Tribute to Alister MeNabney


by Laurella Desborough, Concord, CA

On May 1, 1998, Alister B. McNabney passed away. He held a special passion for birds. He accomplished much through working with San Francisco Bay area bird clubs and in various positions in the AFA. When he wasn't attending meetings he was reviewing huge Environmental Impact Reports on wetlands or U.S. Conservation Corps documents on park lands. He searched out what he called, the "weasel words," the critical words upon which the major issues would tum.

Al was well known for his brief, funny and extremely apt remarks when meetings bogged down and participants' nerves frayed. His gentle humor and simple yet insightful words refocused attention on what was really important. Although this was a lifelong ability, Al had refined it through his years as a railroad labor union administrator and later as a hospital administrator in San Francisco and in Australia.

Al provided a great service to aviculture in his position as the AFA's representative to the Conference on International Trade in Endangered Species (C.l.T.E.S.) and at the C.l.T.E.S. Animals Committee meetings.

For years, the AFA sent representatives to the bi-annual conferences. It was Al McNabney, though, who finally determined that the real work of C.I.T.E.S. was conducted at the committee meetings between conferences. He convinced the AFA BOD to seek participation in the committee work. As a result, the AFA provided input on two items of interest to aviculture: captive breeding and the definition of "commercial purposes."

The AF A will miss Al. He was a gentleman and a diplomat. ~