Russell Greenberg, director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, dies at 60

November 6, 2013
Russell S. Greenberg
Ornithologist

Russell Greenberg, an ornithologist and director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, died Oct. 24 at Montgomery Hospice’s Casey House in Rockville. He was 60.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Judy Gradwohl.

Dr. Greenberg was named director of the Migratory Bird Center in 1991, the year that it opened, and he served in that position until his death. For most of his career, he studied the birds of tropical forests and wetlands, including wintering warblers, vireos, antwrens, swamp sparrows and rusty blackbirds, which helped him develop insights into avian behavior, evolution and ecology.

He is widely credited for initiating a movement for shade-grown, bird-friendly coffee plantations around the world, for which he received an award from the American Ornithologists Union earlier this year.

Russell Steven Greenberg was born in Washington and moved with his parents to California as a child. He was a 1976 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, where he also received a doctorate in zoology in 1981.

He began his Smithsonian career in 1977 with the institution’s Tropical Research Institute in Panama. He lived in Takoma Park, Md., where he was a Little League baseball coach and a roller-blader.

Survivors include his wife of 32 years, Judy Gradwohl of Takoma Park; two children, Natalie Gradwohl of Takoma Park and Jeremy Gradwohl of Philadelphia.

— Bart Barnes

Continue reading
Most Read Local