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Ornithology @ BHL


Kingfishers and National Bird Day

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 05 January 2016 · 1,592 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 · 1,375 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 · 2,056 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...


Biodiversity Heritage Library Helps Unravel the Mysteries of the Paraguayan Fauna

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 03 August 2015 · 1,659 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...


The Most Influential Birder Most of Us Have Never Heard Of

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 05 January 2015 · 1,119 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...


Of Birds and Poetry: Alexander Wilson and The Foresters

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 25 November 2014 · 1,017 views

Wilson, Alexander. The Foresters. 1838. http://biodiversityl...ge/42435615.210 years ago, in an autumn not unlike our own today, Alexander Wilson set out with two companions on a 1,300 mile trek, mostly on foot, from Philadelphia to Niagara Falls. Enchanted by the natural beauty of his adopted homeland, Wilson, Scottish by birth,...


Hispanic Heritage Month: The Life and Work of Louis Agassiz Fuertes

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 02 October 2014 · 757 views

Louis Agassiz Fuertes. The Osprey. v. 1 (1896-97). http://biodiversityl...age/8767127 The artwork of Puerto Rican-American Louis Agassiz Fuertes has been featured a few times before on the BHL blog. His paintings are beautiful and eye-catching, and always a treat to visit. Through titles available in BHL, we can even see the evolut...


Visitors from Paradise: The Paradiseidae

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 25 September 2014 · 836 views

Deep within the rainforest canopy of the Aru Islands, just west of New Guinea, two male Greater Birds-of-Paradise dance among the branches in carefully coordinated steps, their magnificent yellow, white, and maroon plumage undulating gracefully to the rhythm of their own unique song.

Carl Linnaeus named this species Paradisae...


A Bookplate for the Birds

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 20 June 2013 · 1,108 views

Swann, H. Kirke, 1871-1926. A Synopsis of the Accipitres (Diurnal Birds of Prey), Comprising Species and Subspecies Described up to 1920, with their Characters and Distribution. 2nd edition, revised and corrected throughout. London: Privately Printed for the Author, 1921-1922. 

This post originally published on the Smithsonian Collections blog,...


New Grant Helps The Field Museum Digitize Rare and Interesting Books!

  Posted by Chris Merkord , 30 April 2013 · 49,190 views

Title Page Image, v. 3, Onze vogels in huis en tuinOne of the BHL partner institutions, The Field Museum Library, was recently awarded a small grant from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) to contribute titles to the growing BHL corpus. The proposal entitled "Empowering Biodiversity Research," allowed The...