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Collecting on the Prairie:
Early Oologists in North Dakota


 1 Lloyd F. Kiff, "Report on Egg Collections in North America" (Unpublished 
   paper, May 2, 1977, Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, Los Angeles, 
   California), p. 1.

 2 Bent, Bailey, Job, and Bishop were prominent oologists who collected 
   extensively and published major works in the field of oology. Typically they 
   amassed large collections, which were later housed at prominent museums. For 
   example, Bent's oological collection, now housed at the National Museum, 
   Washington, D.C., contained 30,000 eggs representing 902 species.

 3 For further information on Eastgate and other North Dakota oologists, see 
   Marc J. Bechard and C. Stuart Houston, "North Dakota Oologists," Blue Jay, 
   42-3 (September 1984), pp. 177-183.

 4 Elmer T. Judd, List of North Dakota Birds Found in the Big Coulee, Turtle 
   Mountains and Devils Lake Region, As noted during the years 1890 to 1896 and 
   verified in the subsequent years to date, privately published, 1917, p. 3.

 5 Holton A. Shaw Papers (hereafter HASP), Letter from Alf Eastgate, August 18, 
   1901. State Historical Society of North Dakota Manuscript Collection. Note: 
   Bishop's collection of skins, eggs, nests and sterna of shorebirds numbering 
   53,000 specimens, is now housed in Chicago's Museum of Natural History. A 
   smaller collection of Bishop's was donated to the Peabody Museum at Yale. 
   See Hildegarde Howard, "Louis Bennett Bishop, 1865-1950," Auk (October 1951), 
   pp. 440-446. Included in Bishop's collection were 2,950 bird skins and 3,525 
   eggs taken during his collecting trips in North Dakota during the years 1895, 
   1901, 1902, and 1905. See Louis B. Bishop, Birds of the Turtle Mountain —
   Devils Lake Region of North Dakota (Unpublished Ms., 1946, State Historical 
   Society of North Dakota Manuscript Collection), pp. 1-10.

 6 HASP, Letter from Alf Eastgate, July 12, 1902.

 7 Alfred H. Eastgate, "My Honeymoon," The Museum, 1 (1895), p. 121. 

 8 The hotel was constructed in 1882 along a route that its builders 
   erroneously anticipated a branch line of the Great Northern Railroad. The 
   hotel was not built specifically to accommodate hunters, but it came to 
   serve that purpose. See Anonymous, Wam-Dus-Ky: A Descriptive Record of a 
   Hunting Trip to North Dakota, 1892 (Minneapolis, 1893).

 9 In 1899, for example, Shaw was selling eggs and nests of Baldpates and 
   Lesser Scaups at 17½ and 25 cents each respectively compared to 50 cents 
   per egg and 50 cents per nest of the white-winged scoter — this at a time 
   when the cost of mounting a Golden Eagle was $5.00, a Great Gray Owl $2.50, 
   and a Marsh Hawk $2.00. See HASP, Jean Bell to H.A. Shaw, October 23, 1899; 
   Ernest L. Brown to H.A. Shaw, December 31, 1898; Ernest L. Brown to H.A. 
   Shaw, April 10, 1899; and Ernest L. Brown to H.A. Shaw, September 16, 1899.
10 Decreasing lake levels in subsequent years altered the land area within the 
   reservation, now classified as a National Wildlife Refuge. The 1951 U.S. 
   Geological Survey Topographic maps (Pekin NW Quadrangle) show two islands 
   and two peninsulas as comprising the land area within the refuge. For 
   additional information on the early establishment of national bird 
   reservations see T.S. Palmer. National Reservations for the Protection of 
   Wild Life (Circular No. 87, Bureau of Biological Survey, United States 
   Department of Agriculture, 1912).

11 Shaw's correspondence indicates he was actively and regularly selling and 
   trading eggs, as well as fossils and archeological artifacts, in 1892.

12 Through the use of an egg drill, blow pipe and other tools, eggs were 
   thoroughly cleaned, marked with appropriate data, and other wise readied in 
   preparation for storage or trading.

13 Louis B. Bishop, Birds of the Turtle Mountain-Devils Lake Region of North 
   Dakota (Unpublished Ms., 1946, State Historical Society of North Dakota, 
   Manuscript Collection, Louis B. Bishop Papers), p. 8. In the summer of 1906 
   Eastgate, in the capacity of "taxidermist and general assistant," 
   accompanied H.K. Job, Louis B. Bishop and Jonathan Dwight, Jr. on an 
   ornithological trip at Crane Lake, Saskatchewan. See C. Stuart Houston, 
   "Birds and Birders at Crane Lake, Saskatchewan," Blue Jay, 41(4) (December 
   1983), p. 196.

14 The committee was established in 1883 at the second AOU Congress and was the 
   origin of the Audubon Society. Dr. George Bird Grinnell, one of the 
   committee's most active members, also served as president of the Audubon 
   Society. See Bird Lore, 1:2 (April 1899), p. 61.

15 Louis B. Bishop Papers, State Historical Society of North Dakota Manuscript 
   Collection. Collectors were occasionally arrested. Bishop's field notes for 
   August 1, 1902 state, "Learned fr. letter fr. Bowman that Bryant and Mummery 
   were arrested for collecting on July 29." Bowman was probably Charles W of 
   Devils Lake; Bryant was likely Edwin S., and Mummery was likely W. Mummery. 
   See Bechard and Houston, "North Dakota Oologists."

16 HASP, Alf Eastgate to Shaw, August 18, 1901. In 1901 non-resident hunting 
   licenses were $25.00; resident licenses were seventy-five cents. William 
   Ackerman is listed in the 1900-01 Grand Forks City Directory as Deputy Grand 
   Forks County Auditor and as County Auditor in the 1902-03 directory. County 
   Auditors issued hunting licenses in 1901.
17 Kiff, p. 2.
18 Letter, Lewis F. Crawford to Alf Eastgate, September 3, 1924, State 
   Historical Society of North Dakota, Artifact Accession Numbers, Document 
   Files (1793-1794).

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