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In Memorial: Joel Duncan


We of the Rocky Mountain Eagle Research Foundation (RMERF) have very sadly lost another staunch and long time member of our organization and observer cadre.  Joel Duncan was tragically taken from our midst on 14 September 2021.  He was a “Charter Member” of RMERF, a capable and enthusiastic observer in the field and a good friend.  As a token of appreciation for his long time and helpful support, he was awarded a RMERF “Certificate of Appreciation” in February, 2020.  We will always remember his desire to participate in RMERF activities and always with a smile.  Joel, we miss you already.”

Passing of Terry Waters


Terry (Terence William) Waters          (January 10, 1940 – December 27, 2020)

Terence William Waters, .P Eng, and valued Member and Principle Observer for the Rocky Mountain Eagle Research Foundation (RMERF), passed away on Sunday, December 27, 2020.  Details of his life are available at link obituary.

I first met Terry and his wife Nancy in 2005 when they appeared at RMERF functions as members.  He then began to assist us in the field during our Spring 2010 Lorette Raptor Count.  There he demonstrated the knowledge and willingness to take on the challenge of Principle Observer.  That fall he put that skill to use and faithfully volunteered his time and expertise, and that of some of his family members to our field counts until health issues intervened on the 2017 Spring Count.  Terry’s presence is best described in the words of Heinz Unger, a fellow observer:


Terry Waters


It was a cold and windy day – as usual for hay Meadow – but as I approached the count site I could see the Principal Observer, a towering, stoic figure untouched by the lousy weather. It’s always a concern when one first meets a new fellow observer but I realized I had lucked out with Terry, a fellow P.Eng., engaging to talk with, but he could also be quiet, especially when the migration was busy or the day got rather long. I very much enjoyed being paired up with him. So I was also happy to support Terry when he ran for a seat on the Council of APEGA, the professional engineers association of Alberta, especially as not enough good and knowledgeable people volunteer for such boards. And Terry surprised me once more when I ran into him at a performance of Opera Calgary at the Jubilee. After the usual quick review of the opera, we slipped into talking about brewing beer and some related engineering aspects. In summary, Terry Waters, was a renaissance man, a birder who spotted and aged golden eagles, attended classic opera performances, got into brewing beer, and was a true engineering professional – he’ll be missed in many places.


Heinz Unger, January 2021


We in RMERF will miss Terry who, in addition to his contributions to the field counts, was always a welcome and active participant in RMERF social functions.   It is there we have a number of photo records.  Several taken at our annual summer BBQs are attached.

Terry and Nancy Waters (1939-2011) discuss world affairs with Margo Hansen at the RMERF annual BBQ (18 Aug 2007).

Terry Waters again discussing world affairs with Margo Hansen at the RMERF annual BBQ (27 Aug 2016).

Terry Waters, Gus Yaki (1932-2020) and Aileen Pelzer on BBQ duty at the RMERF annual BBQ (27 Aug 2016).

Terry Waters and Rosemary Power on BBQ duty at the RMERF annual BBQ (24 Aug 2019).


Passing of Gus Yaki


We are sad to share the recent passing of Gus Yaki.  He was a real friend of RMERF and in addition to participating in our annual social, he contributed by using his means to further our raptor study.  We need more Gus Yakis.  Gus deserves a big “THANK-YOU” for his contribution to our RMERF Citizen Science project. Below is an obituary by his son.

Gustave Joseph (Gus) Yaki, born Sandwith, Saskatchewan (near North Battleford) on August 19, 1932, received MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying) to die peacefully in Calgary on August 10, 2020. He was predeceased by his first wife Rae Jeannine Yaki (Venner), his sisters Mary Anne Grant and Dorothy Pauline Gasper, his grandson Philip, and great grandson Lincoln. He is survived by his wife A‎ileen Pelzer, his brother Stanley John Yaki, his sister Margaret Rose Weger, as well as his children Donald, James (Jim), David, Robyn Fortier, Barbara (Barb), Patricia (Tricia) Bartone, and Jonathon Neville, as well as their spouses, descendants and extended families.

Gus became interested in nature as a child walking back and forth to school and eventually made a living as a nature tour operator. After retiring, he continued volunteering his time as a naturalist. In 2005 he started birding classes with the Friends of Fish Creek which attract hundreds of participants. In 2017, at the age of 84, he organized and led a hike across southern Alberta to celebrate Canada 150 in support of bird study and habitat conservation. In 2019, he was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers by the Governor General of Canada, and was recognized as one of Calgary’s “Top 7 over 70”.

Donations in lieu of gifts may be made to Nature Conservancy of Canada, 245 Eglinton Ave East, Suite 410, Toronto, Ontario M4P 3J1, and/or to Alberta Wilderness Association, 455 – 12 St NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1Y9. (Receipts for tax credit will be issued.)

Memories to be shared at a future memorial service and/or tribute webpage can be sent to

In Memorial: James H. Davis


As a result of a tragic accident while bicycling, Jim Davis passed away on
Canada Day, 1 July 2018, while in intensive care at the Foothills Medical
Centre in Calgary. Jim was a highly respected Principal Observer for the
Rocky Mountain Eagle Research Foundation (RMERF) spring and fall raptor
counts conducted from Hay Meadows (also known as the Mount Lorette site).

I first met Jim while on the fall 2008 count when he visited the count site.
He quickly demonstrated a very high level of knowledge of all birds that
passed by, and better yet he volunteered to be an observer whenever he could.
We were first able to take advantage of his skills on the spring 2009 count
and increasingly on all counts since. He was a terrific teacher and always
spoke enthusiastically about the count with visitors. Jim proved to be one
of our top skilled and most reliable Principal Observers.

Jim will be sorely missed by all involved with the Rocky Mountain Eagle
Research Foundation spring and fall migrating raptor count efforts.

Cliff Hansen
Past Coordinator for the RMERF Lorette Raptor Counts