The Wyoming Room at the
Sheridan Fulmer Public Library
335 W. Alger St., Sheridan, WY 82801 Phone: 307-674-8585
Wyoming Room's Batchelder-Adams
Courtesy of The Wyoming Room, Sheridan County Public Library, Batchelder-Adams Collection Rodney Adams, photographer.
The Wyoming Room's Batchelder-Adams Digital Collection currently houses: 734 Digital photos and 179 data files matched to bird species. Please contact Debra Raver, The Wyoming Room at (307) 674-8585 ext. 126 for a list of bird species in the collection.
The Wyoming Room is grateful for the generous contribution of time and talent by Rodney Adams (primary photographer) and Ned Batchelder (data collector, hummingbird photographer) who worked as a team to make this collection possible.
Wyoming Room's Helen Downing Collection
This collection consists of 53 records (pertaining to slides, photographs, news clippings, computer disks, her publication manuscripts), all available for public viewing/research. Not all contents have been identified. However, Ned Batchelder completed a review for anyone curious about details, which can be seen below. At the moment this report constitutes the most thorough analysis of The Helen Downing Collection.
This report can also be found in the Wyoming Room Public Clipping files under ANIMALS, BIRDS, DOWNING COLLECTION REPORT.
Wyoming Room's Helen Downing Collection
The Helen Downing Bird Records
a review by Ned Batchelder 2022
(Local Hummingbird Interests)
The Helen Downing records are a great resource for those curious about Sheridan and Johnson County bird species, and the birding history. If conducting bird research in the area, the collection is well worth a look.
Helen published her book Birds of North-Central Wyoming (1990) and it can still be purchased or viewed today locally. The book also refers to more information available in The Wyoming Room at the popular Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library. She is also included as a co-author with an updated and expanded bird book (2013) including two other birding authors titled Birds and Birding in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains.
For those interested with looking deeper into the grass roots and first sources of the two local published bird books, the Helen Downing collected bird data, archived in several boxes, is a wonderful variety of information to roam through to confirm local bird species, historical records, compiled numbers, exact bird habitat locations, summaries, dates, and many other details of individual local bird species. There are also a few newspaper and magazine articles about her years of work with local bird species. Also found is annual correspondence with regional reporting of summarized data reported to American Birds in Denver Colorado.
For those local birders curious about birding history in the area, or interested perhaps in an individual bird species to research for a special study project, her many referenced files and various reports of bird are easy to search through and bird species and families are grouped in the standard order found in most any bird identification bird book. With this type of event, one would first view two gray boxes containing informative and condensed data of individual bird species file summaries recorded during the years of 1966-2001.
If one is searching for a local nesting Red eyed Vireo photo incubating, numbers of Loons or other waterfowl on a water surface say like at Lake De Smet, around rivers, creeks, riparian habitats, or in the higher mountains during certain months, that information can be viewed. And one can smile at employee reports of hard to count estimated individuals of colorful hummingbirds at the historic Eaton Ranch in the foothills where all “dudes” maintained multiple feeders to attract them.
All individual bird species data was finally condensed to publish her local bird book in north central Wyoming. Roaming though the many reports and files every year gives thoughts to her dedication and love of the many area bird species.
The gathering of bird data seems to have begun in 1966 and was carried on every year by two other local birders, Mr. Kessinger and later Mr. Hall. In 1976 Helen, one of the reporters to Mr. Hall at that time, became the new controller/organizer of the bird data. Along with assistance from several of her birding and reporting friends, she took the bull by the horns with her style of data gathering until around 2001, increasing reported bird species from close to 200 up to 327 of the approximate 437 bird species listed in the state of Wyoming. After she took over, some summaries were even generated four times a year during spring, summer, fall, and winter reports, plus annual, monthly detailed summaries and reports. Her observations and others reporting unique bird findings were continually gathered from communicating with fifty to one hundred birding observers at times; they included notes and details of individual behaviors, numbers of species counts, photos, comments about confirmed nesting species and locations, concerns with some species, documented, and observed dates, local or migrant species with expected arrivals and exiting dates, etc. Helen’s networking with local birders and friends led to valuable bird information, which was condensed into special reports and also shared with the state and many interested birders.
Of course, using the two local identification bird books she was much a part of, it becomes easier to find desired information quickly, but sifting through her meticulous written annual journals, written notes and comments makes one appreciate her tremendous efforts through the years confirming, recording, and documenting local vagrant, rare, breeding, migrating, common and uncommon local bird species. Reading original records of field notes of several bird species, labeled journals, and field notebooks of any birder are always most interesting.
Among the many reports and files organized within the collection, there are also several marked envelopes containing ten or so photographs (around 300 total with written notes and comments on the back) of specifics showing locations of bird habitats; some including perched or flying birds, of the area, etc. Nowadays the same area will show how much the bird habitat has changed; possibly that was what Helen was accomplishing to do with a photo reference of selected habitats to possibly be viewed in the future. We are currently spoiled with the new technology of taking photos/images of birds, but her efforts were most dedicated. About 200 individual projector slides for two different bird presentations she likely shared at times are also available to view, and also about ten floppy discs of stored data.