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Special Collections: Guide to the Maine Field Naturalist Bird Sighting Files

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves
Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department
September 2004
 
Introduction and Summary Information
 
Collection Title: Maine Field Naturalist Bird Sightings Files.
Dates of the Collection: 1952-1972 (inclusive); 1956-1969 (bulk).
Provenance: The bird sightings files came to the Special Collections Department as a gift.
Collection Number: MS 315.
Box Numbers: 1-51 (formerly Boxes 2394-2402).
Size and Arrangement: The collection consists of 51 archival card file boxes of material (6.8 cubic feet).
Conservation Note: The collection has been re-housed in acid-free boxes.
Preferred Citation: Maine Field Naturalist Bird Sightings Files, Special Collections, Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine.
Restrictions on Access and Use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.
 

History
 
The collection contains report slips for bird sightings used in a collaborative project of the Portland Society of Natural History and the Maine Audubon Society. Under the guidance of Christopher M. Packard, curator of the Portland Society, project members, both observers and “feeding station operators,” recorded bird and other natural history observations from around the state of Maine. In summarizing what should be reported, Packard advised his observers to “report what impresses you, do not worry about what others may or may not be reporting, what may or may not be published. If you do this the records you submit are going to be of real value.” The cards were returned to the Natural History Museum each month and subsequently published as a monthly compilation of bird records in the Maine Field Observer and the Maine Field Naturalist.
 
This project followed an earlier effort of long-time Natural History Society curator Arthur H. Norton. He had used a similar card system of reporting, and the forty years of data from those files formed the basis for Ralph S. Palmer’s book Maine Birds, published in 1949. The Society aimed to continue this card reporting system in order to preserve data in a way that could be studied and analyzed to give an overall picture of bird distribution and habits over a long period of time.
 
The project took place during a time of change for both organizations. The two societies had merged operations in 1961 while maintaining separate corporate identities and separate buildings. However by 1972, the Portland Society’s building had been demolished, its collections disbursed, and it formally merged with and took the name of the Maine Audubon Society.
 
 
Scope and Content Note
 
The collection contains 51 card boxes of field reports of bird sightings in Maine from the early 1950’s through the early 1970’s. The cards are arranged in the order that birds are listed in the Check-List of North American Birds prepared by the Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of the American Ornithologists’ Union. Each cards lists the bird species, the number of birds observed, the name of the observer or reporter, and the town, county and date of observation.
 
 
 
 

Box List
 
Box 1
 
Cards for loons
 
Common loon, 1952-1971
Red-throated loon, 1953-1970
 
Cards for grebes
 
Red-necked grebe, 1959-1966
Horned grebe, 1959-1970
Pied-billed grebe, 1958-1971
 
Box 2
 
Cards for shearwaters and petrels
 
Greater shearwater, 1956-1969
Sooty shearwater, 1959-1969
Fulmar, 1953-1967
Manx shearwater, 1964
Leach’s petrel, 1956-1969
Petrels, 1966-1968
Wilson’s petrel, 1956-1968
 
Cards for gannets
 
Gannet, 1956-1969
 
Cards for cormorants
 
Great cormorant, 1952-1970
Double-crested cormorant, 1961-1971
European cormorant, 1962-1969
 
Cards for herons
 
Great blue heron, 1955-1972
 
Box 3
 
Green heron, 1958-1972
Common egret, 1956-1968
Snowy egret, 1957-1971
Box 3 cont.
 
Cards for herons cont.
 
Black-crowned night heron, 1958-1969
American bittern [common], 1956-1970
 
Cards for ibises
 
Glossy ibis, 1958-1972
White ibis, 1968
 
Cards for geese
 
Anseriformes: references to articles about
Trumpeter swan: references to articles about
Canada goose, 1959-1972
 
Box 4
 
Brant, 1956-1971
Snow goose, 1960-1969
Greater snow goose, 1956-1962
Lesser snow goose, 1897-1940
 
Cards for ducks
 
Ducks: references to articles about
Mallard, 1953-1971
Black duck, 1956-1972
 
Box 5
 
Pintail, 1959-1970
Green-winged teal, 1961-1970
Blue-winged teal, 1961-1970
Wood duck, 1960-1969
Red head: references to articles about
American widgeon (baldpate), 1957-1969
Shoveler, 1956-1968
Ring-necked duck, 1956-1971
Canvasback, 1965-1968
Greater scaup, 1957-1970
Lesser scaup, 1958-1971
Common goldeneye, 1962-1972
 
