W. R. Sullivan

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W. R. (Robert) Sullivan was the inventor of an early hummingbird feeder as well as an advocate for banding hummingbirds and hummingbirds living in zoos.

In 1932, Sullivan invented a hummingbird feeder designed to prevent other birds or insects from drinking from it, which he produced and sold locally around Kerrville, Texas.[1][2] He used both Heinz vinegar bottles and IV bottles for his feeders.[3] No later than 1936, Sullivan had hung a hummingbird feeder outside his patient room at Veterans Administration Hospital at Legion, Texas, near Kerrville.[3][4] In total, he had placed around 25 of these feeders around the hospital's grounds.[4][5] In 1939, Sullivan noted that hummingbirds would drink one US quart (950 ml) of the sweetened water solution he put in his feeder every day. His feeder design was used by both fellow patients at the hospital as well as residents of Kerrville.[2]

In 1936, Sullivan applied for a bird-banding permit for black-chinned hummingbirds, but was rejected by F. C. Lincoln of the Division of Wildlife Research with the rationale that hummingbirds were so small that it was impossible to create properly fitting bands for them.[6]

In July 1941, Sullivan attempted to airmail hummingbirds from Texas to the New York Zoological Park in New York City, but the birds died in transit.[7] In May 1942, Sullivan successfully shipped black-chinned hummingbirds from Legion to Forest Park Zoo in Fort Worth, Texas.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sullivan, W. R. "W. R. Sullivan letter to John Imirie" (June 21, 1940). W. R. Sullivan Papers. Austin, Texas: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. 85-168.
  2. ^ a b "Annual Pilgrimage of Mexican Humming Birds Back to Texas Noted, Legion Veteran States". Kerrville Mountain Sun. April 20, 1939. Retrieved July 27, 2021 – via Newspapers.com Free to read.
  3. ^ a b "W. R. (Robert) Sullivan, Legion, Texas". Tejas Hummingbird Feeders. Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Legion Hospital Is Humming-Bird Sanctuary Without Equal in State". The Kerrville Times. July 23, 1936. Retrieved August 25, 2021 – via Newspapers.com Free to read.
  5. ^ "Humming Birds, 'Tamed' By Legion Hospital Patients, Starting South for Winter" (PDF). Houston Chronicle. September 4, 1936. Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  6. ^ Lincoln, F. C. "F. C. Lincoln letter to W. R. Sullivan" (June 11, 1936). W. R. Sullivan Papers. Austin, Texas: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. 85-168.
  7. ^ Crandall, Lee S. "Lee S. Crandall letter to W. R. Sullivan" (July 21, 1941). W. R. Sullivan Papers. Austin, Texas: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. 85-168.
  8. ^ Sullivan, W. R. "W. R. Sullivan letter to H. Hittson" (May 22, 1942). W. R. Sullivan Papers. Austin, Texas: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. 85-168.