Sunday, January 04, 2009



ELEANOR J. TAUBERactress, singer, artist, writer, photographer, and bird watcher – passed away at age 71 on December 20 at Calvary Hospital following an illness. Eleanor understudied Dina Merrill in the lead role of Mrs. Manningham in the Broadway production of Angel Street in the 1970’s. She played Mrs. Oxenham in the Star Package Tour of The Hot L Baltimore with Jan Sterling and was a member of the Hypothetical Theatre Company, Inc. and the performance art group DADAnewyorkDADAnynyDADA.

Off-Broadway, Eleanor performed in several plays at the Pulse Theatre on Theatre Row, including O’Keeffe, Sunset of an Artist, a one-woman show about George O’Keeffe. On television, she played featured roles on All My Children and One Life to Live, as well as the U.S. Steel Hour, Robert Montgomery Presents, and the Lux Video Theatre.

Eleanor was born Eleanor Blumberg in Philadelphia on January 15, 1937 and was previously married to William Tauber. After graduation from high school, she was offered a fully paid four-year scholarship to Bryn Mawr. The pull toward acting was too great, however, so she turned down the scholarship to study with Jasper Deeter at the famed Hedgerow Repertory Theatre in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania, where she performed several roles in the Repertory Theatre, including Anne Shakespeare in A Cry of Players, Esther in The Price, and The Widow Quinn in Playboy of the Western World. Among the other roles she played during her career are Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, Maria in Twelfth Night, Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, and Gertrude in Hamlet.

An avid member of the Central Park birding community, Eleanor was a devoted supporter of causes related to nature, animals, ecology, and humanitarianism. As an Audubon Society volunteer, she spent many mornings working with Project Safe Flight, rescuing stunned and injured birds that collided with the City’s skyscrapers during the night. She could often be found watching her favorite red-tailed hawks, Pale Male, Lola, and their brood, from the “hawk bench” in the Park.

In the last few years, Eleanor realized her dream of becoming a nature photographer when she purchased a digital camera, which gave her a whole new avenue of creative expression. Her talent is unmistakable in the hundreds of images she created, primarily of birds, landscapes, plants, insects, and other wildlife in her beloved Central Park.

Eleanor was a very spiritual person who had an unwavering childlike awe and reverence for the beauty and soulfulness of nature. She touched many lives, and she is and will remain sorely missed.

Eleanor is survived by her cousins, Martin, Arnold, Janet, Noemi, David, and Daniel Goldstein, and Miriam, Sheldon, Janet, and Andrew Einhorn.

Expressions of sympathy can be made via donations to the Natural Resources Defense Council, World Wildlife Fund, Humane Society, Audubon Society, or the American Bird Conservancy.

A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, January 11 at 2:00 at MetaCenter, 214 West 29th Street, 16th Floor.

When I received the first photograph in today's post, the photo that accompanied the Memorial announcement, it was very strange. Nice photo, and yes, that was certainly Eleanor's smiling face, but somehow it wasn't Eleanor either.

Then this photo was sent by Melanie Votaw along with Eleanor's obituary. And then I knew what it was, I'd never seen Eleanor without her binoculars, her camera, and her hat, ready for action in the field even if sitting in a New York City cafe with me in between birding action.

I suspect it will be much the same for those who knew wonderful Eleanor and also read this blog. Here is the information concerning the Celebration of Eleanor's life.

Eleanor Tauber is Remembered

Please join us to Celebrate Eleanor’s Life.
Sunday, January 11th, 2009
2pm – 5 pm

META Center

214 West 29th Street

16th Floor

Between 7th & 8th Avenue NYC

Take the subway to Penn Station. Parking Garage is available across the street

The META Center requests that all guests remove their shoes at the door. No food is permitted and water will be provided.

Please contact me if you would like to share a few words at the memorial. Contact: Donna Perrone h)212 254 9453 c)646 283 977

Expressions of sympathy can be made via donations to the Natural Resources Defense Council, World Wildlife Fund, Humane Society, Audubon Society, or the American Bird Conservancy.

Check- to review Eleanor’s Obituary beginning on Monday.

Some months ago, Eleanor sent me this photograph of a Raccoon kit. It wasn't kit season, and we hadn't been talking about Raccoons on the blog, as she had the amazing ability to quietly go through her archives and come up with just the shot I didn't have one of to illustrate whatever new angle the blog conversation had taken. This one just arrived with a little note.

It wasn't for publication or anything she said, but she'd decided it was, of all the photographs she'd taken, her favorite. As we all know, Eleanor watched the raccoon cavities long and perceptively. She said this was the absolute first time that this kit had poked his head out and looked at the outside world. She said, "Just think, he's looking out with eyes that have never seen any of it before and you can see it in his face. What a wonder and a gift to watch him see!"

And it was a wonder and a gift to walk with Eleanor though the parks, and talk with Eleanor, and best of all it was a wonder and a gift to SEE with Eleanor.

And before we go on to see more of the amazing things Eleanor captured to share with us, a side note. While I was putting Eleanor's Kit on the blog, and thinking of her, and looking closely at this little guys eyes, I saw that in his left eye, you can see Eleanor's reflection seeing him, while he's seeing her, see him. And eye reflects eye, reflects eye, reflects eye...

Eleanor Tauber definitely took some flashy photos like this Green Honey Creeper male
And this Green Honey Creeper female. Unquestionably not birds we all see every day.

But then on the other hand she took photographs of the most "normal" things and had us look at them as well. And gosh, it was always well worth it. Here's the duck she called Curly dozing on the Model Boat Pond.

