Ralph Hoffmann on Missouri Birds:
The Pomarine Jaeger and the Purple Gallinule

Compiled and Edited by
Robert Jan 'Roy' van de Hoek
Ballona Institute
322 Culver Boulevard, Suite 317
Playa del Rey, California 90293

Auk, Volume 33, Number 2, Page 196, April 1916.
The Pomarine Jaeger and the Purple Gallinule.

A Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus) was taken at Eaton Bend on the Missouri River, a few miles below Kansas City, Mo., on November 28, 1915, by Joe Barlow. As far as I can learn this is the first record of the capture of this species in Missouri. On December 31, 1915, an immature Purple Gallinule (Ionornis martinica) was captured alive on the flats near Kansas City, Mo., and given to Miss Clements of Independence, Mo., who brought the bird to the attention of the Kansas City Bird Club. Widmann gives two records for the Purple Gallinule for Missouri, both in April, 1877, in the vicinity of St. Louis. (Birds of Missouri, p. 61). —RALPH HOFFMANN, Kansas City, Mo.

Robert Jan 'Roy' van de Hoek

In 1910, Ralph Hoffmann moved to Missouri from Massachusetts. For six years he resided in Kansas City where he was the headmaster of Country Day School. In 1917, he move to St. Louis to become a headmaster for a brand new Country Day School in Saint Louis. In 1919, Ralph Hoffmann left Missouri to go to a new school in California. Although Ralph Hoffmann lived in Missouri for 10 years, it appears that he wrote only two articles about birds between 1910 and 1919, both of them for the Auk. It appears that Ralph Hoffmann was a member, and perhaps a founder, of the "Kansas City Bird Club." Was this club a precursor to the Burroughs Audubon Society of Kansas City? Did Ralph Hoffmann write articles for the Kansas City Bird Club? Was he an officer of the club, or simply a member?

On New Years Eve of 1915, it appears that Ralph Hoffmann captured a Purple Gallinule near Kansas City Missouri, or so the story goes. It is clear that Mr. Hoffmann was maturing as an experienced naturalist, now in Missouri, which would later serve him well for his culmination as the director for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, in California.