A Postscript on the Bristle-thighed CurlewBy
The discovery by David Allen and Henry Kyllingstad in 1948 of the first nest and eggs of the Bristle-thighed Curlew was a big deal in the world of American ornithology. On the death of Arthur Allen in 1964, the obituary by Sewall Pettingill made conspicuous mention of this, Allen’s “most notable postwar expedition,” and noted that among the honors accruing to the team was the Burr Award from the National Geographic Society.
I was puzzled that nowhere in any of the sources on Kyllingstad or Warren Petersen was that prestigious award mentioned. Did the entire expedition really receive the award, as Pettingill says?
This morning I heard from the National Geographic Society:
our records only name Dr. Allen as the award recipient, and our grants database does not list other members of the Alaska expedition.
It’s impossible at this remove to say what’s fair and what wasn’t.