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Maine Field Naturalist Bird Sightings Files

Identifier: SpC MS 0315

Scope and Contents

The collection contains 51 card boxes of field reports of bird sightings in Maine from the early 1950s through the early 1970s. The cards are arranged in the order that birds are listed in the Check-List of North American Birds prepared by the Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of the American Ornithologists' Union. Each card lists the bird species, the number of birds observed, the name of the observer or reporter, and the town, county and date of observation.


  • Creation: 1952-1972
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1956-1969


Restrictions on Access

Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Information on literary rights available in the repository.

Historical Note

The collection contains report slips for bird sightings used in a collaborative project of the Portland Society of Natural History and the Maine Audubon Society. Under the guidance of Christopher M. Packard, curator of the Portland Society, project members, both observers and "feeding station operators" recorded bird and other natural history observations from around the state of Maine. The cards were returned to the Natural History Museum each month and subsequently published as a monthly compilation of bird records in the Maine Field Observer and the Maine Field Naturalist. This project followed an earlier effort of long-time Natural History Society curator Arthur H. Norton. He had used a similar card system of reporting, and the forty years of data from those files formed the basis for Ralph S. Palmer's book Maine Birds, published in 1949. The Society aimed to continue this card reporting system in order to preserve data in a way that could be studied and analyzed to give an overall picture of bird distribution and habits over a long period of time. The project took place during a time of change for both organizations. The two societies had merged operations in 1961 while maintaining separate corporate identities and separate buildings. However by 1972, the Portland Society's building had been demolished, its collections disbursed, and it formally merged with and took the name of the Maine Audubon Society.


6.8 cubic feet (51 archival card file boxes)

Language of Materials



Cards are arranged in AOU (American Ornithologists Union) checklist order. See Science Reference QL 681.C52 1983, in the Fogler Library.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The bird sightings files came to the Special Collections Department, Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine as a gift.

Publications About Described Materials

Data published in Maine Field Naturalist and Maine Field Observer.
Guide to the Maine Field Naturalist Bird Sightings Files
Box And Folder List Available
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for uncoded script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States