Richard Pough, 99, author of the National Audubon Society's popular bird guides and a tireless advocate for conservation, died Tuesday at his home on Martha's Vineyard of complications from brain cancer.
Mr. Pough's training was in chemical engineering, but his lifelong passion was the outdoors. After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1926, he volunteered for the night shift at his job at a Texas sulfur processing plant so he could watch Gulf Coast bird migrations by day.
One of his first battles came on Hawk Mountain, Pa., where hunters in the 1930s were slaughtering the hawk population as vermin. Mr. Pough persuaded a New York socialite to raise money to buy the mountain, which became the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.
From 1938 to 1948, he worked for the National Audubon Society, where he began the first of three bird guides that sold more than a million copies.
He penned a 1945 New Yorker article that warned about devastation from the pesticide DDT years before Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring brought it to national attention.