Better known as the Birdman of Alcatraz, US convicted killer Robert Stroud was also an ornithologist and an author. Starting his career as a pimp in his teens, he killed a man. While in prison for manslaughter, he killed a guard. He spent most of his later life in solitary confinement and studied birds.
American artist and ornithologist John James Audubon is remembered mostly for his illustrations of North American birds. Born as an illegitimate child in France, he later moved to the US and then to Canada, for business, but ended up documenting birds. His best-known work is the pioneering ornithological work The Birds of America.
US ornithologist James Bond is remembered as the author of Birds of the West Indies. British author Ian Fleming, himself a bird enthusiast, borrowed his name to create James Bond, the iconic fictional spy. He was mostly associated with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia’s Drexel University.
Ernst Mayr was a renowned taxonomist, ornithologist, tropical explorer, historian of science, and philosopher of biology. He was also one of the leading evolutionary biologists of the 20th century. His work contributed immensely to the progression of the biological species concept. Ernst Mayr is also credited with originating the modern philosophy of biology, especially the part concerning evolutionary biology.
American marine biologist, ornithologist, and entomologist William Beebe is remembered for his exploratory expeditions conducted for the New York Zoological Society. He also co-discovered the Bathysphere, penned many books, was a renowned lecturer, worked with the New York Zoological Gardens, and led tropical research at the New York Zoological Society.
William Bartram was an American ornithologist, botanist, explorer, and natural historian. He is best remembered for authoring an acclaimed book, which is now known as Bartram's Travels. The book chronicles Bartram's explorations of the British colonies in North America. William Bartram was also one of America's first ornithologists.
US ornithologist, environmentalist, and wildlife artist Roger Tory Peterson was one of the leading figures of the environmental movement of the 20th century. Known for his iconic books such as Wild America and the Peterson Field Guide Series, he received countless honors and awards, too, such as the US Medal of Freedom.
American naturalist, ornithologist, and vertebrate zoologist Spencer Fullerton Baird was an expert on North American birds and mammals. Initially a professor of natural history, he was later associated with the Smithsonian Institution as a curator and assistant secretary. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the US Commission of Fish and Fisheries.
Clinton Hart Merriam was an American mammalogist, zoologist, ornithologist, ecologist, entomologist, geographer, ethnographer, physician, and naturalist. Referred to as the father of mammalogy, Merriam owned a private collection of mammal specimens. Clinton Hart Merriam is also credited with co-founding the National Geographic Society and the American Ornithologists' Union.
Renowned ornithologist Elliott Coues, known for his pathbreaking written works such as Key to North American Birds, had established the American Ornithological Union. He had also previously worked as an army surgeon and later taught anatomy. He was also briefly part of the Theosophical Society, though he later lost interest.
Sidney Dillon Ripley was an American wildlife conservationist and ornithologist. He is best remembered for his association with the Smithsonian Institution, where he served as secretary between 1964 and 1984. He was part of the institute through its period of greatest expansion and growth. Sidney Ripley’s leadership role at the Smithsonian earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985.
Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey was an American birdwatcher, ornithologist, and nature writer. Over the course of her career, Merriam wrote more than 50 articles for journals like The Condor. Among her best known works are Birds Through a Looking-Glass and Birds of New Mexico. Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey was the first woman to be honored with the prestigious Brewster Medal.
Frank Chapman was an American ornithologist and writer of field guides. He is best remembered for his immense contribution to magazines and scientific journals like the National Geographic Magazine. Frank Chapman also wrote numerous ornithological books, such as Birds of Eastern North America, Bird Life, and Life in an Air Castle.
Alexander Wetmore was an American avian paleontologist and ornithologist who served as the Secretary of the popular Smithsonian Institution from 1945 to 1952. He also served as the president of The Explorers Club from 1944 to 1946. Alexander Wetmore is also remembered for his influential 4-volume book, Birds of the Republic of Panama.
Margaret Morse Nice was an American ornithologist, child psychologist, and ethologist. She is best remembered for her extensive study of song sparrow. Nice is credited with writing Studies in the Life History of the Song Sparrow. Over the course of her career, Margaret Morse Nice wrote almost 250 papers on birds. She also wrote several books, including Birds of Oklahoma.
French-American aviculturist and ornithologist Jean Theodore Delacour is remembered for his study of some of the rarest birds in the world. His first aviary, of over 1,000 live birds, was destroyed in World War I, but he built a second one in Normandy. He also penned works such as The Birds of French Indochina.
US author and ornithologist Harriet Mann Miller, also known by her pseudonyms such as Olive Thorne and Olive Thorne Miller, began her career as a children’s author, before switching to making nature sketches. She later also penned a series of bird-oriented books and the Kristy series.
Peter Marler was a British-born American zoosemiotician and ethologist. He is best remembered for his research on the science of bird song and animal sign communication. Peter Marler is also remembered for his association with the University of California, Davis, where he was emeritus professor of physiology, neurobiology, and ethology.
US author and ornithologist Fannie Hardy Eckstorm is remembered for her extensive writings on the folklore and culture of Maine, her native land. She also scripted history as the first female school superintendent in Maine and later penned countless books, such as The Woodpeckers and The Penobscot Man.
US ornithologist and conservationist Richard Pough is known for his best-selling bird guides, written for the National Audubon Society. Apart from being the founder-president of the Nature Conservancy, he also drove socialite Rosalie Edge to launch the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary for birds. He was also associated with the American Museum of Natural History.
Renowned paleobotanist Frank Hall Knowlton is remembered for his pioneering study of fossilized plants and geologic climates. He not just taught botany but had also been associated with the U.S. Geological Survey. His interests also included birds, and he contributed to a volume named Birds of the World.