Birds

Staff & Research

Stephen P. Rogers, MS
Collection Manager
RogersS@carnegiemnh.org
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080
412.622.3255 or 3258
Visit Steve Rogers' research page
 

Former Curators

W. E. Clyde Todd
Todd began his association with Carnegie Museum as a freelance collector of birds in the summer field season in 1898, and the following April was hired as assistant in charge of recent vertebrates which included birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. His devotion, however, was entirely to birds, and the other groups were primarily cared for by volunteers or honorary custodians. In the first few decades of the museum, Mr. Todd had a significant budget for building the birds collection by employing extremely talented field collectors either on-staff or by purchasing specimens from professional field collectors. Among those that made significant contributions to the collections were Samuel Klages (1917–1924) with 29,088 specimens, Melvin A. Carriker, Jr. (1908–1923) with 25,156 specimens, and Jose Steinbach (1910–1924) with 9,127 specimens, all concentrating in the Neotropics.

Mr. Todd officially obtained the title of Curator of Birds in 1914 and continued as such until 1945 when he retired. Of the study skins catalogued into the collection, 75% were added prior to his retirement. However, he continued to come to the museum almost daily for the next 24 years, making his association with the museum span a surprising 71 years. During that period he made 23 field trips to the north, the last when he was 80 years old. He won two Brewster awards for monumental works to ornithology with his The Birds of the Santa Marta Region published in 1922, and Birds of the Labrador Peninsula and Adjacent Areas in 1963. His third major publication was Birds of Western Pennsylvania in 1940.

George Milsch Sutton
Sutton became an assistant curator in 1919 and continued until 1924 when he retired to become Pennsylvania State Ornithologist. However, he continued to be part of Carnegie Museum field trips even after he began his PhD program at Cornell. His dissertation became a part of the Carnegie Memoir series The Birds of Southampton Island, Hudson Bay, published in 1932. Sutton went on to a stunning career as an ornithologist at the University of Michigan and the University of Oklahoma, but may be best known for his artwork.

Ernest G. Holt was an assistant curator 1927–1931, and Rudyerd Boulton held that title from 1926–1931. When he left, Ruth Trimble assumed the position as acting assistant curator, and became assistant curator in 1934, leaving in 1940.

Arthur Twomey
Twomey was hired as an assistant and field collector in 1936, took over the assistant curator position in 1940, and two years later became second full curator in the section. Twomey led major expeditions to many countries over his 37-year tenure and made excellent skins, contributing 17,142 specimens to the collection.

Ken Parkes
Parkes became the first PhD in the section when he took the position of assistant curator in 1953. By 1962 he became the third full curator and continued here until his retirement in 1996. Ken is best known for his study of molts, Philippine Birds, and taxonomic study dealing with subspecies of an array of birds. He spent a considerable amount of time working through the collection trying to keep taxonomy up to date—an almost impossible task.

Mary Heimerdinger
Mary joined the section as an assistant curator in 1963 and began to organize the anatomical collection. She was a specialist in pterylosis, the study of feather tract patterns on the surface of skins. Four years later she married a Curator of Entomology and became Mary Clench. In 1968 she was promoted to associate curator and continued in the section until she resigned in 1980.

D. Scott Wood
Scott filled the position when he was hired in 1981 as an assistant curator. Scott Wood brought the collection into the 20th century in both storage and computerization. With some help from Ken Parkes, he successfully was awarded two NSF grants, the first to purchase a new compactor system to re-house and expand the collection, and the second to computerize the data. During this same time, Scott re-energized growth of the collection which had languished since Twomey had made numerous field trips to Africa and Central America into the 1960s. He pushed for cataloging specimens which had been held in the collection for many years, and grew the anatomical collections bringing the collection completely up-to-date. Scott resigned in 1992.

Brad Livezey
Carnegie Museum of Natural History deeply regrets that Brad Livezey died February 8, 2011, in an automobile accident on icy roads. Please click here to read a museum tribute.

Research Associates

  • Anthony Bledsoe, University of Pittsburgh
  • Douglas Causey, University of Alaska—Anchorage, AK
  • Philip Chu, St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN
  • Edward l. Saiff, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Mahwah, NJ
  • Richard Zusi, Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History, Curator Emeritus