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Ornithology @ BHL


Notes from William Brewster: The Evolving Field of Zoology

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 06 April 2017 · 116 views

By Elizabeth Meyer 

Project Assistant, Ernst Mayr Library of Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology 

As a part of the Field Notes Project, the Ernst Mayr Library is digitizing the journals, correspondences and photographs of William Brewster (1851-1919), a self-trained ornithologist and specimen curator a...


We All Remember the Hessian Mercenaries....

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 31 March 2017 · 133 views

By Rick Wright 

Writer, lecturer, and professional tour leader.

BHL Guest Blogger.

The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777. By John Trumbull. Depicting the death of the American General Hugh Mercer at the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777 during the American Revolutionary War. So...


The First Singapore Bird Book

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 23 February 2017 · 188 views

By Ong Eng Chuan

Senior Librarian

National Library, National Library Board, Singapore

Despite its relatively small size and urbanized environment, Singapore has a rich avifauna which has attracted interest since the 19th century. However, it was only in 1927 that the first book on the birds of Singapore was printed - Th...


Coloring Our Collections: The Art of Lithography

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 09 February 2017 · 235 views

This year for Color Our Collections, we've produced a coloring book with illustrations from books that represent the evolution of the art of printing. This week on our blog, we'll explore the books featured in the coloring book and the printing techniques used for the illustrations.

You can download our 2017 Color Our...


The Case of the Mistaken Manakin

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 13 October 2016 · 394 views

Since the end of the twentieth century, the genus name Dixiphia has been associated with the white-crowned manakin. A recent investigation, made possible in part thanks to BHL, demonstrated that Dixiphia did not refer to a manakin at all, but was in fact a junior synonym of the white-headed marsh tyrant (genus Arundinicola).

The whi...


Celebrating the Birds of South America

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 28 July 2016 · 462 views

By Gretchen Rings 

Reference & Interlibrary Loan Librarian 

Gantz Family Collections Center, Science & Education 

The Field Museum

Plate 31: Le Cotinga pacapaca, male. Le Vaillant, François. Histoire naturelle d'une partie d'oiseaux nouveaux et rares de l'Amerique et des Indes. 1801. Di...


Digging into the personal writings of a 19th century ornithologist

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 01 July 2016 · 449 views

Tuesday, June 12, 1866 

A.M. pleasant P.M. cloudy. Studied part of P.M. Went to circus in evening & saw a hippopotamus for the first time. Got four warbling vireos before breakfast. The algebra is now rather hard. 

(Diaries of William Brewster). 

William Brewster. The Auk. v. 37 (1920). Digitized by Sm...


Kingfishers and National Bird Day

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 05 January 2016 · 1,215 views

Today is National Bird Day, a day to celebrate and raise awareness about birds.

We're celebrating by highlighting one of the rare ornithology titles in the BHL collection: A monograph of the Alcedinidae : or, family of kingfishers (1868-71) by Richard Bowdler Sharpe. The work contains 120 hand-colored lithographed plates by and afte...


Brilliant and Remarkable Birds of Brazil

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 27 August 2015 · 1,206 views

One of the joyous things about being a Librarian caring for special and rare collections is that you frequently find something remarkable and new to you in those collections. Add on the role of BHL staffer and this multiplies through digitization requests posted by users of BHL.

Approximately five years ago a request was posted for...


I spy something fowl...

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 06 August 2015 · 1,762 views

Connecting Field Book Observations to Scientific Illustrations

Field books are important primary source materials for biodiversity research. Their pages are the first to document the thoughts, observations, musings, and raw data generated or gathered by a scientist while in the field. They are the foundation upon which published natural hi...

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