H. Douglas Pratt (Doug) is an independent ornithologist, illustrator, author, musician, and specialist on the birds of the tropical Pacific, who currently lives in Cary (a Raleigh suburb), North Carolina. Born in 1944 in Charlotte NC, he attended South Mecklenburg High School (Valedictorian 1962), Davidson College (where he was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2001) and Louisiana State University, where he earned a Ph. D. in zoology in 1979. From 1980-2005 he was a Staff Research Associate of the LSU Museum of Natural Science. He was elected a Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union (now American Ornithological Society) in 1993. In 2005, he became Research Curator of Birds at the NC State Museum of Natural Sciences, a position he held until July 2011. His scientific papers have appeared in such journals as Condor, Auk, Wilson Journal of Ornithology, Journal of Field Ornithology, Notornis, Studies in Avian Biology, ‘Elepaio, Micronesica, and The Living Bird, Pacific Science, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club, Western Birds, North American Birds. He is both senior author and illustrator of A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific (Princeton University Press 1987) and author/illustrator of The Hawaiian Honeycreepers: Drepanidinae (Oxford University Press 2005). His other major publications include Voices of Hawaii's Birds (2009), Pocket Guide to Hawaii's Birds (1996), Pocket Guide to Hawai‘i’s Trees and Shrubs (1999), Enjoying Birds and Other Wildlife in Hawaii (2002), Birds and Bats of Palau (with Mandy Etpison 2008), Pocket Guide to Hawai‘i's Birds and their Habitats (with Jack Jeffrey 2013), Pocket Guide to Hawai‘i's Wildlife (2014). Dr. Pratt is also as pioneer recordist of tropical Pacific bird sounds, and his recordings can now be accessed through the new online Birds of the World (see Links).

Illustration work: Because he has no formal art training, Dr. Pratt considers his illustrative work to be “a hobby that got out of hand.” His first illustrated book was G. H. Lowery's The Mammals of Louisiana and its Adjacent Waters (1974), soon followed by illustrations of birds and mammals for Encyclopedia Britannica (1975). He painted about a quarter of the illustrations in the National Geographic Society's Field Guide to the Birds of North America (1983-2002), which has become one of America’s best-selling field guides. His paintings have appeared in numerous periodicals including National Geographic, Audubon, Natural HistoryNational WildlifeScience, Evolution, The Auk, North American BirdsDefenders, Birding, BioScience, GEO (Germany), The Living BirdTerre Sauvage (France), Te Manu (Tahiti), and Western Birds. He has illustrated or co-illustrated many other full-length books and contributed to numerous others, including Ernst Mayr and Jared Diamond's Birds of Northern Melanesia (2001) and Phoebe Snetsinger’s memoir Birding on Borrowed Time (2003), and was chosen to complete the final plate for the posthumously published fifth edition of Roger Tory Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Beginning with Volume 5, Dr. Pratt was a contributing artist and author for the encyclopedic Handbook of Birds of the World and its online successor Birds of the World. He organized the exhibit “Art in Science: Zoological Illustration at LSU” at the LSU Museum of Natural Science (1997), and was co-chair of “The Ornithologist as Artist” at the North American Ornithological Congress in New Orleans (2002). His original artworks have been displayed in museums and galleries from Honolulu to New York, most recently (2008) in an exhibit shared with colleague John Sill at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. In 2018, he was chosen to illustrate the American Birding Association's Bird of the Year for 2019, the 'I'iwi, to honor the recent addition of Hawaii to the ABA Area.

Music: For a change of pace, Doug is an amateur musician who plays dobro and autoharp in local bluegrass/folk jams and semi-professionally. He learned autoharp from his paternal grandmother, Julia Foy Pratt, and in 2006 and again in 2019, he won the International Autoharp Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield KS. He is a founding member of the Triangle Autoharp Circle and the Triangle Folk Ensemble, who have performed at numerous events in the local community. In June 2011, Doug became the first recipient of the Cohen-Grappel Recording Endowment at the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering. The endowment financed the production of Pratt’s first CD, “You Can’t Play THAT on the Autoharp!” (see Music section for details). He has performed and taught workshops at the Northwest Autoharp Gathering (NWAG 2016), Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering (MLAG 2018), and Lagniappe Dulcimer Féte (2020).

Biographical Articles and Podcasts:Leonard Reid Award, Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering, 2010

2019, Walnut Valley Festival Interview

2019, KUAM Rlene "Live" Podcast

2018, February 1st, American Birding Podcast

2007, Spring, Davidson Journal

2005, May, LSU Museum Quarterly

2002, Baton Rouge Advocate

2000, October, LSU Today

1994, December/January, Making an Art of Science, National Wildlife

1990, May, Greenwich News
Distinguished Service to Profession and Community Award, Davidson College, 2001
1983, August, STAMPS

1967, August 28th, Charlotte Observer

R. M. Miller Jr. Memorial Scholarship, Davidson College, 1963

Associate Member, Sigma Xi (The Scientific Research Society of North America), LSU,1975
1st Place, Pencil, 50th Anniversary Wildlife Art Exhibition, Hawaii Audubon Society and Pacific Island Arts Gallery, 1989

2nd Place, Watercolor, 50th Anniversary Wildlife Art Exhibition, Hawaii Audubon Society and Pacific Island Arts Gallery, 1989

Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America, 1958

Cohen/Grappel Recording Endowment Grant, Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering, 2011

Program Award, Hawaii Audubon Society, 2009

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