Ralph Hoffmann on Missouri Birds II:
Kansas City Christmas Bird Count of 1916

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

Bird Lore 19 (1): 34-35
Kansas City, Mo. (district between the Country Club and Dodson, in the Swope Park region and in the country between Independence and Atherton).

December 23, 24, 25, [1916].

1. Bobwhite, 7
2. Marsh Hawk, 2
3. Red-tailed Hawk, 6
4. Rough-legged Hawk, 1
5. Sparrow Hawk, 2
6. Short-eared Owl, 5
7. Kingfisher, 1
8. Hairy Woodpecker, 32
9. Downy Woodpecker, 31
10. Red-headed Woodpecker, 1
11. Red-bellied Woodpecker, 8
12. Flicker, 34
13. Prairie Horned Lark, 6
14. Blue Jay, 46
15. Crow, 70
16. Red-winged Blackbird, 1,500
17. Thick-billed Red-wing, 7 (1 taken)
18. Purple Finch, 13
19. Red Crossbill, 4
20. Goldfinch, 200
21. Pine Siskin, 3
22. Lapland Longspur, 2
23. Harris's Sparrow, 10
24. White-crowned Sparrow, 12
25. Tree Sparrow, 650
26. Slate-colored Junco, 750
27. Song Sparrow, 37
28. Lincoln's Sparrow, 1
29. Swamp Sparrow, 2
30. Fox Sparrow, 5
31. Cardinal, 59
32. Bohemian Waxwing, 2 (one taken)
33. Cedar Waxwing, 4
34. Carolina Wren, 34
35. Winter Wren, 2
36. Brown Creeper, 21
37. White-breasted Nuthatch, 4
38. Tufted Titmouse, 45
39. Chickadee, 90
40. Golden-crowned Kinglet, 12
41. Robin, 8
42. Bluebird, 7

Total, 42 species, 3,740 individuals.


Robert Jan 'Roy' van de Hoek

As Christmas Day came near in 1916, four middle-aged men, with a passoniate interest in birdwatching, now 90 years ago, gathered to conduct a bird count in the Kansas City Region. Three other bird counts were also taking place elsewhere in Missouri (Marionville, Marshall, and Pleasant Hill). And across the nation, several hundred bird counts were taking place at Christmas time.

A few months later, in 1917, the nation would be engaged in World War I. Birdwatching and birding would not be deterred as young men surrendered their lives in Europe.

During the war, Ralph Hoffmann moved to St. Louis. After the war, Ralph Hoffmann moved to southern California, settling in Capinteria, in Santa Barbara County.

After the war, Harry Harris finished his book on the birds of the Kansas City region, and then also visited California, spending some time on Catalina Island. A few years later, Harry Harris would also move to southern California, settling in on Eagle Rock in Los Angeles County.

Several years prior to World War I, 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. 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.

The "Kansas City Bird Club" existed during this time, and it appears that Ralph Hoffmann was active in this club. Did Ralph Hoffmann write articles for the Kansas City Bird Club? Was he a founder and 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 southern California.