In Memoriam


Photo: Luybomir Profirov

At the end of December, Tanyu Mitchev – a founding member and first President of BSPB passed away.

The past year will remain forever in the history of Bulgarian ornithology with the loss of some of the most iconic figures since its existence. Three colossi of Bulgarian ornithology passed away in 2018 – Andon Darakchiev, Dimitar Nankinov and Tanyu Mitchev. Everyone is unique and people cannot compared, but Tanyu Michev undoubtedly was the personality that left one of the brightest traces in the history of Bulgarian ornithology and Nature conservation.

Above all, Tanyu was an innovator and a visionary. If, before that, Bulgarian ornithology followed the quiet path of tradition, with the appearance of Tanyu, things turned different forever. There were amazing, amazing and forward-thinking ideas to be tested. From digging in your photographic hide beside the tunnel with the nest of the Kingfisher underground nest in order to make the first "underground" pictures of the intimate life of this mysterious bird in Bulgaria, by organizing the first bird monitoring activities in the country - The International Waterbird Census in Bulgaria (known as Mid-winter Count) and the annual count of migratory birds at the Atanassovo Lake area to make the first steps in modern mapping of bird distribution. We are talking about the years 1960 - 1975! How important and ahead of time are these innovations of Tanyu shows the fact that even today in Bulgaria they are made for very few other groups of organisms!

Equal is the contribution of Tanyu for the preservation of birds and the natural sites of Bulgaria. He started his nature conservation career in the emblematic reserve Srebarna, and he remained one of the most zealous explorers and guardians of the wetlands. The time spent on the terrain and his touch to reality, to the view to Nature on both sides of the barricade, had made him a realist and pragmatist. Often, these qualities were the most successful in nature conservation. Testimonies for his success are dozens of protected areas in the whole country - from Durankulak Lake protected territory in Dobrudzha to Valchi Dol reseve in the Eastern Rhodopes.

Tanyu was an inspiration. The spirit and understanding inspired by Nikolai Boev, that the success of your work is much safer if you were not alone. Combined with his inexhaustible ideas and the will to experiment with new things, it was like a magnet for dozens of young people who once having felt his enchantment, were looking for him again and again. It is no compliment or courtesy of the testimonies of many people now that Tanyu was their spiritual father, that they learned a lot from him. Most valuable, however, was the kind of community of like-minded followers around him, combining different valuable qualities in one cause - the study and conservation of birds and nature. It was quite natural that the long-awaited idea of creating a conservation organization for what was the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds was long overdue. It was quite natural for Tanyu to become his first President. The relationship between a strong person and a strong organization is not always simple and unambiguous, but Tanyue clearly appreciated the BSPB's outstanding contribution to Bulgarian nature, recognizing the organization's greatest contribution to the identification and designation of the NATURA 2000 network for birds and supported it in its entirety.

Bright path to your soul Tanyu! Light and high, higher than the birds that you loved so much!