Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 23

Elliott Coues

american birds

Ornithologist, born in Portsmouth, New York, USA. He moved to Washington, DC with his family at age 11 and became interested in birds after meeting naturalists from the Smithsonian Institution. He enlisted in the Union Army as a medical cadet (1862), was appointed an assistant surgeon (1864), and served in various western posts until 1881. During those years he made collections and compiled information about local bird life, and his Birds of the Colorado Valley (1878) is considered a classic. An ardent theosophist, he helped found the American Society for Psychical Research, and also edited several volumes of early travel in the American West.

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