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We just learned of the passing of Allen Prigge on December 30th. He was 97 years old. A longtime Eugene-area birder, he had been a member and supporter of Lane County Audubon since the beginning. Starting in 1973, Al managed and maintained more than 300 bluebird boxes in and around Eugene. Many local Western Bluebirds are descendants of birds that nested successfully in Al’s boxes. 

Originally from Minnesota, Al Prigge graduated with a degree in Forestry from the University of Minnesota in 1952. He served on the board of the North American Bluebird Society and contributed articles to its publication. For decades he worked locally for the US Forest Service. Throughout his life, Allen used his knowledge and skills to help the cavity-nesting birds that he loved. Even more significant is the inspiration he provided to other people in caring for and sharing the love of birds.

Several local birders have commented since we learned of  Al’s passing:

Dick Lamster – I learned about bluebirds from Al by monitoring a portion of his houses for several years. For 25 years now, I have maintained more than 40 bluebird houses on our 10 acres south of Eugene. I always credit Al for getting me started and Tony Koch (Bird Haven) for advancing my knowledge. Al was posting to OBOL as recently as a year ago and also attending Lane County Audubon Society monthly programs until a year ago or so. He was not only a great birder, but he was also a wonderful person. The birding community lost a great member this week. 

Sally Hill – This news makes me sad. Al was like the energizer bunny walking up and down the summit to Skinner Butte in Eugene, even after his heart surgery. He was always the charming gentleman full of knowledge and humility. I will raise a glass to you Al!

Deanna Eisinger – I am sorry to hear this. He was a great friend of birds, especially the bluebirds.

Jim Hardman – I am saddened to hear of Al’s passing, as he was a very kind and knowledgeable person. I birded with Al a number of times and always came away learning something new. I, for one, will miss running into him in the field as he always made the day a little brighter. – R.I.P. Al and know you are missed.

Jeff Gilligan – I am sorry to read it. I didn’t realize Al was that old. He participated in several out-of-state field trips that I lead for Portland Audubon way back when I was almost a kid. Al was a very nice fellow.

Dan Gleason – I always enjoyed my interactions with him and will miss visiting with him again.

Larry McQueen – We have missed Al’s presence on the birding trails.

Lynda Colburn – Sad to hear this. I had lots of enjoyment working on bluebird nest box trails in the late 1970s with him. The birding community will miss him.

Alan Contreras – A great friend from my youth, Al took me birding many times. His work with bluebirds is a legacy we can all enjoy. I saw him carrying a scope around the dikes at Fern Ridge at age 91. We should all be so lucky!