JONES, Paul H.

Author Tags: Art

The son of one of India's best-known ornithologists [Alec E. Jones], Paul Harris Jones grew up in India's Himalayas where his artist-naturalist father stimulated his interest in birds and his lifelong penchant for conservation.

While still in his teens, Paul Jones provided illustrations for a book on the birds of Burma. He came to Canada in 1947, met his wife Mavis Cramb, graduated from UBC in Forestry in 1952 and he did a post-graduate degree in Forest Economics at Oxford in 1956. He spent most of his career in the B.C. woods and overseas as an international forestry consultant in Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia and parts of Africa.

Jones has written several forestry papers and published titles from his own Seabird Press imprint. These include From the Coast To Bali and Back; From the Coast to the Himalayas and Back; and Nature's Anniversary (2004), a collection of poetry and nature illustrations that celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary. In 2001 he published The Marbled Murrelets of the Caren Range and Middlepoint Bight [see below]. Paul and Mavis Jones were jointly awarded the Davidson Award for having led the movement to create Spipiyus Provincial Park on the Sunshine Coast. He also received a Lifetime Award in Conservation from the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association. Paul Jones has served as Chair of the Friends of Caren, the group that found the first active Marbled Murrelet nest in Canada as well as Canada's oldest closed canopy forests in the new park on the Caren Range.

Jones' lifelong fascination with birds led him to write a layman's account of his experiences raising and training a saker falcon during the final two years of his five-year stint in Turkey with the Food and Agriculture Organization, ending in 1972. Specifically, he and his wife became foster parents to a falcon they named Shaheen--which they eventually released. Also known as the desert falcon, the dry zone saker falcon, bigger and more powerful than the peregrine, is a close relative of the gyrfalcon of Greenland and the Arctic. Jones' clearly written memoir, simply entitled Shaheen (Hancock 2007), is also the story of Bay, a female saker, that he and his wife raised for less than two months before its death. "Time and patience are the watchwords of falconry," he concludes. "Most people cannot afford the time needed; in my estimate you need to put in twice as much time as required to properly train a dog, three times as much for a cat and up to fifty times more than you might spend on a cage bird."

DATE OF BIRTH: 13 November 1928

PLACE OF BIRTH: Simla, India





Forestry and Conservation


The Marbled Murrelets of the Caren Range and Middlepoint Bight (Western Canada Wilderness Committee, 2001).

Nature's Anniversary: Poems and Drawings (Seabird Press, 2004).

Shaheen (Hancock House, 2007). 978-0-88839-638-9

From the Coast to Turkey and Back: Watercolours and Drawings (Seabird Press 2010)

Early Birds (2013) $25 978-0-9685498-5-8

Grizz & Arabella (Seabird Press 2017) 978-0-9685498-8-9

[BCBW 2017] "Nature"

Marbled Murrelets of the Caren Range and Middlepoint Bight

The marbled murrelet can 'fly' underwater in pursuit offish. It is web-footed, about the same size as a pigeon. It is the only member of the auk species to nest in trees. Because this species breeds in old growth forests, there has been a substantial drop in populations due to logging.

Nine years after Paul Harris Jones and three other naturalists found the first active nest of this small, chubby and threatened seabird in 1990, Victoria was convinced by local activists and environmentalists to create Spipiyus Park, a new Class A Provincial Park on the Sechelt Peninsula.

It was a partial victory to save the bird. In his self-illustrated volume, Marbled Murrelets of the Caren Range and Middlepoint Bight (Western Canada Wilderness Committee $34.95), Jones describes how and why the sanctuary was established in part of the Caren Range, Canada's oldest forest. He remains wary.

After Jones' discovery, forest industry and SFU researchers found "60 or 70" murrelet nests. "The forest industry was hoping like hell they would find a nest in a non-commercial tree or a cliff," he says. "We think a lot of birds have died due to the stress levels the birds suffered when they were tagged. They applied a suture through the skin of the bird's back. They would literally chase them with helicopters."

Jones and his wife Mavis are co-founding members of Friends of Caren. Mavis Cramb Jones has concurrently published Her Festival Clothes (McGill-Queens $16.95), her first book of poetry, in the Hugh Maclennan Poetry Series. Together the Joneses wrote and published an earlier book on the murrelet, in the early 1990s. The murrelets were first noted in print at the time of Cook's last expedition to the Pacific Northwest in 1778. The Joneses first encountered the marbled murrelets in the late 1960s when fishing in a dinghy off Middlepoint Bight where they had a summer home.

"Spipiyus is the name the native people of Sunshine Coast have given to this bird," says Paul Jones. "The Tsimsians used this species as a votive headpiece because it had special significance as a bird which knew the mysteries of the deep and communed with the unseen spirits of the unseen world beneath the sea."

Murrelet 1-1895123-13-5; Clorhe, 0-7735-1909-2

[BCBW Spring 2002]