Who Was Frank M. Chapman?

Born on June 12, 1864, Frank M. Chapman was an American ornithologist who studied North and South American birds. He wrote the Handbook of Birds in Eastern North America in 1895. Frank M. Chapman also founded a magazine called Bird-Lore in 1899 (which later was renamed Audubon).

Frank M. Chapman also wrote The Distribution of Bird-Life in Colombia, The Distribution of Birds of the Urubamba Valley, Peru, and The Distribution of Bird-Life in Ecuador.

The coolest thing that Frank Chapman accomplished was to create the ever-growing Christmas Bird Count.

Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the then budding Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition-a “Christmas Bird Census”-that would count birds in the holidays rather than hunt them. So began the Christmas Bird Count. Thanks to the inspiration of Frank M. Chapman and the enthusiasm of twenty-seven dedicated birders, twenty-five Christmas Bird Counts were held that day. The locations ranged from Toronto, Ontario to Pacific Grove, California with most counts in or near the population centers of northeastern North America. Those original 27 Christmas Bird Counters tallied a total of 90 species on all the counts combined. —Audubon

2 thoughts on “Who Was Frank M. Chapman?

  1. Thanks, we are learning more and more how many good ornithologists there are (and were) out there. We hope to draw inspiration from past bird-lovers and continue to learn from them in the future. In the form of a Happy Birthday we can give a quick thanks to the great ornithologists of the past.

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