Florence Merriam in her backyard garden.

Florence Merriam - The First Lady of Ornithology

Florence Merriam - The First Lady of Ornithology

Florence A. Merriam Bailey is considered a pioneer naturalist. She became a preeminent ornithologist as her scientific works chronicled bird distributions, habitat use, and breeding biology, while conducting field trips with her husband, Vernon. By 1899 she had already established herself as a strong voice in ornithology by publishing papers in both Auk and Condor as well as writing much loved and respected book titles for all readers, not just the scientific community.

Florence Merriam camped with her husband in the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico.

She became strongly involved in bird conservation, while campaigning against the millinery industry and their slaughter of untold numbers of birds. She founded a Chapter that would eventually become the National Audubon Society. The Lacey Act, prohibiting trade in illegally acquired wildlife, and the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 inspired the chapter's birth, and the National Audubon Society at its core. Credited with producing the first field guides to birds as well as the book that launched bird watching with binoculars (Birds through The Opera Glass) into the forefront.

Florence A. Merriam Bailey was the first woman member of the American Ornithologists' Union in 1885. First woman elected Fellow of the AOU in 1929. The first woman to receive the Brewster Award in 1932. An honored member of the Cooper Ornithological Society, the Wilson Ornithological Club, the National Audubon Society, and the Biological Society of Washington

Her books were written for scientists and citizens alike.

  1. Birds Through the Opera Glass
  2. A Birding on a Bronco
  3. Birds of the Village and Field: A Bird Book for Beginners
  4. Handbook of Birds of the Western US.
  5. Birds of New Mexico
  6. Among the Birds in the Grand Canyon National Park
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