Edward Fingerhood

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Edward Fingerhood was the individual who was responsible for the Atlas of Breeding Birds of Pennsylvania. It was Ed who called Frank and Barb Haas one evening in the early 1980s and suggested that Pennsylvania birders do an atlas. A few weeks later, Ed, Barb and Frank met with Frank Gill from the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences to discuss the possibilities and the atlas was born. The atlas project not only created the atlas, but along with the founding of Pennsylvania Birds, created the organizational framework for the founding of the PSO.

In addition to his interest in the atlas project, Ed was extremely active in the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club. One of his primary contributions to that organization was as chairman of the Ornithological Studies committee, in which role he presented sometimes new and sometimes old presentations about interesting tidbits in the field of ornithology. One example concerned a species of bird that had been recorded almost annually at Tinicum Nature Reserve up until the 1960s, but then was rarely recorded after that. What had happened? Was it habitat changes? Was it pollution? Was it hunting? It was none of these. It was “lumped.” The bird in question was “Common” Teal! His point being that races, subspecies, and forms should be studied and reported as much as “full” species. It was this kind of detail that epitomized Ed’s approach to birding.

Unfortunately for the birding world, Ed died in 1998, so the Poole Award was presented posthumously.