Bradley Public Library to Host Presentation on The History of Birdwatching


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BRADLEY, IL – The Bradley Public Library District will host a presentation on the history of birdwatching on May 2nd, as part of the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Bureau. 

The event will feature Illinois author and storyteller Brian “Fox” Ellis, who will become Robert Ridgway, America’s preeminent ornithologist with ties to the Audubon Society and a passion for adventure.

The program will be a mix of storytelling and discussion, aiming to inspire participants to become citizen scientists and help improve the ecological health of the community. Attendees will also be invited to join Fox for birdwatching at Kankakee State Park the following morning, where he will share his expertise in the field.

“We’re excited to bring Mr. Fox Ellis to Bradley and look forward to immersing our community in a program that’s a mix of science and history,” said Sarah Hartman, Youth Services Coordinator.

The event, “Robert Ridgway: When Amateur Bird Watching Became a Rigorous Science,” is free and open to all ages. It will take place at the Bradley Public Library from 6:30-7:30 pm. Fox will recall the history of the Audubon Society and the evolution of bird watching as it grew from a hobby to a scientific discipline. He will share stories that illuminate our legacies as bird watchers, bringing history to life as he tells Ridgway’s story of transecting the western wilderness as a teenager, his lifelong work at the Smithsonian Institution, his birding trips into Central America, and his journey across Alaska with John Burroughs, Louis Agazziz Fuertes, and John Muir.

The event is co-produced by the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, which invites Illinois authors, artists, and educators to share their expertise and enthusiasm with people throughout the state.

For more information and to register for the event, visit


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