BPP E-Newsletter September 2009

Current Migration Card Count:

• 1,584 online volunteers
• 172,056 cards transcribed online
• 16 office volunteers
• 427,239 cards scanned in the office


  • As we continue to make updates and changes to the transcription page we would like have all participants use the same version of the transcription screen. Therefore, we plan on removing version 2 from the website. Please email me if you have an objection to this change.
  • Over the past few months, the BPP and the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN; www.usanpn.org) have begun working to combine our two programs. The USA-NPN is developing a national network of citizen science observers who will use standardized protocols to monitor and report observations of animal and plant phenological events, including flowering, frog calling, and bird migrations. The BPP, with our historical data, will be integrated into the USA-NPN information management system and website, where they will be combined contemporary observations of other animals and plants, all of which will be freely available online. Together these data will greatly improve our ability to understand historical and recent changes in phenology and their ecological impacts. 
  • Want to see some of the volunteers who contribute to the BPP? Visit the Featured Photos webpage! If you would like to add your picture, email me a picture of yourself transcribing from your home computer, couch, office or wherever! Please include your name and location in the email.
  • The BPP Office is in need of office volunteers who can come in and scan migration cards. If you are in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area- come on in!
BPP Database and Interface

Recent Change to Interface:

  • In response to your many requests, an AOU Number reference function will be available Tuesday! The function will be accessed through the left-side panel of the transcription screen. Please remember- this is only a reference to learn which species you are transcribing. You should never type in an AOU number on the transcription screen unless you see it on the card you are transcribing.

Coming Soon:

  • Chart for entering in cards with multiple event dates spanning more than one year


Thank you to all of the office volunteers for their help the past month in scanning migration cards. We are well on our way to 500,000 scanned cards!

I would like to recognize the following online transcribers for achieving these incredible milestones:

25,000 Cards Transcribed: Petrina

20,000 Cards Transcribed: Stella Walsh, Vincent Wardhaugh

15,000 Cards Transcribed: Margaret Murphy. Lucy

10,000 Cards Transcribed: John Neuenschwander


Arthur Holmes Howell was born in Lake Grove, New York on May 2, 1872 to Elbert Richard and Ann Howell. He grew up in Lake Grove and left for New York City after graduating High School. In January 1889, Howell obtained an office position with a small broker on South Street, earning 3 dollars a week. He later got a job as a stock clerk for Jenning’s Lace Works, earning 6 dollars per week, and stayed with them until 1894. His interest in Natural History, especially birds, took up most of his free time. After collecting his first set of eggs (Great Crested Flycatcher) in June 1885, he became very interested in collecting. In the spring of 1888, he tried to develop skills in mounting birds, which he never became proficient in. In December 1888, Howell made his first study skin and took up collecting these specimens. Around this time, Howell began attending Linnaean Society of New York where he met local naturalists. By May 2, 1892, he was elected secretary of the society, a position he held for two years. Howell joined the AOU in 1889 and that year, he attended the annual meeting which happened to be held in New York City. While there met and became friends with Harry C. Oberholser. Oberholser and Vernon Bailey worked together at the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammology and when Bailey needed a field assistant years later, in 1895, Oberholser suggested Howell. Howell was offered a temporary position and spent four months camping with Vernon Bailey in Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. After returning Howell was given a second six-month appointment and when that ended, was made a permanent employee of the then Division of Biological Survey. His full-time position began with preparing scientific study skins and curating the collection of mammals. Howell became a highly respected and notable biologist of his time, becoming a fellow of the American Ornithologists Union in 1930. He published over 80 papers and books, most notable being Birds of Arkansas (1911), Birds of Alabama (1924), and Florida bird life (1932). Howell continued working for the same agency, later named the Division of Wildlife Research, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1896-1940 eventually as a Seinor Biologist. While working at his desk he was stricken with a cerebral hemorrhage and died a day later at Emergency Hospital in Washington on July 10th.

A.H. Howell Migration Card

To learn more about Arthur Howell, please visit:

The Auk, 80: 290-294. July, 1963

A.H.  Howell

Arthur H. Howell

Photo courtesy of: elibrary