History of the Great Backyard Bird Count

Are you looking for a last minute Valentine’s Day date idea? Why not bird watching? This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count falls on February 15th-18th, perfect timing for a late Valentines Day date! The Great Backyard Bird Count was started in 1998 by the Cornell Ornithology Lab and the National Audubon Society. The count was…

AvIAn collection spotlight: Philip DuMont

The AvIAn project consists of eight collections from the Iowa State Special Collections and University Archives. However, today we are focusing on one collection in particular, the Philip A. DuMont papers. Philip Atkinson DuMont was born on July 9th, 1903 in Rochester, Minnesota. DuMont and his family soon moved to Des Moines where he would…

History of the Christmas Bird Count

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) started on Christmas Day in 1900 as an alternative to hunting during the holiday events. Typically, family and friends would gather for a large Christmas Hunt, bringing in whatever they could as a sort of competition. Frank M. Chapman suggested to his friends that maybe this year, instead of hunting,…

Happy 165th Birthday to Althea Sherman!

Althea Rosina Sherman was born October 10th, 1853 to Mark Bachelor Sherman and Melissa Clark Sherman in Farmersburg Township, Iowa. Althea’s home was built by her father in the middle of the prairie, where she and her four siblings would live for about 20 years until they decided to build a home closer to the up…

Celebrating World Animal Day with the birds of Iowa!

October 4th is World Animal Day, a world wide holiday celebrating our furry and feathered friends from across the globe. Originally founded by Heinrich Zimmermann in 1925 to celebrate and bring awareness to the lives of the animals around us. World Animal Day is always celebrated on October 4th, as it is also the day…

Project Launch: Digital Collection of Agricultural Machinery Product Literature

A new digital collection is in the works: the Agricultural Machinery Product Literature Collection. If agricultural machinery is not of interest to you, why might you want to check out this collection?  Illustrations throughout the collection are often eye-catching (both on the cover and inside the material).  The various design and marketing techniques used provide…

Darwin Core Part 2: Scientific Observation

  Darwin Core  This is Part 2 in my series of posts (Part 1 here) about how we use the metadata standard Darwin Core to describe the Iowa Ornithologists’ Union (IOU) rare bird documentation forms. We discuss how bird observation information in our collection is turned into scientific data These are forms that people submit…