Tribute To A Grand Lady


Myriam Moore, 1912-2006

By Diann MacRae

Kind, Gracious, Supportive, Industrious.  I could go on and on about Myriam’s attributes.  When we speak of “one of a kind”, Myriam fits the bill.  As HMANA’s chair, vice chair and board member from 1979-1992, I had the privilege of working with Myriam in many ways.  She was a most efficient secretary, embodying the tact and warmth that allowed her to deal with almost anyone.  She was efficient when asked to do a project, and helped organize conferences, share correspondence and give advice.  Qualities not always found in a volunteer. With her soft, southern accent, she welcomed all into our organization.

Myriam and I once roomed together at a conference.  She warned me that she snored – loudly – and presented me with a pair of ear plugs!  She was right; but we both survived just fine (I didn’t wear them).  We also went on a few field trips at various conferences and she was always quick to point out the eastern birds that some of us didn’t know.  Her interest in the natural world was contagious.

For years, Myriam monitored a hawkwatch site on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Harvey’s Knob was her September spot for censusing the thousands of broadwings and other raptors headed south for the winter months.  In 1995, her many hours of raptor migration work were honored by HMANA when she received the Joseph Taylor Award.  This award was created specifically to honor Myriam’s hard work on behalf of our organization.  The award states that it is given to individuals who have made “heroic, long term contributions to HMANA.”  As part of the award and in honor of her retirement as secretary of HMANA, the board commissioned a painting of a Bald Eagle Soaring over one of her hawk watch sites in Virginia.  She was thrilled with both the award and the beautiful painting.

Apart from HMANA, Myriam was involved in many other birding projects and groups.  She was a board member, officer, and newsletter editor for the Virginia Society of Ornithology, president of the Lynchburg Bird Club, and a member of the Virginia Native Plant Society.  A hawkwatch platform has been named for her at the Woodpecker Ridge Natural Area near Troutville.  Myriam established the first breeding bird census in her region and compiled the Lynchburg Christmas Count for many years.  Her endless hours of volunteer work also included speaking at garden clubs, church groups, and civic organizations.

Myriam was born in Laurens County, South Carolina, September 8, 1912.  She died on January 15, 2006 at the age of 93.  Her parents, Elmer and Fredonia Putnam, taught music at Ferrum College in Virginia, and Myriam inherited their love of music.  She especially loved her mountain getaway, a cottage above Purgatory Creek in Botetourt County.  Myriam is survived by her daughters, Gene and Anita, plus two grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and one great, great-grandchild.

Myriam Moore had an interesting involved life, and positively touched many people.  The birding community has lost a most supportive member.  Myriam will be missed.

This was published first in the journal of the Hawk Migration Association of North America, “Hawk Migration Studies”, and is published here with the author’s permission.  Diann MacRae, as the first female chairman of the Hawk Migration Association of North America, knew that Myriam had a first love for the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) and it was that intercontinental organization that was recognizing her valuable contributions in the above article.  All hawkwatchers should support HMANA in any way that they can.  It would warm Myriam’s spirit for hawkwatching even more and make the Harvey’s Knob watch more attuned with the spirit of Myriam as the sole person for getting it all going.

Dave Holt, November, 2006