Ernst, a keen self-taught naturalist from childhood, became an avid egg collector in the flushing meadows and babbling streams of Konisberg, learnt to skin birds and would head off into the marshes on a whim. His researches as a young adult lead to the publication of the bird life of
He became an honorary member of the American Ornithologists’
To ignorant monoglot Brits (not pointing any fingers) it is actually his 1912 Hand-list of British Birds that remains the most enduring influence. Hartert was first author of four, the other three being the British Birds triumvirate of editors – Harry Witherby (Hero of the Birding Revolution), FCR Jourdain (future edition: Egg-collecting Hero of the Birding Revolution – not yet documented) and Norman Ticehurst (future edition: Hero of the Birding Revolution). I’ve pasted in a random page – looks pretty normal to us, but it is impossible to describe how revolutionary (at least in Europe) it was at the time, with subspecies recognised by use of trinomials, and strict adherence to the International Rules of Zoological Nomenclature, even when it meant changing a lot of well established scientific names. It was his advocacy, as one half of the Seebohm-Hartert axis, of the recognition of subspecies and the use of trinomials that changed
Ernst Johann Otto Hartert. At the turn of the 20th century you dragged European taxonomy kicking and screaming into a modern age, in the face of extraordinary resistance to the use and recognition of subspecies. You single-handedly managed the greatest logistical one-man taxonomic band ever known, in the shape of the Rothschild collection, and sorted out the mess left by other people’s attempts to organise their own collections, without which European taxonomy could not move on. For this you are recognised as a Hero of the Birding Revolution, first class.