Conserve Wildlife Blog

In Memoriam: Pete Bacinski

April 15th, 2019

Story by Rick Weiman, CWF Board of Trustees

Pete Bacinski 
Photo from New Jersey Audubon

There is a hole in my heart this week after hearing about the passing of my friend Pete Bacinski. I met Pete many years ago when he used to lead NJ Audubon Sussex County weekends jointly with the Weis Ecology Center.

Birding with Pete in the spring in northern NJ (or anywhere) was a treat. He could i.d. just about any bird by call which amazes me to this day as I struggle to remember their melodious songs. I recall being with him on one of these trips when he was sure he had heard a Yellow Throated Warbler. This is a southern species who shouldn’t have been at the northern tip of the state and I remember him being very excited about the possibility of a sighting. At that time I had no idea how uncommon a bird this was for northern NJ. After a few minutes of searching we got our binocs on a beautiful male singing at the top of a pine tree, a life bird for me back then and many on that trip, but I think Pete was the most thrilled of us all with the experience.

Last year I asked Pete if he’d be willing to co-lead a trip to Brigantine (now known as Edwin B Forsythe NWR) with me as a silent auction prize for CWF’s annual Women & Wildlife event. Pete had recently became a trustee of the refuge, one of his favorite places in NJ, and he was very excited about contributing to improve it. Of course he generously agreed to the donation idea and we were hoping to take the trip with the winner this spring. I do not think it’s sunk in yet that this isn’t going to happen.

I hope those reading this take the time to visit the refuge that he loved so much and explore that 8 mile loop road he drove hundreds of times with him in mind. I’m sure Pete is looking down at us now, smiling, and hopefully having a cold beer with his old friend Roger Tory Peterson while they talk about the birds that made their lives so meaningful. Feel free to share any thoughts about your experiences with Pete in the comments if you were lucky enough to know him.

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One Response to “In Memoriam: Pete Bacinski”

  1. Jill Brown says:

    My friends and I spent great times with Pete, most recently at Edwin B. Forsythe 2 weeks ago. So when we heard the news of Pete’s sudden death we were shocked. He was working hard at living a more healthy life. He shared his wealth of knowledge while saying, “Life was good to me, I just want to give back”. He shared stories of his many adventures and tips to ID birds! I’ll remember his kind heart and happy disposition. I know he flew to heaven like a dove carrying a branch! jb

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