Hops at the History Center: Birds of Kirkwood with Michael Ayling

March 19 2024, 6:30 pm

Birds of Kirkwood, The untold history and legacy of Kirkwood’s ornithologist

Lecture by Michael Ayling, author of Birds of Kirkwood Blog

Birds of Kirkwood, DeKalb County, Georgia” was published in the June 1903 issue of The Wilson Bulletin, a periodic journal of ornithological concern. The author of the article was one Robert Windsor Smith who resided in Kirkwood, Georgia from approximately 1890 until his death at his home in 1910 at the age of sixty-eight. Kirkwood was formally incorporated in 1904 and annexed into the City of Atlanta in 1922. Prior to their move to Kirkwood, Robert and his family had previously lived on Whitehall Street, near downtown Atlanta.

The “Birds of Kirkwood” article includes a detailed “description of section” which is an invaluable snapshot of what the natural environment of Kirkwood was like at the turn of the century. Robert’s list of birds contains some minor numbering errors and most likely a few erroneous exclusions, but it provides important context with regard to the diversity of bird life that could be found in pre-urbanization Kirkwood.

Robert and his wife Mary lived on Howard Street and his “Birds of Kirkwood” article represents the culmination of his study of the local avifauna, which also continued after the publication of the article.

This lecture will explore the history of ornithologist Robert Windsor Smith and the history of Kirkwood.

Michael Ayling is the author of Birds of Kirkwood Blog, found here.


March 19, 2024

6:30 – 7:30 pm

DeKalb History Center, 2nd floor

101 East Court Square, Decatur GA 30030

DHC Programs: Maybeck