No one who saw this photo could resist Independent Duckling. Eleanor always kept photo track of the Frick Hen and her ducklings and shared it with the blog readers. Now this little guy, really is little compared to his brothers and sisters. but in this case he's made a decision to get there first and you can see he's pleased as punch at being king of the mountain. Okay, duckling raft.

Here come the rest.

Little Independent Duckling has already finished his preening thank you.
The rest may want to face the other direction, but Independent D is taking a little stroll to prove he can.
And here are the Frick Ducklings from the next year.
And a look at what Independent D grew up to be.
And when the conversation turned to Burrowing Owls? Wow, Eleanor had photographed some of those as well.
The antique sophisticated colors of the Lenten Roses captured perfectly.
But nothing wrong with everyday pansies and an everyday fly either. She made them special too.
And how about a loving portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard.

Or the sinister Evil Magician Grackle?

A young Catbird, not rare but special with his fleshly caught prey.

Eleanor always sent me photos of Central Park's special visitors if I'd not been able to see them myself. Here is a Pied-billed Grebe.

Now there are many people who take pictures in New York Cities Parks. But I've never seen anyone do what Eleanor did with flowers.

The three photographs of the Lotuses for instance.

And take note of the Blue Darter Dragonfly.

The beauty shot of a Yellow Jacket and yellow flowers, of course.

But Eleanor, a woman after my own heart, was fascinated by behavior even if it wasn't a typical beauty shot.

Not a rare bird, or even a native one, who cares! Look at that great display of courship begging.

She was never afraid to touch. Take Orange Spikey here .

And after the long winter it was Eleanor who let me know that the buds had begun to burst.

A portrait of Super Bee as she called him.

And just in case, I might not have an appropriate photograph to post on the blog for a holiday, she always sent one in just to make sure. Bleeding Hearts for Valentine's Day of course.

A conversation about birds drying their feathers in the sun? Here's a photo to match!

A sweet bunch of delicate flowers peeking out of the darkness.
A LEO giving the eye...
And Eleanor's Cartoon Blue Jay, or at least that is what she called him. He appeared one day and started to "chat" with her. It's interesting, Eleanor often had birds come up and "talk" to her. And they really did seem to. I've been there when it happened.

A Swamp Sparrow sounds off...

Just look at that expression!

Dad feeds a fledgling.

Autumn leaf beetle...
Eleanor's portrait of Charlotte and Pale Male Jr.'s 888 eyass who was the center of all the hoopla for coming down in Ziegfield Plaza.

Sure she snagged shots of the famous birds, but didn't forget the egg sacs of a spider.
The eggs of the Argeope Spider as a matter of fact.

A lotus in water that reflects the sky..

And a sky that contrasts the flushing bird...

A cicada exoskeleton...

And a wee sparrow in the Conservatory Garden having a bath.

Every feather in a Double Crested Cormarant's wing...

And the feeling of evening coming on....
And yes, the Turkey of Central Park.
Not long before her death, Eleanor sent this photograph of the Central Park Turkey, who she said had walked with her awhile the last time she'd been to Central Park. There is no question in my mind that Eleanor will continue to walk with all of us in Central Park, beast or bird, human or flower with the lesson to see as if you've never seen any of it before.
Thank you Eleanor Tauber.
Eleanor, my daughter Sam, and I, all actresses, were going to go take tea at Alice's Teacup one day and talk about acting. But somehow whenever the outing was planned, something in Central Park pulled us in. An Indigo Bunting was in the Maintenance Yard! Pale Male and Lola had started copulating on Fifth Avenue! Or Eleanor had discovered Turtle eggs and off we went breathing fast to see what we could see. I do wish we had made it to Alice's Teacup in a way, but then again I wouldn't have wanted to miss a moment of my time in Central Park with Eleanor either.
Donegal Browne


Karen Anne said...

It's been a privilege to see Eleanor's pictures. I wish I had known her in person.

Sally said...

Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos and memories of your dear friend Eleanor. I am so sorry for your loss, and ours too, though I knew of her through her photographs and stories of her on the blogs.

Melanie said...

Thanks so much, Donna, for this beautiful tribute to our dear friend.
-Melanie Votaw

Anonymous said...

I loved the tribute to Eleanor Tauber. I am so sorry I did not know her. She was one unique and lovely woman.

R. of Illinois

Anonymous said...

I did know Eleanor. And she was unique and lovely! When I wake up with my own aches and pains, I think of Eleanor making her rounds of the park at her age and health. That's when I get my binoculars down and put on my own walking shoes.

Darla from the Westside

naturewatcher said...

Lovely Tribute to Eleanor, thank you for sharing it. I only knew Eleanor 'online' through various bird cam sites and the shots she sent for my blog WHAT'S IN YOUR BACKYARD ?? She once told me that Central Park was her 'backyard', lol. A very Special Lady. May she soar with her beloved birds for Eternity.

Donegal Browne said...

May she indeed.

hari said...

excellent snaps....touches the heart..... reflects the true hard effort......good job Donna.. Hari from India

Donegal Browne said...

Thank you Hari.

I still miss Eleanor very much. The post about The Taming of the Shrew, turning Petruchio's character trajectory starting as a falconer and then turning into a tiercel would have been right up her alley. I would love to know what she'd have said about it. She was in contact with so many people in so many places. I remember one day she came to the Bench and was about to go have dinner with a poet she'd been in touch with for years but had never met.

Besides all the other wonderful attributes Eleanor had, she also had the remarkable ability to no matter how much tromping was being done in Central Park to track down whomever, I rarely remember her without hair combed and her trademark rose lipstick perfectly in place.