Who was Mr. Wilson’s Warbler?
Alexander Wilson was an early 19th century painter whose prolific production of nine bird volumes approached the virtuoso quality of John James Aububon’s now-classic renditions of avifauna.
In fact, while illustrating 268 bird species (including 26 species never described by ornithologists until Wilson himself identified the birds), he produced eight classic editions of "American Ornithology" (Or the Natural History of the Birds of the United States) between 1808 and 1814,
The result: Wilson’s unlikely yet mercurial advancement in the budding field of ornithology in the early 1800s granted him rarified status among his era’s peers, both artists and scientists, and remains intact today.
Lastly, several bird species carry his name, including Wilson’s Storm Petrel, Wilson’s Plover, Wilson’s Phalarope, and the aforementioned Wilson’s Warbler (in addition to the wood warbler genus Wilsonia that contains the Wilson’s Warbler, Wilsonia pusilla, and two other New World, Parulidae family/wood warbler family members). Even the Wilson’s Journal of Ornithology is named in his honor.