Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version

September 1994


Published in Living Bird 13:4 (Autumn 1994), pp. 6–7. Copyright © 1994 Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Used by permission.


“I spent the first thirty years of my life learning to be a scientist, and the next twenty-five years of my life trying to become a humanist and an artist." Paul Johnsgard immerses himself in several worlds, but for the eclectic teacher, writer, artist, and scientist, these worlds merge in a burst of feathered movement, color, and shape. Johnsgard is beguiled by birds. As a professor of biological sciences at the University of Nebraska with full teaching responsibilities, Johnsgard has managed to write at least one or two books on birds each year. In 1986 I asked him if he thought he'd ever equal the prodigious output of Arthur Cleveland Bent, an earlier bird biographer. "Oh," he replied nonchalantly, "I passed up Bent some time ago." Indeed, Johnsgard is the most prolific author in the history of ornithology. His volumes dominate the ornithological collections of most libraries.

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