Thursday, February 01, 2007

Harold Mayfield: Amateur Ornithologist Extraordinaire

This obituary pays tribute to the life of the
renowned Harold Mayfield, who died recently at the
age of 95. Mayfield’s influence on me began at an
early age when, as a teenager in Michigan, I eagerly
devoured the pages of his 1960 monograph on the
Kirtland’s Warbler. It’s not too much of an
exaggeration to say that this book helped cement my
interest in birds and my desire to devote my life to
the study of birds.

Though not an ornithologist, or even biologist, by
formal training, Mayfield holds the distinction of
being the only person to have been president of each
of North America’s three major ornithological
organizations: American Ornithologists’ Union, Cooper
Ornithological Society, and Wilson Ornithological
Society.

The life of Harold Mayfield is a shining example of
the kinds of contributions that an amateur can still
make to the field of ornithology.

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