Richter Museum Curator Tom Erdman presented with special recognition from Wisconsin DNR
UW-Green Bay Richter Museum Curator Tom Erdman (right in photo) received a surprise special recognition from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation (NHC) for his more than 50 years of contributions to the conservation of birds in Northeast Wisconsin.
Erdman had just concluded a detailed presentation to the Green Bay Bird Club on the ecology and population status of the Northern Goshawk in Northeast Wisconsin, January 19, when NHC avian ecologist Sumner Matteson presented him with a beautifully hand-carved miniature adult Goshawk (by Duluth wildlife artist William Majewski).
Bird Club President Nancy Nabak noted that Erdman has spent more than four decades conducting research on mammals, reptiles and amphibians in Northeast Wisconsin. Birds, however, have been the main focus of his career. Among Erdman’s noted contributions:
- First photographic documentation of the Arctic Tern (April 25, 1965) and Laughing Gull (August 3, 1965) occurring in Wisconsin
- First recorded successful nesting of the Little Gull in the United States (summer of 1975), Manitowoc County
- First documented nesting of the Snowy Egret in Wisconsin (June 15, 1975), Oconto County
- First documented nesting of the Cattle Egret in Wisconsin (summer of 1971), Willow Island, Brown County, Lower Green Bay
- First documented nesting of the American White Pelican in Wisconsin (spring 1994), Cat Island
As founder and director of the Little Suamico Ornithological Station on the shores of western Green Bay, Erdman has banded more than 45,000 individuals representing close to 180 bird species. In cooperation with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Canadian Wildlife Service, U.S Army Corps of Engineers, and Wisconsin DNR, his pioneering research on toxins and colonial nesting birds on Green Bay and Lake Michigan eventually led to a massive PCB cleanup of the Fox River.
Erdman has authored and coauthored many publications on Northern Goshawk population biology, toxins, raptor migration, Northern Saw-whet Owl migration, and the development of an audiolure for Northern Saw-whet Owls.
Photo by Nancy Nabak.