Oology: Examining an Extinct Ornithological Pursuit


Egg collecting was regulated by both state and federal jurisdictions. Reputable collectors were registered and properly permitted and they also documented their collection activities as can be seen on the data cards in images below. (Photo by Floyd Schrock)

Building the BirdFellow community and our online Social Field Guide has involved a series of what we like to call "serendipitous collaborations." We don't know where new resources and support will come from next, but invariably they arrive on our doorstep. In a recent exchange of messages on OBOL (Oregon Birders On Line) I learned of the existence of a significant egg collection that had been amassed by the late father of one of the OBOL community members. He posted a link to a photo gallery that showed sets of eggs along with the meticulous hand-written data cards that documented each clutch of eggs. My first instinct was, "these photos would be a fantastic addition to our Social Field Guide," but then it occurred to me, many in this community might be offended by the activity that yielded this collection. 

Oology– the study/hobby of egg collecting–was once a popular and socially acceptable manifestation of one's interest in birds. It flourished in Great Britain and North America from the 1800's well into the 20th century (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oology). The heyday of this activity predates quality optics, small hand-held cameras, and readily-available field guides. Our birding predecessors, professional and amateur alike, were collectors of birds and their eggs. If you wanted your observations to be recorded and used to expand that era's understanding of bird distribution and life history, you best return from the field with physical evidence. Given the culture of that era, early birders and ornithologists were understandably just as passionate about expanding their collections as present-day birders are about adding new species to their life list. 


This set of Olive-sided Flycatcher eggs was collected by Manassa Schrock on 18 June 1957. The card below includes the pertinent data associated with the collection, including a description of the nest and where it was located. Note the height ("seventy feet") of the nest. Presumably there was some tree-climbing involved on the procurement of these eggs. (Photos by Floyd Schrock)


By the mid-20th century the notion of conserving birds and protecting them from outright slaughter, and even collection, had entered the consciousness of the mainstream. Today, "egging" is a rare and criminal pursuit, frowned upon by the general populace and abhorred by the birding community. Although oology had gone out of fashion by 1960 (it was outlawed in the U.K in 1954), today hundreds of thousands of egg sets continue to reside in British and North American natural history museums (http://www.sbcounty.gov/museum/media/2005/06-04-05a.htm). 

One such collection is that of Manassa Schrock. It is currently housed at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Schrock spent much of his life in western Oregon's Willamette Valley, hence his collection includes egg sets of 77 species common to his home area and the surrounding region. All but eight of the sets were collected by Schrock between 1950 and his death in 1960; the others were presumably received in exchanges with other collectors. Schrock maintained the proper federal and state permits, and his egg collecting was conducted under the guidance of Alex Walker (Floyd Schrock, pers. comm.). Walker was a respected amateur ornithologist and long-time curator of the Tillamook County (Oregon) Pioneer Museum (http://www.oregonmuseums.org/sectionindex.asp?sectionid=74).


Many may look at the label above and wonder what a "Lutescent Warbler" might be. The scientific name informs us that these eggs came from the nest of an Orange-crowned Warbler from the coastal population. Subspecific identifications were much in vogue in the early to mid-20th century. Gabrielson and Jewett's "Birds of Oregon" (published in 1940), which was the authoritative reference for Oregon birds at the time, treated many local forms almost as though they were species. Note that the genus "Vermivora" no longer includes Orange-crowned Warbler, which was  relegated to "Oreothlypis" by the AOU Checklist Committee in 2011. (Photos by Floyd Schrock)


Confident in both the veracity and legitimacy of Manassa Shrock's collection, I asked his son Floyd Schrock, a birder in his own right, if BirdFellow might add the photos of his father's collection to our online resources. He graciously welcomed the opportunity to see his father's collection used in this manner. We are very pleased to be able to make this resource available to the BirdFellow community and give modern-day birders a chance to compare their observations with collections from the past.  In the coming weeks Floyd Schrock's photos of his father's collection will be added to the BirdFellow photo galleries for those species.


This is very cool. Thanks Floyd for making your dad’s collection “public”. He was gone by the time I arrived at the “high school campus” (as noted in the Olive-sided Flycatcher description card), but even then his legacy lived on through your interest in birds, as well as that of Paul Yoder and the other birders that came out of our classes.


There is an important history still waiting to be written, a history of both hobby and scientific egg collecting in America. Pieces like this are a great beginning—thanks.


The “oological” hobby was a very big deal in times Victorian and to about WW II. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (SB, CA) was started by William Leon Dawson as the “Museum of Comparative Oology”, built around his egg collection. They published a journal, “The Journal of the Museum of Comparative Oology” which ran from 1919 to 1923. Dawson collected eggs of Santa Cruz Island Jay for years, trading with other collectors around the world. His four volume “Birds of California” includes numerous tales, and some photographs, of his egg-collecting expeditions. Lots of history there, linking with other ornithologists, collectors, and institutions.


you’re in reality a good webmaster. The website loading velocity is amazing. It kind of feels that you’re doing any distinctive trick. Also, The contents are masterwork. you’ve performed a fantastic activity on this matter! Rub the polish on to the shoes in strokes-spun13 http://forum.sixvirtues.com/topic.php?id=1063659&replies=1#post-1040518


 These images, collected by Google
san francisco 49ers authentic jersey http://www.corydoncinemas.com/css/coltsjerseys.aspx?7


The Archetypes of black women as portrayed in literature and in popular culture can be explored cross-culturally which illuminates the shared experiences of black women in America and within the countries that constitute the African Diaspora.
moncler gillet http://www.conteorengo.it/img/_vti_cnf/monclercoats.aspx?3


Lights: To ensure that the viewers to see plainly the beauty of the models jointly together with the fancy dress they use, you may need an appropriate established of working lights gear. Applying lighting results will likely emphasize the emotion that is certainly becoming portrayed and permit viewers to come to feel it also. Using the combination lighting and audio, your style function could possibly be an exceedingly fascinating.
Sell Bottega Veneta Outlet Store http://deafconnexions.org/page.asp


Hi, now i am glad that we are member right here and i wish i’ll delight in my stay in this article.


Hi, now i am glad that we are member right here and i wish i’ll delight in my stay in this article.


BirdFellow – Birding services, social networking, and habitat conservation
Timberland ci porta indietro ai giorni precedenti http://www.coneroroller.it/img/page.asp?uid=30


http://www.unionsoa.net/public/sale/october-21243watch-sale.htmlウブロ時計 値段
ブルガリ時計 ゴールド http://www.unionsoa.net/public/sale/october-3708watch-sale.html

Post a Comment

Name Valid Error
Email Valid Error