Written this month by Michelle Colesanti. Dedicated to Rich and Tanya Crete – owners of Rich’s Backyard Birds, who lost their lives in a car accident on Memorial Day 2016.

Rich – In your “Hey Birdman” column you always were able to answer any question thrown at you pertaining to birds. It was your love and passion in this life.

The last question to be asked will go unanswered because no explanation can satisfy as to why you and Tanya were taken from us so suddenly and in such a tragic way.

As time goes on, those who were touched by your kindness, and especially by your wonderful and quirky sense of humor, will be able to fondly remember you through the joyous sounds of the birds.

In your eight years of owning Rich’s Backyard Birds, you shared your knowledge with anyone who was willing to learn from you. I know firsthand how your enthusiasm could ignite that passion in another. Your passion extended beyond the birds. Who would think of having a cat as mascot in a bird store? Audubon was not only a cherished pet, but she helped you share with the community the importance of keeping cats indoors.

For your total knowledge on everything birding; to the bird walks that you organized every year during the cooler months, to your willingness to share your birding knowledge with Scout troops and Kindergarten classes, you will be missed.

Both you and Tanya have made such a positive impact on our local community and that was recently expressed by the outpouring of love when your clients, friends and family learned of your passing. I was one of them.

The birds – they are everywhere, and therefore so are you.

Rest in peace Rich and Tanya – till we “tweet” again!

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.