Birds of the Sitka Area

With the permission of the author, I have now posted The Birds of Sitka, Alaska, a manuscript by J. Dan Webster.

J. Daniel Webster’s relationship with the Sitka area started relatively early in life. He came to Sitka in 1928 as the 9 year old son of a Presbyterian minister. He graduated from High School in Sitka in 1935. For his Master’s Thesis (earned at Cornell), he studied of the life-history of the Black Oystercatcher. Field work for that thesis was done in Sitka during 1940. He made subsequent trips to Sitka to do ornithological work in the 1980s.

A copy of the manuscript was sent to the Stratton Library at Sheldon Jackson College along with a letter asking that some copies be distributed to several local bird enthusiasts. I actually did not find out about the manuscript until after I received a hand-written letter from Dr. Webster informing me of its existence (how he came to write me a letter is another story). I was happily surprised to find such a document and borrowed the copy from the library.

I was able to call Dr. Webster and had a brief, but interesting, conversation with him. At that time I asked about making the manuscript available on my website, and he said I could share it with whomever might be interested.

This document was a very welcome discovery for me, as I have been making preliminary efforts to put together a fairly comprehensive checklist of birds for the Sitka area. It is nice to have all of the published historical records summarized one document. This, together with the daily observation records kept by two local birders from 1980 through the present will contribute greatly to my ability to create a reasonably accurate checklist for the Sitka area.

Manuscript: The Birds of Sitka, Alaska, by J. Dan Webster

Some of the biographical information came from a brief biography of J. Dan Webster (pdf) written by Daryl Karns for Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science.

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