Our History

The Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club—founded in 1959 and based in Orange County, New York—takes its name from ornithologist and naturalist Edgar A. Mearns, who was born in Highland Falls in 1856. Mearns’s fascination with nature began at an early age, and he published his first paper, “The Capture of several Rare Birds near West Point, N.Y.,” when he was only 22. He continued his work as a naturalist during his long career as an Army surgeon, collecting specimens and making observations wherever the Army posted him; and he maintained extensive records of the flora and fauna of our area. His A List of the Birds of the Hudson Highlands, with Annotations was published in 1878. Mearns was a founding member of the American Ornithologists’ Union. At the time of his death, in 1916, it was estimated that he had collected or contributed more than a tenth of the total number of bird specimens in the U.S. National Museum (now part of the Smithsonian).

Edgar A. Mearns. Source: Smithsonian Institution.