BCR 153: Daniel Lewis, Bird Evolution in Hawai’i

Daniel Lewis is the Dibner Senior Curator for the History of Science & Technology at the Huntington Library in San Marino, and an Associate Research Professor at Claremont Graduate University, where he teaches courses in archival theory and practice, manages aspects the archival studies program, and sits on MA and PhD qualifying exam committees and dissertation committees. Since 2018 he also has an appointment as a lecturer in environmental history at the California Institute of Technology, where he teaches two courses a year, including the history of extinction.

Between 2010 and 2016, Dan also served as Chief Curator of Manuscripts at the Huntington, where he oversaw fifteen professional and paraprofessional staff, including curators, archivists, a chief cataloger, and other staff positions, as well as numerous volunteers.

He earned a BA in English/Writing from the University of Redlands, and received the MA and PhD in History from the University of California at Riverside. He has had a long and distinguished career as an archivist and curator, most recently serving as the Company Historian and Corporate Archivist before coming to the Huntington. He is also on the faculty of the California Rare Book School, where he teaches courses in archives for historians and librarians.

Dan is a native of Hawaii, and is the author of four books, including two about birds (The Feathery Tribe: Robert Ridgway and the Modern Study of Birds, Yale, 2012) and Belonging on an Island: Birds, Extinction and Evolution in Hawaii, Yale, 2018). His latest book project, now underway, is a global history of biodiversity.

Banko Palila 1973

                                                                Banko Palila 1973

Show Notes:

  • How did conservation start on Hawaii and who were the pioneer ornithologists?
  • Your perspective of life forms on Hawaii is rather unique, what do you mean by the term “Native” in the context of belonging to Hawaii?
  • We can’t talk about the Hawaiian birds without considering all the birds rendered extinct by the hand of man. Walk us through the extinct birds, and tell us what is known and when and how they were lost.
  • Extinction is evidence of ecological transformations; these transformations in Hawaii are compelling and tragic.
  • What is known about the Moa-nalo,
  • Fossil hunters in the Islands.
  • Fieldwork of John Sincock and Sheila Conant.
  • The Kaua’I O’o. What is the history of this bird and man who spent so much time studying it.
  • Population of Newell’s Shearwater
  • Impact of 19thcentury bird collectors in Hawai
  • The Hawaiian bird survey and the Endangered Species Act
  • The Palila & avian diseases
  • The Japanese White-eye
  • How do you resolve being native and belonging?
Sheila Conant in field with Iiwi.

                         Sheila Conant in field with Iiwi.

NOTE: Special thanks to Dan for the permission and use of his photographs. All photographs in this show are solely used for this specific BirdCallsRadio™ & Podcast show BCR 153: Daniel Lewis. Courtsey of ©Daniel Lewis, All Rights Reserved. All photographs may not be used in any form without written permission. Please respect the wishes of Daniel Lewis.

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