All of the buzz in the room had just started to fade as Principal Anderson exasperatedly attempted to hush his garrulous staff. From the back of the room, breaking the long-awaited silence, Mr. Drummond jumped out of his seat with an announcement.
“I just want everyone to know that there is a particular rare bird outside.” Drummond proudly declared, thrusting his finger towards the window.
For those that were there, Mr. Drummond’s famous faculty meeting interruption many years ago was one for the books. Drummond is, and has always been, a notoriously “obsessive bird watcher,” according to Andover High School librarian Mr. Berube.
“He is an institution around here,” said Berube. Bill Drummond was an acclaimed math teacher and sports announcer here at the high school from 1969 to 2009. “40 years, 40 years,” Drummond dramatically explained, emphasizing each word.
Every student at AHS knows Mr. Drummond. Senior Isabelle Russo described the rush of excitement a student gets when they walk into class to discover Mr. Drummond sitting at the desk, greeting everyone with a double thumbs up and a permanent smile plastered on his face.
“His happiness is contagious,” Russo explained, “He is very passionate about what he does here at the school.”
Yet many students may not be aware of Drummond’s unique hobby: birds.
Drummond was a member of the Brookline Bird Club from 1971 to 2003. Shortly after joining, Drummond started leading tours, making sure that every birder was satisfied. He became the club’s president in 1987 and only left his position on the board once he was sure the club was in good hands.
“Bill is our most iconic trip leader and has been leading trips longer and more frequently than any other leader,” said new BBC president Glenn D’Entremont in a speech given to honor Drummond and his long standing commitment to the club, “Bill is best known for his Herculean efforts to ensure that everyone ‘get on the bird.’”
Members shared their fondest memories of Drummond on the BBC website, ranging from when Drummond crawled on his hands and knees in the middle of a state road in order to ensure that everyone spotted the bird, to setting up “military missions” for large target areas. He did everything in his power to make sure that everyone got the bird.
Drummond started his bird watching “way back when” in high school. “I did it all,” he explained, eyes bulging from his head in excitement, “I always wanted the rare birds, the rare birds.”
Now, Drummond and his wife travel the country searching for particular birds. They just recently returned from a trip to McAllen, Texas where they found the astonishing rare jacana at Laguna Atascosa, a national wildlife refuge that conducts bird tours and walks.
Drummond and his wife found each other through their mutual love for birds. Years ago, while directing a bird watching tour in Alaska, Drummond met Barbara, who soon became his wife.
From that moment on the two have accompanied each other on the hunt for the rarest of all birds. “We keep going,” said Drummond, and they will keep going until the birds run out.
By Ceara Manship