Dr. Dale A. Zimmerman Contributed to the Field of Ornithology Globally

© Western New Mexico University

WNMU professor emeritus Dr. Dale A. Zimmerman leaves a legacy that extends globally.

The distinguished ornithologist, botanist, lepidopterist, photographer and bird illustrator taught biology, ornithology, zoology and systematic botany at WNMU from 1957 to 1988 while actively studying and maintaining records of birds in New Mexico and across the world.

Dr. Zimmerman’s WNMU students and colleagues have played prominent roles in pursuing avian biology. With our herbarium in Harlan Hall being named after him, WNMU continues to honor Dr. Zimmerman’s life work by welcoming students, faculty and researchers in pursuit of botanical studies.

Dr. Zimmerman authored over 100 scientific publications primarily on birds but including plants and mammals. The primary illustrator of his books, Dr. Zimmerman is best known for Birds of New Guinea, co-authored with Bruce Beehler and Thane Pratt; The New Mexico Bird Finding Guide; and The Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania, and his memoir “Turaco Country: Reminiscences of East African Birding” details a half century of ornithological investigations in East Africa, which he considered a second home.

While a professor and head of the biology department at WNMU, Dr. Zimmerman was awarded a national science grant allowing him to explore birdlife at a time when the subject had seen little investigation.

The New Mexico Ornithological Society’s F.M. Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award winner was always recognized by the American Birding Association with the prestigious Ludlow Griscom Award for Contributions in Regional Ornithology.

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