Normand David (1945-2023)

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27 June 2023

Normand David (1945-2023)

The late Normand David, who dies on April 17th, was passionate about Quebec, the French language, birds and bird watching and his enthusiastic help to the world of ornithology led him to become an adviser to Lynx Edicions almost from the beginning of the creation of the 17 volume Handbook of the Birds of the World. Normand not only sought to standardise French names for all the birds of the world, but also advised on the correct spelling of the scientific names, drawing on his schooling in Latin and Greek. In this he was happily paired with Michel Gosselin. Between 2000 and 2011, the two of them published six papers on scientific names. He was a great help to me with the 3rd edition of the Howard and Moore Checklist in 2003, and even more so with the 2013-14 edition. During that period, he and I had a sound working relationship with Andy Elliott at Lynx Edicions – seeking to agree on difficult spelling cases. This also required us to learn what help was available in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.

Together Normand and I spent time visiting the university library in Montreal, and travelled on to Long Point Bird Observatory and, with Denis LePage crossed into the USA and met the folk from Cornell exploring the potential for collaboration. It was also a delight to be able to host Normand here in the UK, when I took him to visit the Natural History Museum in Tring. He was a reliable and assiduous member of the team that compiled the 4th edition of the Howard & Moore Checklist. He and I were co-authors of about a dozen papers.

In his eulogy of Normand, Michel Gosselin mentions Normand’s fondness for Costa Rica and its birds and in the last few years I received lots of advice on this subject. I had hoped to visit Costa Rica drawing all the information he supplied, but I have had to conclude that will not happen, but Normand will be still be very much in my memory.

Edward Dickinson