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.
French composer and organist Olivier Messiaen is credited with creating melodically innovative scores, using what he called "modes of limited transposition." An ornithologist, too, he added bird songs into his compositions such as La fauvette des jardins and Catalogue d'oiseaux. His Messiaen: Concert A Quatre won a Grammy.
Nobel Prize-winning Austrian zoologist Konrad Lorenz is remembered as a pioneer of ethology. The son of a surgeon father and a physician mother, Lorenz was a qualified physician himself. A university degree awarded to him was rescinded posthumously due to his association with the Nazi party
Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild was a British soldier, politician, zoologist, and banker. He is best remembered for his service as the president of the largest Jewish communal organization in the UK, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, between 1925 and 1926. Walter Rothschild also made immense contributions to the field of zoology.
Known as the Birdman of India, legendary ornithologist Salim Ali was the first to conduct bird surveys in India. The Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan winner is best remembered for penning the book The Book of Indian Birds, and for setting up the Bharatpur and Ranganathittu bird sanctuaries.
Nikolaas Tinbergen was a Dutch ornithologist and biologist. Counted among the founders of modern ethology, Tinbergen shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973 with Konrad Lorenz and Karl von Frisch for their discoveries concerning the social behavior patterns in animals. He is also credited with authoring an influential book on animal behavior titled The Study of Instinct.
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.
Charles Lucien Bonaparte was a French ornithologist and naturalist. His father Lucien Bonaparte was the brother of Napoleon I, making Charles Lucien Bonaparte the emperor’s nephew. In Luigi Magni's 1990 Italian historical film In the Name of the Sovereign People, Charles was portrayed by Carlo Croccolo.
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.
British-Argentine author, naturalist, and ornithologist William Henry Hudson not just published a number of ornithological studies but also several novels, such as Green Mansions. He criticized Darwinism and was inspired by Samuel Butler’s writings. He was also part of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
Australian-born British explorer and ornithologist Hubert Wilkins is best remembered for pioneering the use of the submarine for polar exploration. While he initially studied photography and engineering, he later embarked on the world’s first transpolar airplane flight across the Arctic and the first over parts of Antarctica.
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.
German naturalist and botanist Lorenz Oken is remembered as one of the most significant German natural philosophers of the 19th century and a leader of the Naturphilosophie movement. His studies on Wolfgang von Goethe’s theory on the vertebrate skull helped prepare ground for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
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.
Giovanni Antonio Scopoli was an Italian naturalist and physician. He published a number of taxonomic works, such as Entomologia Carniolica, which described hundreds of new species. Giovanni Antonio Scopoli also served as a professor at the University of Pavia and the Mining Academy in Schemnitz.
Welsh naturalist Thomas Pennant is remembered for his extensive research on zoology, especially ornithology. Known for his books such as British Zoology and History of Quadrupeds, he traveled to Scotland and remote parts of Britain, writing about his expeditions in his travelogues and treatises.
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.
Ronald Mathias Lockley was a Welsh naturalist and ornithologist. He is credited with writing more than 50 books, which include a detailed study of shearwaters. He is best remembered for his 1964 book The Private Life of the Rabbit, which inspired Richard Adams' 1972 children's book Watership Down. Ronald Mathias Lockley also made immense contributions to magazines like The Countryman.
Environmentalist, ornithologist and internationalist Edward Max Nicholson is most noted as a founder of World Wildlife Fund (presently World Wide Fund for Nature Inc.), world’s largest conservation-organization. Nicholson was also a member of the British policy-think-tank Political and Economic Planning (PEP) that was formed in response to his article A National Plan for Britain published in The Week-End Review magazine.
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.