Audubon’s December 1 First Friday: Ralph B. Simpson, Birdwatcher and Collector

Audubon Community Nature Center's Simpson bird collection has fascinated visitors for decades. At the December 1 First Friday Lunch Bunch, Senior Educator Katie Finch will tell the story of the Warren, Pennsylvania, native whose work in the late 1800s makes this possible.
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Audubon Community Nature Center

Audubon Community Nature Center houses a collection of over 150 birds created during a time when bird collections, rather than field guides, were an important resource to learn more about birds.

Ralph B. Simpson was a Warren, Pennsylvania, native who contributed to the field of ornithology by studying and collecting birds.

At Audubon’s First Friday presentation, December 1, 11 a.m.–noon, Senior Nature Educator Katie Finch will explore the story of the Simpson collection, as well as the man who collected and mounted the birds.

A passionate and skilled naturalist, Simpson explored the wild places in Warren County, Pennsylvania, and Presque Isle in Erie, Pennsylvania. With a license from Warren County, he collected birds, nests and eggs, preserving them himself. He also contributed to the larger scientific community in the late 1800s through his writing, record keeping and photography.

Katie Finch is a Senior Nature Educator and Interpretive Projects Manager at Audubon Community Nature Center.

You are welcome to bring a bagged lunch to stay after and chat with Bowman and other attendees.

The fee is $8 or $6 for Nature Center members and children ages 9 to 15. Reservations are appreciated by calling (716) 569-2345 or online through Programs and Events at Walk-ins are welcome.

Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, N.Y., and Warren, Pa. You can visit the nearly 600-acre nature preserve, check in on the live birds of prey, and hike over five miles of trails dawn until dusk daily for free.

The three-story Nature Center building houses interactive displays, a collection of live animals including the Hellbender exhibit, and the Blue Heron Gift Shop. Visitors are welcome Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Sundays, 1 – 4:30 p.m. Nature Center members and SNAP/EBT cardholders have free building admission daily. Building admission is also free every Sunday for non-Nature Center members.

To learn more about Audubon and its many programs, call (716) 569-2345, find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook, or visit

Audubon Community Nature Center builds and nurtures connections between people and nature by providing positive outdoor experiences, opportunities to learn about and understand the natural world, and knowledge to act in environmentally responsible ways.