Gary Burghoff: The Bird Man of Malibu

The M*A*S*H star loved all and served all.

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Gary Burghoff was a lot more than just M*A*S*H's Radar O'Reilly. He was a painter, a musician, a father, a husband, and a philanthropist. That's not to mention the countless other roles he's played on stage and screen. 

But did you know that Burghoff was a passionate ornithologist? The guy really liked birds!

His enthusiasm extended past mere bird watching, though. Burghoff was a noted protector of his feathered friends and did a lot to conserve and educate the world about birds.

In a 1975 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Burghoff outlined just a few of the things he did that were... for the birds. 

"I was always very concerned about saving birds; I still am. For example, for every hundred birds we save each year, 300 offspring will be produced when these birds mate. If only 10 people did that, think how many birds we could save!"

For the former Company Clerk of the 4077th, saving the birds was more than just a gesture. Burghoff wasn't merely cutting checks and calling it a day. He regularly took action.

"[A] quail crashed into my picture window because it couldn't see the glass. I ran outside and started pushing on its chest like crazy, trying to revive it by artificial respiration, but after 20 minutes, it died."

Where some conservationists may have stopped there, Burghoff ensured the bird's life was not wasted. His efforts to honor the bird reached his own dinner plate.

"Well, I took the bird into the house, put it in hot water, plucked off the feathers, and placed it in the oven. Whenever I tell this story, so-called conservationists are horrified! They think I'm the biggest hypocrite around, but that's what the whole movement is about!"

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4 Comments

tvsang 5 months ago
You do realize that Burghoff is still alive? You may want to check the past tense nature of your write-up.
Coldnorth 5 months ago
A real hunter does the same, eat what they kill. Giving the bird CPR then eating it, is selfish when you think about it. That dead bird could fed a wild creature that went hungry that night because of that. It’s referred to as the food chain.
FastFreak89 Coldnorth 5 months ago
Humans are part of nature. Right at the top of the food chain. Quail is delicious as well.
Coldnorth FastFreak89 5 months ago
I’ve never had quail. Not much for wild meat. It’s the gamey taste. Each to their own tastebubs
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