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Grass Flats: Allegheny River


Ornithology at this time was still in its infancy; in fact, the first systematic list of birds of Pennsylvania was not published until 1845. The earliest information was gained through collecting bird skins, nests, and eggs. Study skins still provide value in research on birds in the field as well as in taxonomic investigations.

When Simpson first began collecting, 1890, Benjamin Warren’s book, a report authorized by the Commonwealth and titled The Birds of Pennsylvania, was just being published. This was the first thorough reference on the state’s birds and it marked a new era in ornithological history. Simpson’s scientific work contributed significantly to the next standard ornithological text, which was produced a half-century later, W.E. Clyde Todd’s Birds of Western Pennsylvania.


Allegheny River, near Morse Run, Warren County, PA, 1898