Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Hi. My name is Jennifer W. Hanson. I've been a birder since 1988 and a blogger (on non-bird topics) since 2004. I've written articles for journals such as Birding, New Jersey Birds (formerly Records of New Jersey Birds) and International Wader Studies. I'm currently a member of the New Jersey Bird Records Committee (NJBRC). Much of my birding is confined to New Jersey with occasional forays to neighboring states, but I've also been to Florida and Oregon a few times. In 1999, I spent two and a half wonderful weeks in Finland and Norway, mostly on a birding tour. More recently, I've gotten distracted by dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies and moths, but birds are still an abiding passion of mine. My current life list total, should you care, stands at 515; my last lifer was a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at Gotwals Pond in Oley, Pennsylvania.

The premise for this blog is simple. New Jersey has a birding history that stretches back at least as far as John James Audubon. This history has been relatively well documented by Audubon and his successors in various publications. However, many of these observations languish in obscure journals that today's birders may not know exist, or may not care to seek out. My goal is to take NJ's old (and not-so-old) birding history and turn it into a contemporary calendar. There have been enormous changes in NJ's landscape since the first ornithologists/bird students/bird-watchers/birders began their studies in the Garden State, but shorebird migration is still shorebird migration. Even before the birders arrived, the birds most assuredly were here.

Each day (or so), I'll look at past first state records and other noteworthy occurrences in NJ's birding history. I'll also try to keep tabs on today's sightings, though this blog will never replace the NJBirds listserv for hotline information. Though I'm a member of the NJBRC, this blog is not an official outlet for that organization; anything posted here is my own opinion and all mistakes are my own. This blog will probably evolve over time, but only time will tell what its final shape will be (if "final" is a word that has any relevance as far as blogs are concerned).

The next few days will be oriented toward getting this blog set up and ready to go. The real blogging will begin in September, an eventful month for migration in any year.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy your visit. More to come soon.


Anonymous said...

Thought you might be interested in the following:
1. In 1770-71, Peter Kelm published a work titled "Travels in North America" which included his observations of birds in & around the Delaware Valley. I mentioned his work in a light-hearted article I wrote in the DVOC newsletter, LARUS, titled "Where to Search for an Ivory-billed Woodpecker". (Summer, 2005, Vol. 32, #2) This article can be accessed from the DVOC website at
2. You may also want to obtain a copy of the the DVOC's journal, CASSINIA, Vol. 70 that came out last year. There is an article in it on Edward Harris from Moorestown, NJ and his discovery of the W. Meadowlark on a trip with JJ Audubon. (This journal also contains a look at the "feud" between Audubon & Wilson as well as a brif discussion on Audubon's mystery birds."
3. Last, being published shortly in Vol. 71 of CASSINIA are 2 historic articles you might find interesting. The first is on John Cassin who was the first bird curator at the Academy of Nat. Science in Philly. The second is look at spring migration dates of selct species based on records maintained by Bartram, comparing these dates to records 100 years later by W. Stone & to current dates.
Jeff Holt

Jennifer Hanson said...

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the references; they all sound like great reading. I have a run of old Cassinias, but they stop in the 1950s and I have nothing more recent. Yet.

Thanks for stopping by!