Belding, L.

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Biographical History

Lyman Belding was an ornithologist in the later 19th and early 20th century. He was born June 12th, 1829, at West Farms, Massachusetts, on the west side of the Connecticut River that lay opposite Amherst College. Belding was said to have been born a sportsman, and was a naturalist from an early age. When he was seven, his family moved to Kingston, Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania. Surrounded by forests and mountains, the young Belding took a heavy interest in birds. On July 5, 1851, and at the age of 22, he set out on an expedition aboard the Arctic whaler, Uncas. Belding visited the Azores, the Cape of Good Hope, Amsterdam Island, New Zealand, and Guam. The ship reached the Bering Straits, July 1, 1852. Belding would take part in a number of other expeditions and made trips to Hawaii, Cocos Island, and to the Galapagos Islands. Belding moved to California in March of 1856. Early in the spring of 1876 he received a volume of Spencer Baird’s California Ornithology and began to collect and identify the birds of the state. He made several collecting and research trips throughout, and off the coasts of California and Mexico including visiting Cerros Island, the Cape region between La Paz and Cape San Lucas, the Victoria Mountains, Guaymas, and San Jose del Cabo. Upon the American Ornithologists' Union founding in 1883, Mr. Belding was elected to Active Membership and in 1911 was made a Retired Fellow. He was also a Life Member of the California Academy of Sciences, and assisted in building up the ornithological collection. The Academy also published his work "The Land Birds of the Pacific District", in 1890. Belding died in Stockton, California on November 22, 1917, at the age of eighty-eight.


Fisher, Walter K. (1918). In Memoriam: Lyman Belding. The Condor, 20(2), 51-61. Retrieved from

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  • Animals
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