EDWIN R. KALMBACH D.Sc.
Dr. Kalmbach was one of the nation's
leading wildlife biologists: a research scientist, scholar,
writer, administrator, conservationist and inventor. He is
listed in biographical encyclopedias as an ornithologist and
mammalogist; he has an international reputation as an economic
biologist; he was a fine photographer and wildlife artist.
He asked the author not to go
overboard in recounting his achievements-that it was all in
the day's work and he had fun doing it. However, even a minimum
listing is impressive.
He was born on April 29, 1884
in Grand Rapids Michigan. He married in 1908 and has three
children. He is now a widower.
Dr. Kalmbach's first job was
as Assistant Director of the Kent Science Museum, from 1903
to 1910. In July 1910 he joined the Biological Survey, U.
S. Department of Agriculture, predecessor agency of the Fish
and Wildlife Service, as a biologist. His work at this time
consisted of making field studies and authoritative reports
on the crow, blackbird, magpie, starling, house sparrow, and
other wildlife; these were a significant contribution to our
knowledge of wildlife and established a firm factual foundation
for conservation work and wildlife management.
In 1928 Dr. Kalmbach was assigned
to a particularly serious and baffling wildlife problem. His
research soon led to the discovery of avian botulism, a devastating
malady of western waterfowl; this, combined with other findings,
formed the basis of a telling campaign against duck sickness.
The Fish and Wildlife Service
had a newly established food-habits laboratory in Denver,
and in 1932 Dr. Kalmbach was sent there as its Director. For
eight years his attention was focused on problems relating
to bird depredations.
The Denver Wildlife Research
Laboratory was set up under his guidance in 1940, and here
techniques were developed for controlling nuisance animals
with a minimum of harm to beneficial wildlife. He often showed
a great inventiveness in improvising mechanisms to be used
in research, thus earning his appellation as an inventor.
At the same time, he was doing a great deal of writing-he
is the author of more than 40 publications and wildlife illustration,
including the design of a duck stamp.
Dr. Kalmbach chose the ruddy
ducks for his duck stamp because it is the only North American
specie in which the drake commonly stays with the female and
ducklings during their downy-young period. He featured the
brood because it represents the purpose for which duck stamp
funds are used: the perpetuation and enhancement of the species.
When Dr. Kalmbach retired from
the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1954, after more than 43
years of public service, he received the highest honor the
Department of the Interior can bestow: the Distinguished Service
Soon after his retirement, the
University of Colorado conferred upon him the honorary degree
of Doctor of Science in recognition of his outstanding record
as a research biologist.
Dr. Kalmbach also received one
of the most coveted awards in wildlife conservation, an honor
that has been conferred upon only one other duck stamp artist,
J. N. Darling. It is the Leopold Medal, presented to him by
the Wildlife Society at the annual meeting in St. Louis in
1958. He was cited for outstanding work in the fields of conservation
and wildlife management. Another fine award he got in the
same year was the Founder's Award of the Izaak Walton League-a
Dr. Kalmbach was a member of
the American Society of Mammalogists; Cooper Ornithologists
Society; Wilson Society of Ornithologists; a fellow of the
Ornithologists Union; and an honorary member of the Wildlife