Contribute your memories of Starr

The Linnaean Society of New York, of which Starr was a longtime member, will publish an issue of its News-Letter containing long or short notes from those who knew Starr well and  who would like to contribute their memories of her to this publication. I will provide a way to view these notes from this site. Please send your submissions by March 12th. You can describe something that happened on one of Starr’s walks, an interaction with Starr, or something you remember about her.

Photographs of Starr birding are also welcomed.

Email to to Helen Hays,

You can also send by land mail to:

Linnaean News-Letter
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024

Starr Honored in the New York Times

Starr Saphir’s extraordinary life was accorded the recognition and rare honor of a New York Times obituary, written by Douglas Martin and published on Sunday, February 10th.

It is a moving and well-researched piece that provides some biographical information that even long-time members of Starr’s walks might not know. I encourage everyone to read it.

–David Barrett

NPR Feature and Memorial Event

I want to point out two items that I have added to the In Memoriam page.

First, NPR has published a remembrance of Starr. It also serves to alert readers that Birders: The Central Park Effect, of which Starr is the featured subject, will be rebroadcast this Saturday, February 9th, at 6:00 AM EST on HBO. If you want to see footage of Starr birding and discussing her life, you should try to record this broadcast.

The film is also available through the usual sources online (e.g., Amazon, iTunes, Netflix) to download or as a DVD.

Second, Lenore Swenson, who birded with Starr for over 23 years, will be planning an appropriate memorial event for her. It will take place in Central Park sometime during spring migration, and will likely involve a birding walk. I will provide information on this site and through postings to eBirdsNYC and NYSBirds.


Additional Information

If you wish to send a card or letter to Starr’s daughters Shawna and Lara, you may now do so. You may send by land mail to:

Shawna Leigh, 560 West 218th Street Apt 6F, New York, NY 10034

You may also reach them through Starr’s email,

In lieu of flowers or other tributes, Starr wanted any donations made to the Cerulean Warbler Fund. Again, information on how to contribute is on the “In Memoriam” page.

Shawna has written a beautiful essay about her mother. I have given it a page of its own. You will want to read it.

Services for Starr

Graveside services for Starr will be at 12:30 PM Thursday, February 7th, at Kensico Cemetery (914 949 0247), 273 Lakeview Avenue, in Valhalla, New York. All are welcome to attend.

To get to the services from Manhattan by public transportation, take the Harlem branch of Metro-North to the Valhalla station, which is 38 minutes from Grand Central. It appears to be a walkable one mile northwest to Kensico, but I would advise calling Kensico and following their advice if you choose to travel by train.

Starr has died

I am deeply saddened to report that Starr Saphir died at 3:50 PM today, February 5th, at Calvary Hospice in New York, after an eleven-year battle with breast cancer.

To Starr’s daughters, Shawna and Lara, who loved their mother very much, I extend my deepest condolences.

Generations of Central Park birders have discovered the wonders of birding through her walks, and many of the regulars have been with her for over two decades. We are all going to miss her.

4 Feb Update, 3 PM

I have nothing new to report on Starr’s condition. I wanted to post something here because I can see that this site is receiving heavy traffic.

Starr continues to be too weak to take calls or see visitors. I encourage those who wish to contact her to use the email address

to send her a message.

I heard that Shawna found many messages waiting for Starr on Saturday, and she will continue to read incoming messages to Starr when Starr is awake and alert.