historical photo of a group of ornithologists

People who study birds have made fundamental contributions to our understanding of almost every biological phenomenon, as well as contributing to our basic knowledge of the biology of hundreds of bird species.

On this page we provide links to a wide variety of information about many of these women and men who have studied birds, from personal autobiographies and learned biographies to memorial tributes and, occasionally, stories of adventure in field and laboratory.

A few prominent ornithologists have been the subject of books chronicling their lives and work, mainly by biographers but sometimes by the ornithologists themselves. These are listed here in alphabetical order by the last name of the ornithologist rather than the book’s author.

Regional

Nowak E (2005). Wissenschaftler in turbulenten Zeiten. Erinnerungen an Ornithologen, Naturschützer und andere Naturkundler. Stock und Stein: Schwerin. Personal memories and biographical details of around fifty mid–20th century European ornithologists active during the Second World War and the subsequent twenty–five years.

Neumann J, et al. (2010). Lebensbilder sächsischer Ornithologen. Mitt. Ver. Sächs. Ornithol. [Mitteilungen des Vereins Sächsischer Ornithologen] 10, Sonderheft 3. Hohenstein–Ernstthal.] Detailed biographies of all known ornithologists in Saxony, Germany.

Charles Darwin

Beer GD (1974) Charles Darwin; Thomas Henry Huxley: autobiographies. Oxford University Press, London.

Browne J (1995) Charles Darwin, Voyaging. Pimlico, London.

Peter and Rosemary Grant

Weiner J (1994) The Beak of the Finch. Alfred Knopf, New York.

David Lack

Anderson T (2013) The Life of David Lack: Father of Evolutionary Ecology. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Konrad Lorenz

Greenstein E (2010) The Goose Man: The Story of Konrad Lorenz. Clarion Books

Nisbett A (1997) Konrad Lorenz. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Burkhardt R (2005) Patterns of Behavior: Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and the Founding of Ethology. University Of Chicago Press, Chicago

Ernst Mayr

Haffer J (1997) “We Must Lead the Way on New Paths”: The Work and Correspondence of Hartert, Stresemann and Ernst Mayr–International Ornithologists. Ludwigsburg, Germany: Jochen Hölzinger.

Haffer J (2008) Ornithology, Evolution, and Philosophy: The Life and Science of Ernst Mayr, 1904-2005. Springer-Verlag, Berlin

Margaret Morse Nice

Nice MM (1979) Research is a Passion With Me. Consolidated Amethyst Publications, Toronto.

Richard Meinertzhagen

Garfield B (2007) The Meinertzhagen Mystery: The Life and Legend of a Colossal Fraud. Potomac Books Inc, Washington, DC.

Roger Tory Peterson

Carlson D (2012) Roger Tory Peterson: A Biography. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX.

Rosenthal E (2010) Birdwatcher: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson. Lyons Press, Guilford, CT.

Niko Tinbergen

Kruuk H (2003) Niko’s Nature: The Life of Niko Tinbergen and His Science of Animal Behaviour. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Burkhardt R (2005) Patterns of Behavior: Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and the Founding of Ethology. University Of Chicago Press

David Wingate

Gehrman E (2012) Rare Birds: The Extraordinary Tale of the Bermuda Petrel and the Man Who Brought It Back from Extinction. Beacon Press, Boston, MA.

    From the field

    Another way I participate in outreach is writing newspaper articles to promote public awareness on biodiversity conservation and environmental sustainability. I was excited to receive the 2019 Eco-Challenge Award for this work! Thank you for following along this week with my takeover of the AOS Instagram account.  #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #stemeducation #scicomm
.
[Thanks, Adrianne! If YOU are an AOS member and would like to be featured here for a week, please get in touch.]I collaborate with the Puerto Rican Ornithological Society (SOPI in Spanish) on their education projects, such as giving talks at bird festivals and organizing bird identification workshops. SOPI members will be organizing birding tours for participants of #NAOC2020 in San Juan this summer! #birds #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #stemeducation  #puertorico
.
[Our thanks to AOS member Adrianne Tossas, a Puerto Rican ornithologist helping plan this summer's #NAOC2020, who's taking over this account for the week!]With support of BirdsCaribbean and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I published a bird book for children. I really enjoy giving presentations to students in schools, clubs, and camps. It is a great experience to share the knowledge with young audiences! #birds #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #caribbean
.
[Our thanks to AOS member Adrianne Tossas, a Puerto Rican ornithologist helping plan this summer's #NAOC2020, who's taking over this account for the week!]Last year we celebrated the biannual conference of BirdsCaribbean in the French island of Guadeloupe. Delegates from 34 countries participated in a week of presentations, birding, and networking. These meetings are always a lot of fun! #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #caribbean
.
[Our thanks to AOS member Adrianne Tossas, a Puerto Rican ornithologist helping plan this summer's #NAOC2020, who's taking over this account for the week!]I have been a member of BirdsCaribbean since 1999, when I was a graduate student. As part of this society I have had a chance to meet and work with colleagues from different countries throughout the region. Here I am having good times with Caribbean friends in Cuba in 2017! #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #caribbean
.
[Our thanks to AOS member Adrianne Tossas, a Puerto Rican ornithologist helping plan this summer's #NAOC2020, who's taking over this account for the week!]In 2017, my students and I initiated waterbird surveys in a small lagoon that lies within a Puerto Rican dairy farm. Interestingly, we have found 33 species, including migratory ducks, shorebirds and a single individual of Caribbean Flamingo. The birds are used to cows getting in the water to freshen up!  #birds #wildlife #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #puertorico
.
[Our thanks to AOS member Adrianne Tossas, a Puerto Rican ornithologist helping plan this summer's #NAOC2020, who's taking over this account for the week!]My undergraduate research group monitors seabirds in the northwestern part of the island. We focus on the White-tailed Tropicbird, which can only be seen near land when individuals come to nest in cliffs from January to June. This part of the island was designated as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. The natural beauty of the site is impressive! Video by Raymond Infante. #birds #wildlife #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #puertorico
.
[Our thanks to AOS member Adrianne Tossas, a Puerto Rican ornithologist helping plan this summer's #NAOC2020, who's taking over this account for the week!]
    Follow us on Instagram