In her incredibly productive lifetime (1883-1974), American-born ornithologist Margaret Morse Nice earned the admiration of ornithologists and naturalists in far distant lands.
Research Is a Passion With Me is an enthralling autobiography of one of the great individuals in her field and of her time. The prominent California nature writer, Donald Peattie, in commenting on Margaret Nice’s writing ability, stated: "Your art of telling is so good that it conceals how good the science is." And Professor Ernst Mayer of Harvard University said: "Margaret Nice was a remarkable person and only those who know the state of American ornithology when she started her work will appreciate her contribution."
"An extraordinary bird watcher. Every summer she and her husband would gather the girls, pack their old car with camping gear, and head off into the wilds to look for new birds. This eccentric way of living was unusual in the early 1920s, but even their youngest daughter adjusted to it. Their older girls shinnied up trees to observe nests and helped in housekeeping tasks around the campsite."
- Marcia Bonta, Bird Watcher’s Digest
About the authors
A veteran traveller with an aptitude for languages, Margaret Nice, researcher-scientist-author, amassed considerable knowledge of many of the birds of the world. Significantly, her most important paper was published in Germany, far from her birthplace of Amherst, Massachusetts. The paper dealing with the Song Sparrow appeared in two parts in the Journal fur Ornithologie.
Through the years, Dr. Nice, a Past President of the Wilson Ornithological Society, and a Life Fellow of the American Ornithologist's Union, was elected to Honorary Memberships in the ornithological societies of most of the countries she visited. These included Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands. She was a much-admired corresponding member of the Hungarian Institute of Ornithology. In Toronto, Canada, The Margaret Nice Ornithological Club was formed in her honor.
Though widely known as "The Song Sparrow Lady," she was more than the ultimate authority on the Song Sparrow and probably the most famous woman ornithologist in the world. A trained zoologist, active environmentalist and prodigious letter writer, she was also a loving wife and mother.