21, 2000, Gazette)
Bird man of Newfoundland
Dr. Leslie M. Tuck
A former J. L. Paton Research Professor from Memorials
Psychology Department was honoured recently in a dedication ceremony
at Cape St. Marys Ecological Reserve.
On Aug. 17, Dr. Leslie M. Tuck was recognized for his ornithological
work in Newfoundland when the Interpretive Centre at Cape St.
Marys was renamed the Dr. Leslie M. Tuck Centre.
According to Dr. Bill Montevecchi of the Psychology Department,
Dr. Tuck was instrumental in setting up seabird ecological reserves
in Newfoundland and Labrador.
He had a real attachment to Cape St. Marys and as
a consequence of that ... the dedication was appropriate and
this is certainly a most appropriate person to dedicate it to
because of his history.
While Dr. Tuck conducted studies of wolves, polar bears, seals
and narwhales, it was for his bird research seabirds in
particular that he was best known. His work brought him
all across Newfoundland repeatedly to Funk Island
as well as to the Canadian Arctic, and the warmer climates of
Louisiana, Bermuda, Guyana, Trinidad and Venezuela.
Having first attended Memorial University College, Dr. Tuck went
on to study biology at Harvard University from 1936-1938. He
subsequently worked for seven years as a photographer on the
U.S. Navy base in Argentia and in 1949 became the first dominion
wildlife officer in Newfoundland after the province joined Confederation;
this was the start of a 27 year career in the Canadian Wildlife
He founded the Newfoundland Natural History Society and was active
in raising public awareness of oil pollution and its relationship
to seabird mortality. By the time he retired in 1976, Dr. Tuck
had been awarded two honorary degrees, the first a doctorate
of science from Memorial and the second a D.Sc. from Acadia University.
Though experiencing health problems, Dr. Tuck accepted the position
of J. L. Paton Research Professor in 1977. At Memorial, he continued
his research into the avifauna of Newfoundland until his death
Two landmark books written by Dr. Tuck, The Murres and The Snipes,
both received the Wildlife Societys Outstanding Publication
of the Year Award, making him the only two-time recipient. In
addition to these and several other publications, he co-authored
Newfoundland Birds with Dr. Montevecchi.
As a friend and colleague of the late Dr. Tuck, Dr. Montevecchi
was involved in the August 17th dedication ceremony at Cape St.
To really get to it, the real tribute always to
anybody is not the building, but the place, said
Dr. Montevecchi. Here, its the bird colony, its
Cape St. Marys.
As such, it is the location of the centre within the ecological
reserve that he helped create that is the true memorial
to Dr. Tucks life and work.