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Captain Charles Emil Bendire

Karl Emil Bender was born at Koeing im Odenwald, in the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt on April 27, 1836. He was the eldest sibling of a family of two sons and three daughters. He was home schooled until the age of twelve and afterward spent five years at the theological school at Passy, near Paris. Leaving suddenly, under the account of a boyish escapade, he returned home for a short time before leaving with his younger brother, Wilhelm, on a ship bound for New York in 1853.

Shortly upon his arrival to the United States, at the age of eighteen, Bender enlisted in the Army; changing his name to Charles Bendire. Throughout his career, he published under both names. Bendire had a long military career which sent him traveling across the United States. Over time he climbed the ranks to Army officer. Throughout his time in the Army his interest in birds and bird eggs spurred him to collect an extensive number of eggs at the different locations in which he was stationed. Among his many achievements were obtaining new species' eggs of the Rough-winged swallow and Bendire's thrasher.

While on leave of absence, and on duty from September 1883 to August of 1884, Major Bendire, at Professor Baird's request, assumed charge as Honorary Curator, of the Department of Oology in the U.S. National Museum. The collection had been severely neglected and so Major Bendire got started quickly by reviewing the collection and incorporating with it his private collection, about 8,000 specimens. The collection, which he later presented to the Museum, contained about 52,000 specimens, acquired largely by his personal efforts and by the gifts of his friends, colleagues, and correspondents. This collection was the culmination of Bendire's life work as an oologist.

Having rearranged the collection of eggs to his satisfaction, Bendire took on a project which had been on his mind for some time and began the 'Life Histories of North American Birds,' of which he published two volumes. These publications secured Benedire's fame as an ornithologist and provided ornithologists with unprecedented information on the geographical distribution of each species along with the extent of their breeding range.

To learn more about Captain Charles Emil Bendire, please visit: http://vertebrates.si.edu/birds/Hall_of_fame/CharlesBendire.html

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