Lynn Hall was a man with many interests and talents – he was a successful business owner, aviculturist, world traveler and more. His sense of adventure and desire to learn about the world around him led him to wonderful places and to the accomplishment of marvelous things in his life, things that many could only begin to dream about.
As far back as he could recall, he had harbored a fascination for the natural world around him - enjoying a love of birds, fishing and hunting. Though having kept birds since the age of five, Lynn’s first foray into breeding came with the acquisition of a pair of White King Pigeons when he was 12. The pigeon family would prove to stay with him as a special focus.
He always yearned for those wonderful pigeons and fruit doves he had only read about or seen in travels abroad with his wife Margie. Finally, in 1984 he realized a dream when he traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia, and made arrangements to bring home several species of fruit doves along with a personal favorite of his, the pheasant pigeon. Lynn fondly recalled this as one of the highlights of his life, as he found himself sitting on the floor at an importer’s station, surrounded by not just one, but nine pheasant pigeons! The joy and amazement at the opportunity to finally acquire one of the birds of his dreams had a prominent effect on him. It was then that he started importing birds, and he truly began his efforts to acquire and successfully breed many of the doves and pigeons of Southeast Asia that previously were just pictures in his mind or found only in a book. “You can do anything if you set your heart to it,” Lynn said, and he proved this over the years.
His philosophies and practices showed his commitment to breeding for the species themselves, not for any monetary gain. Working closely with both zoos and the private sector, Lynn was generous in sharing his experiences, successes and failures, all for the betterment of captive management.
Unfettered by the protocols found in a public setting, Lynn, as a private aviculturist, was able to work closely with the birds, making adjustments as logic and observation dictated. “Do your research, study the habitat of the species,” he advised.
He was as well known for his success with fennec foxes as he was with the fruit doves. In 1980 he acquired his first fennecs. At the time, fennecs were thought to be delicate and difficult to keep in captivity; they were short-lived, and little breeding success was achieved. Once again, Lynn’s observation skills and dedication to preserving a species led to great success in keeping them in captivity. Working with John Moore, then director of the Albuquerque Zoo, Lynn developed a diet for the fennecs that proved to be the turning point - not just to survive but to breed and thrive in captivity.
Well over 400 fennec fox kits were born and raised at his facility over the years. These animals have gone to zoos, education programs and other breeding facilities.
He actively participated in conservation efforts such as the Mariana Avifauna Conservation program on Saipan. He was awarded the Jean Delacour Avicultural Award at the International Symposium on Breeding Birds in Captivity (ISBBC) in Toronto, Canada, truly a special honor.
Lynn expressed hope that when his three great-grandchildren grow up, they may get to see some of the birds he worked with, and that many of the species will still be around due in some part to his own efforts in conservation.
Lynn and the stories of his many adventures will be greatly missed.
The follow from William Beebe was a favorite of Lynn's, which he would often share with visitors:
"Crouching in the shadow of a great frost-split boulder, I waited motionless. Behind me, the wall of a jagged cliff rose straight toward the heavens-a giant wall that seemed to set me utterly apart from the world that lay beyond. Within a morning’s march of me was the little world made up of my camp and my men, and far away, across the wastes of land and water, was the great world of civilization, where countless human beings were creating and solving the small complexities of their daily life. But I was alone. I had come into a new land, and the gates behind me were closed.
Far overhead, against the intense blue of the sky, an Himalayan skylark hung on fluttering wings, sending its jubilant notes down to the sloping snowfields beneath. It was only a dark mote above me, but its melody came through the thin icy air startlingly beautiful and clear. It was springtime, and the small songster felt called upon to tell the joyous fact to the eastern Himalayas, although there was no need for it to carol such an obvious thing, for spring was everywhere for all to see.
The arctic meadow that swept downward toward the deep gorges of the Changthap was dotted, between snow patches, with the warm pink of new-blown primroses. These delicate little flowers bloom and live out their short lives under the frown of eternal winter. Rising high above them, clear cut as diamond against sapphire, were the wonderful peaks of snow-Kinchinjunga the indescribable, and the scarcely less glorious Kabru, silent, mysterious-so isolated that they seemed wholly detached from the earth beneath. Even beside me, winter was fighting for a stronghold; in the purple shadows of the cliff were small, scattered islands of white, pitted with falling drops from overhanging icicles. It was so still that sometimes I could hear the faint tinkle of these drops breaking through the thin ice crust of the snow. But it was a stillness made up of countless sounds-so many of which had no meaning to me. I heard only the song of the lark, and the murmur of a hundred rivulets, trickling along the first stages of their long voyage to the sea.
I waited, watching, careful of every movement, and the afternoon light deepened around me. Then above me, like the rush of a sudden tempest, came the loud beating of wings. A great lammergeier swept over the edge of the cliff out past me into space. It circled again, its red eye gazing fixedly down at me, as if to discern whether death had made me worthy of closer attention.
I watched, always, for the other living things of this meadow—a meadow, though miles above the sea. I could see the faint outline of a vinous-throated pipit, sitting close on its nest. Snow was above and beneath it, but an overhanging bank of turf shielded the small dwelling place. Sometimes a tiny, dark form would creep out into the coarse grass—one of those strange little voles which would chose these black regions for their tunneled homes. Above them, flies and gnats were dancing in the thin air, and on a bit of stunted bamboo a tortoise-shell butterfly flattened its bright wings in a little oasis of yellow light.
Without warning, the sun dropped behind a distant ridge. It was as if someone had turned out some enormous lamp. Luminous clouds appeared in the air that before had been so clear, and the first whisper of the cold night wind echoed softly in the crags. The insects vanished, and one by one the icicles and rivulets were silenced at the touch of the coming twilight. From a high ravine came the plaintive call of a white-capped redstart, and a gray fox barked from somewhere afar off. Then, in the rich afterglow reflected from the mountains of snow, seven birds appeared over the crest of the ridge. They came slowly, one after the other, and I knew them at once for the Blood Pheasants I had come so far to find."