East coast birdwatchers probably can tell you famed Philadelphians involved in birding. John Cassin, who described 194 new species of birds in his lifetime and has five species of North American birds named in his honor; Titian Ramsay Peale, son of Charles Willson Peale and meticulous illustrator of wildlife whose artworks are as highly sought as those of John James Audubon. Titian’s older and less-well-known half-sister Sophonisba Angusciola (Peale) Sellers, America’s first female ornithologist. And Witmer Stone, who worked for more than 50 years in the Ornithology Department at the Academy of Natural Sciences. But even birdwatchers may not know about the father and son oölogists Joseph Parker Norris Sr. and Jr., who had the largest collection of bird eggs in the United States.
And since the show is called The Birds and the Bees, I’ll talk about Dr. John Lawrence LeConte, who was responsible for naming and describing approximately half of the insect taxa known in the United States during his lifetime, and his younger partner Dr. George Henry Horn. And physician / naturalist and entomologist Thomas Bellerby Wilson, who spent his personal fortune buying collections from around the world for the Academy of Sciences.
Even if you’ve never lusted after a pair of Vortex Diamondback HD binoculars, you’ll enjoy this episode of “All Bones Considered: Laurel Hill Stories – The Birds and the Bees.”