proved more difficult for Al. “I like the kingfisher–it has beautiful color, it’s a bird that never stops. It’s always making noise and it just dive bombs right in the water. I like them all, but the kingfisher is one of my favorites.” As far as what to be on the look- out for, Al’s tastes are also seasonal. “My favorite types of birds are raptors, but in the springtime I like warblers. I like anything that has to do with finding something. Warblers are small and fast.” Since it is Al’s job to patrol the Cemetery, which requires him to drive about 40 miles a day, he is privy to many in- teresting sightings not just limited to birds–flying squirrels, muskrats, and a host of other woodland creatures abound, but if he hears a bird in the mix, he’ll take a peek. Yet one of his most remarkable moments as a birder occurred when he wasn’t even purposely looking. “Last summer, I was at the front assisting with a funeral and I had gone into the office to get Jim Holman, and as we were coming out, we saw two Bald Eagles fly over the Administration Building. Grants Awarded The Roy A. Hunt Foundation awarded the Friends $7,500 in November towards the rainwater collection system for the new greenhouse facility. In December, the Friends received $20,000 from the Edwin S. Webster Foundation towards priority projects. And in January 2012, the Watertown Cultural Council gave $500 towards our public programs. Left to right, Accounting Manager Melinda Moulton with Volunteer Christina DeLallo That’s one of my most memorable experiences here.” Concerning his re- lationship with Mount Auburn’s birding community, he says, “They let me know what they see, and I let them know what I see. They On March 3rd, we had a table at the email me pictures. I Mass Audubon Birders Meeting where we want to let everybody chatted with members of the birding com- know when I see some- munity and gave out information about thing. I’ll sometimes Mount Auburn. Pictured above are Visitor get a phone call from Services Coordinator Jessica Bussmann one of them telling me and Alberto Parker. where something is, and I’ll go see it and add it to my list of birds that I keep on my iPhone. I use a Mass Audubon app where you can pinpoint where you saw the bird. And I always write on the Bird Board out front, what I see and where I see it.” Others appreciate Al’s enthusiasm for sharing as well. Artist, naturalist, and educator Clare Walker Leslie says, “Although I have been birding and drawing in Mount Auburn Cemetery since l974, one of my most memorable moments is my recent encounter with one of your security guards, Al. Al loves the wildlife in Mount Auburn with an increasing and genuine passion. He notices and cares for every moving creature within your gates. Last week, I saw his truck parked beside a Weeping Beech. In pure excitement, he pointed out to me a Merlin eating a chickadee, high up and impossibly hard to see at the top of the tree. Al is passing on his love of nature to me, to everyone at Mount Auburn, and to his family and, in so doing, is passing on a true passion to pro- tect and honor all wildlife.” Mount Auburn is an excellent place for novice birders to start. Visit us some bright May morning for one of our bird walks or on your own to have a glimpse at some of our brilliant migrants–you might just spot Al in your travels doing the very same! Staff News Finance Department gets Its First Volunteer The Finance Department ended 2011 reaching a milestone–our department’s first volunteer! Christine DeLallo, who regularly works at the greenhouse, provided much-needed support on the Department’s offsite storage project. Over two days, she labeled and detailed the contents of 97 boxes of financial records and entered their contents into the Off Site Inventory database. These boxes will be sent to an offsite storage facility in the next few weeks. Thank you, Christine, for a great job! We really appreciate your efforts and hard work! Spring/Summer 2012 | 17