Box 6
 
Common goldeneye, 1956-1962
Barrow’s goldeneye, 1957-1970
Bufflehead, 1952-1972
Old squaw, 1956-1970
Harlequin duck, 1957-1969
Common eider, 1956-1971
 
Box 7
 
King eider, 1960-1968
White-winged scoter, 1957-1972
Surf scoter, 1957-1971
Common scoter, 1957-1970
Black scoter, 1963-1968
Ruddy duck, 1956-1969
Hooded merganser, 1956-1972
Common merganser, 1956-1972
 
Box 8
 
Red-breasted merganser, 1957-1972
 
Cards for hawks
 
Falconiformes, references to articles about
Black vulture, 1962, 1966
Goshawk, 1956-1970
Sharp-shinned hawk, 1956-1970
Cooper’s hawk, 1957-1968
Red-tailed hawk, 1957-1970
Red-shouldered hawk, 1957-1969
Broad-winged hawk, 1956-1970
 
Box 9
 
Rough-legged hawk, 1951-1970
Marsh hawk, 1956-1970
Pigeon hawk, 1956-1970
Sparrow hawk, 1958-1970
 
Cards for grouse
 
Spruce grouse, 1957-1969
Ruffed grouse, 1967-1972
Box 10
 
Ruffed grouse, 1956-1967
Bob-white, 1956-1969
Ring-necked pheasant, 1956-1968
Wild turkey, 1967
 
Cards for rails and coots
 
Virginia rail, 1957-1969
Sora, 1955-1970
Yellow rail, 1967
Common gallinule, 1957-1969
American coot, 1956-1969
 
Shorebirds, references to articles about
 
Cards for plovers
 
Semipalmated plover, 1956-1970
Piping plover, 1957-1969
Killdeer, 1958-1971
 
Box 11
 
Killdeer, 1958-1960
Golden plover, 1956-1970
Black-bellied plover, 1956-1969
 
Cards for sandpipers
 
Ruddy turnstone, 1960-1970
Horned lark, 1972
Woodcock, 1956-1971
Wilson’s snipe, 1960-1971
Whimbrel, 1959-1969
Upland plover, 1957-1969
Spotted sandpiper, 1961-1971
 
Box 12
 
Solitary sandpiper, 1957-1969
Willet, 1958-1969
Greater yellowlegs, 1958-1970
Lesser yellowlegs, 1957-1969
Knot, 1957-1970
Box 12 cont.
 
Purple sandpiper, 1955-1970
Pectoral sandpiper, 1956-1969
White-rumped sandpiper, 1956-1971
Least sandpiper, 1956-1970
Dunlin, red-backed sandpiper, 1955-1969
Dowitcher, 1956-1970
Short-billed dowitcher, 1961-1969
Stilt sandpiper, 1958-1969
Semipalmated sandpiper, 1956-1970
 
Box 13
 
Hudsonian godwit, 1957-1970
Sanderling, 1959-1969
 
Cards for phalaropes
 
Phalarope, 1957-1971
Red phalarope, 1960-1969
Northern phalarope, 1956-1969
 
Cards for jaegers
 
Skua, 1962, 1967
Pomarine jaeger, 1957-1968
Parasitic jaeger, 1960-1968
 
Cards for gulls
 
Gulls, references to articles about
Glaucous gull, 1956-1970
Iceland gull, 1955-1970
Great black-backed gull, 1956-1972
Herring gull, 1956-1971
Ring-billed gull, 1955-1969
European black-headed gull, 1957-1969
Bonaparte’s gull, 1956-1971
 
Box 14
 
Little gull, 1960-1967
Black-legged kittiwake, 1961-1968

Box 14 cont.
 
