He was born Percy Algernon Fowler in Guelph, Ontario in 1875. When his parents separated and his mother remarried, he took on his new parent's surname. Taverner, a self-taught naturalist, was the first ornithologist at the National Museum of Canada, now the Canadian Museum of Nature, from 1912 to 1942. He helped establish Point Pelee National Park and a number of bird sanctuaries across Canada, including Bonaventure Island. As an architect, Taverner designed in Chicago, Detroit and Ottawa, including homes on Rosedale Avenue and Leonard Avenue in Ottawa. He died in Ottawa in 1947 and is buried in Beechwood Cemetery. Taverner is the subject of a biography titled "A Life With Birds: Percy A. Taverner, Canadian Ornithologist".