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Ornithology @ BHL



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The First Singapore Bird Book

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 23 February 2017 · 119 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...


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Coloring Our Collections: The Art of Lithography

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 09 February 2017 · 181 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...


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The Case of the Mistaken Manakin

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 13 October 2016 · 337 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...


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Celebrating the Birds of South America

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 28 July 2016 · 426 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...


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Digging into the personal writings of a 19th century ornithologist

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 01 July 2016 · 413 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...


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Kingfishers and National Bird Day

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 05 January 2016 · 1,194 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...


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Brilliant and Remarkable Birds of Brazil

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 27 August 2015 · 1,180 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...


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I spy something fowl...

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 06 August 2015 · 1,734 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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Biodiversity Heritage Library Helps Unravel the Mysteries of the Paraguayan Fauna

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 03 August 2015 · 1,521 views

Lack of access to published information about biodiversity is one of the major inhibitors to efficient scientific research today. It's such a longstanding problem, in fact, that it has a name. The taxonomic impediment.

For hundreds of years, scientists and naturalists have published information about Earth's species in books and journals. Many of these w...


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The Most Influential Birder Most of Us Have Never Heard Of

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 05 January 2015 · 967 views
Wilson Bulletin and 1 more...
The Most Influential Birder Most of Us Have Never Heard Of This post is a guest contribution from Rick Wright, a writer, lecturer, and professional tour leader.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, an accident of the calendar, which after all leaves us only 365 days to choose from. But this year’s National Bird Day just happens to fall on the 150th anniversary of the birth of a founding figure in North American b...






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