Pennsylvania Game News - April 2020 - 11

emphasis to have plenty of cotton and
preservative on hand suggests just how
differently animals were preserved back
then. Air-drying also played a significant
role.
CONCERN FOR BIRDS

Although the quest for big game and
furs pushed the American frontier north
and west, in Pennsylvania, at least, interest in songbird conservation trumped any
other campaign to conserve wildlife in the
mid-1800s. Why is open to interpretation.
But as the most visible remaining wildlife
species capable of enduring America's
expansion and buildup, Pennsylvanians
pushed for their protection.
As early as 1841, it was unlawful to
kill "small insectivorous birds" from
April 1 to August 10 in Chester County,
York County's Hellam Township, Lehigh
County's Northampton and Hanover
townships, Delaware County's Aston,
Concord, Middletown and Thornbury
townships, Northampton County's Lower
Saucon and Bethlehem townships, and
Montgomery County's Upper and Lower
Merion townships. Other regional birdprotection laws followed until songbirds
were protected statewide in 1858.
It's reasonable to attribute the early
interest in birds among Americans to the
published work of Wilson and Audubon.
Cassin and, to a lesser degree, Baird
continued to build America's interest in
wildlife by uncovering new species and
through their writings.
The Delaware Valley Ornithological
Club (DVOC) was started in 1890 by
naturalists and birders in the Philadelphia area, many already affiliated with
the Academy of Natural Sciences. Two
founders with ties to the Academy were
Stone and Rhoads. Both were exceptional
naturalists and made tremendous contriAPRIL 2020	

butions in early campaigns for American
bird and wildlife conservation.
In its first year, the DVOC ambitiously
recorded and compared bird migration
data in the Philadelphia area. Its members
also occasionally read and discussed
ornithological papers, a pursuit that would
grow at club meetings. This was not a
casual birding organization. It aimed to
make contributions to bird conservation,
and quickly delivered. Members published articles in The Auk, the journal of
the American Ornithological Society, in
1890 and 1891 on Delaware Valley bird
migrations.
Through the DVOC's ties to the Academy and the American Ornithological
Society, the Club soon heightened its presence as a science-centered organization.
In 1894, Stone authored the DVOC's first
book, The Birds of Eastern Pennsylvania
and New Jersey. The book would help
establish the DVOC's standing in America's growing ornithological community.
Stone would go on to serve as The
Auk's editor from 1912 to 1936, staying
at the forefront of ornithology longer than
any other editor in the magazine's history. He also is recognized for authoring
the DVOC's pivotal Bird Studies of Old
Cape May in 1937, as well as serving in
varying curator and director capacities at
the Academy from 1893 until his death
in 1938.
Rhoads, likely recognized more for
his work with mammals - authored the
benchmark Mammals of New Jersey
and Pennsylvania in 1903 - also was a
enthusiastic ornithologist. His spirit is
captured in The D.V.O.C. Twenty Year
Souvenir, which celebrated the club's first
20 years. Although it lists no author, Stone
is believed to have penned it.
"About home, no bird chirped that
he (Rhoads) did not recognize it for an
11



Pennsylvania Game News - April 2020

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