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Ecologist and author, Richard Nairn, will deliver a lecture entitled Richard J. Ussher: Chronicling the Birds of Ireland. Richard John Ussher MRIA, 1841-1913, was a speleologist, ornithologist and the main author of Ussher & Warren, The Birds of Ireland (1900), a seminal publication in the history of Irish ornithology that provides an early benchmark by which we can measure the decline of native bird species.

The lecture will focus on the life and work of Ussher, descending the depths of Ireland’s caves in search of fossils and surmounting cliff-faces, mountains and rivers in pursuit of rare birds. The Ussher Bird Notes collection (RIA A009), housed in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, consists of Ussher’s notes and correspondence relating to his research.

Recently, the RIA Library announced a new project, The Birds of Ireland, generously supported by The Heritage Council. The project aims to enable the long-term preservation, access, and discovery of this collection. Join us to learn about Ussher and the collection that inspired this project.

Richard Nairn is an ecologist and writer who has published eight books including a recent trilogy on nature in Ireland. He holds a Masters degree in Zoology and was elected a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management. He is a former Director of Birdwatch Ireland. He has published papers in the Irish Naturalists' Journal, Irish Birds and Biological Conservation and is a regular contributor to the Irish Times. He lives on a small farm which is managed primarily for nature restoration.

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