Bull, John L. 1914-2006

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Bull, John L. 1914-2006

(John Bull, John Lewis Bull)


See index for CA sketch: Born February 28, 1914, in New York, NY; died August 11, 2006, in New York, NY. Ornithologist, educator, and author. Bull was a retired associate at the American Museum of Natural History and a noted authority on birds of the New York area. Though he never earned a college degree, years of experience in the field led to his expertise on birds, a subject he loved since his childhood. He first joined the staff at the American Museum of Natural History in the entomology department in 1940. Two years later, the U.S. Customs agency in New York City hired him as a wild bird plumage examiner, and he worked there until 1959. Around the end of his time in Customs, he published his first guidebook, The Birds of the New York City Area: A Guide to the Exhibit of Local Birds in American Museum of Natural History, New York (1958). From 1960 to 1961, Bull was a nature leader and bird import investigator for the National Audubon Society in Miami, Florida, before returning to New York and his first employer, the American Museum. He would remain there from 1962 until his 1983 retirement. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Bull led bird tours in Central Park and Long Island and kept records of the birds he saw. His second book, Birds of the New York Area (1964), which describes over four hundred species, was considered the most complete record of wild bird species in the area at that time. Bull traveled around the world on birding expeditions, often accompanied by his wife, with whom he wrote his last book, Birds of North America, Western Region: A Quick Identification Guide for All Bird-Watchers (1989). In the mid-1970s, Bull also acted as an instructor at the New School for Social Research and teacher at Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad. Among his other publications are Birds of New York State (1974; revised in 1985 as Bull's Birds of New York State) and The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, Eastern Region (1977), written with John Farrand and revised as The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds (1994).



New York Times, August 15, 2006, p. A21.