Cards for terns
 
Terns, references to articles about
Common tern, 1956-1971
Arctic tern, 1957-1971
Roseate tern, 1957-1971
Least tern, 1959-1970
Black tern, 1956-1969
 
Cards for alcids
 
Alcids, references to articles about
Razor-billed auk, 1957-1970
Common murre, 1960-1970
Black-billed murre, 1968-1970
Dovekie, 1957-1970
Black guillemot, 1952-1969
Common puffin, 1949-1970
 
Cards for doves
 
Rock dove (pigeons), 1959-1968
Mourning dove, 1960-1972
 
Box 15
 
Mourning dove, 1958-1960
Passenger pigeon, references to articles about
 
Cards for cuckoos
 
Yellow-billed cuckoo, 1956-1968
Black-billed cuckoo, 1958-1969
 
Cards for owls
 
Owls, references to articles about
Great horned owl, 1956-1969
Snowy owl, 1956-1970
Barred owl, 1953-1969
Saw-whet owl, 1959-1970
 
 
 
Box 15 cont.
 
Cards for goatsuckers
 
Whip-poor-will, 1956-1970
 
Box 16
 
Nighthawk, 1956-1971
 
Cards for swifts
 
Chimney swift, 1956-1970
 
Cards for hummingbirds
 
Ruby-throated hummingbird, 1956-1971
 
Cards for kingfishers
 
Belted kingfisher, 1962-1972
 
Box 17
 
Belted kingfisher, 1956-1960
 
Cards for woodpeckers
 
Yellow-shafted flicker, 1956-1972
Pileated woodpecker, 1958-1971
Red-headed woodpecker, 1955-1969
Yellow-bellied sapsucker, 1966-1971
 
Box 18
 
Yellow-bellied sapsucker, 1955-1966
Hairy woodpecker, 1956-1972
Downy woodpecker, 1965-1970
 
Box 19
 
Downy woodpecker, 1956-1965
Black-backed three-toed woodpecker, 1956-1971
Northern three-toed woodpecker, 1956-1960
 
 
 
Box 19 cont.
 
Cards for flycatchers
 
Eastern kingbird, 1955-1971
Western kingbird, 1959-1972
Great crested flycatcher, 1956-1970
Eastern phoebe, 1960-1971
 
Box 20
 
Eastern phoebe, 1956-1961
Yellow-bellied flycatcher, 1957-1970
Traill’s flycatcher, 1956-1971
Least flycatcher, 1956-1971
Eastern wood peewee, 1958-1970
Olive-sided flycatcher, 1956-1970
 
Cards for larks
 
Horned lark, 1956-1970
Northern horned lark, 1963-1970
Prairie horned lark, 1956-1969
 
Cards for swallows
 
Tree swallow, 1962-1972
 
Box 21
 
Tree swallow, 1956-1962
Bank swallow, 1956-1969
Rough-winged swallow, 1956-1969
Barn swallow, 1955-1969
Cliff swallow, 1956-1971
Purple martin, 1957-1972
 
Cards for jays
 
Gray jay, 1962-1972
 
 
 
 
 
Box 22
 
Blue jay, 1955-1971
 
Cards for crows
 
Common raven, 1952-1972
 
Box 23
 
Common crow, 1956-1969
 
Cards for chickadees
 
Black-capped chickadee, 1958-1971
 
Box 24
 
Black-capped chickadee, 1956-1960
Boreal chickadee, 1960-1969
Tufted titmouse, 1961-1968
 
Cards for nuthatches
 
White-breasted nuthatch, 1956-1971
 
Box 25
 
White-breasted nuthatch, 1957-1961
Red-breasted nuthatch, 1956-1971
 
Cards for creepers
 
Brown creeper, 1956-1972
 
Box 26
 
Cards for wrens
 
House wren, 1956-1972
Winter wren, 1956-1971
 
Cards for mimics
 
Mockingbird, 1952-1970
Catbird, 1952-1972
Box 26 cont.
 
Brown thrasher, 1967-1970
 
Box 27
 
Brown thrasher, 1952-1967
 
Cards for thrushs
 
Robin, 1957-1970
 
Box 28
 
Robin, 1952-1957
Wood thrush, 1956-1971
Hermit thrush, 1956-1972
Swainson’s thrush, 1956-1972
Gray-cheeked thrush, 1959-1969
Bicknell’s thrush, 1966
Veery, 1947-1971
 
Box 29
 
Eastern bluebird, 1956-1971
 
Cards for kinglets
 
Blue-gray knatcatcher, 1956-1969
Golden-crowned kinglet, 1957-1971
Ruby-crowned kinglet, 1965-1971
 
Box 30
 
Ruby-crowned kinglet, 1956-1965
Water pipit, 1956-1969
 
Cards for waxwings
 
Bohemian waxwing, 1956-1972
Cedar waxwing, 1955-1971
 
Cards for shrikes
 
Northern shrike, 1956-1969
 
Box 31
 
Cards for starlings
 
Starling, 1952-1971
 
Cards for vireos
 
Solitary vireo, 1958-1968
Red-eyed vireo, 1956-1971
Philadelphia vireo, 1959-1969
Warbling vireo, 1959-1971
 
Cards for warblers
 
Black and white warbler, 1957-1970
 
Box 32
 
Black and white warbler, 1957-1961
Tennessee warbler, 1956-1971
Nashville warbler, 1953-1969
Parula warbler, 1956-1971
Yellow warbler, 1956-1971
Magnolia warbler, 1956-1971
Cape May warbler, 1957-1969
 
Box 33
 
Black-throated blue warbler, 1956-1969
Myrtle warbler, 1955-1972
Black-throated green warbler, 1958-1971
Blackburnian warbler, 1956-1971
 
Box 34
 
Chestnut-sided warbler, 1956-1971
Bay-breasted warbler, 1956-1969
Blackpoll warbler, 1955-1971
Pine warbler, 1956-1971
Prairie warbler, 1958-1969
Palm warbler, 1956-1971
Western palm warbler, 1962-1965
Ovenbird, 1956-1971
Thrasher, 1972
Northern waterthrush, 1956-1970
Box 34 cont.
 
Connecticut warbler, 1959-1968
Mourning warbler, 1956-1969
 
Box 35
 
Yellowthroat, 1956-1971
Yellow-breasted chat, 1952-1969
Wilson’s warbler, 1958-1969
Canada warbler, 1956-1971
American redstart, 1956-1971
 
Cards for weaver finches
 
House sparrow, 1956-1969
 
Box 36
 
Cards for blackbirds
 
Bobolink, 1956-1971
Eastern meadowlark, 1956-1972
Red-winged blackbird, 1956-1971
 
Box 37
 
Baltimore oriole, 1956-1971
Rusty blackbird, 1959-1971
Common grackle, 1956-1971
 
Box 38
 
Brown-headed cowbird, 1965-1971
 
Cards for tanagers
 
Scarlet tanager, 1956-1972
 
Cards for finches
 
Cardinal, 1956-1970
Red-breasted grosbeak, 1956-1971
 
 
 
Box 39
 
Indigo bunting, 1956-1970
Dickcissel, 1956-1969
Evening grosbeak, 1957-1970
 
Box 40
 
Evening grosbeak, 1958-1969
Purple finch, 1961-1968
 
Box 41
 
Purple finch, 1957-1961
House finch, 1966, 1968
Pine grosbeak, 1959-1972
Common redpoll, 1956-1972
 
Box 42
 
Pine siskin, 1955-1972
American goldfinch, 1958-1972
 
Box 43
 
Red crossbill, 1957-1970
White-winged crossbill, 1957-1971
Rufous-sided towhee, 1960-1971
Eastern towhee, 1969, 1971
Green-tailed towhee, 1955
 
Cards for sparrows
 
House sparrow, 1971
Ipswich sparrow, 1961
Savannah sparrow, 1956-1971
Sharp-tailed sparrow, 1957-1969
Vesper sparrow, 1956-1972
 
Box 44
 
Slate-colored junco, 1956-1971
 
Box 45
 
Field sparrow, 1956-1970
White-crowned sparrow, 1956-1972
White-throated sparrow, 1956-1972
 
Box 46
 
Tree sparrow, 1956-1971
Chipping sparrow, 1956-1970
 
Box 47
 
Fox sparrow, 1956-1972
Lincoln’s sparrow, 1956-1967
Swamp sparrow, 1956-1968
Song sparrow, 1957-1971
 
Box 48
 
Song sparrow, 1957-1961
Snow bunting, 1955-1972
 
Box 49-51
 
Miscellaneous: other natural history observations, unfiled bird reports, etc.

Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at spc@umit.maine.edu or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: spc@umit.maine.edu | Revised: 01/10/2014
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