George Celebrates Alexander Wilson

George at Abbey Bridge.George lodged a parliamentary motion remembering one of Paisley’s lesser known sons.  Most Buddies will know about Alexander Wilson from the statue outside the town hall – one of the world’s most dedicated ornithologists.




Motion Number: S4M-06942
Lodged By: George Adam
Date Lodged: 11/06/2013

Title: Alexander Wilson, Poet and Father of American Ornithology

Motion Text:

That the Parliament recognises the 200th anniversary of the death of the poet and ornithologist, Alexander Wilson, who was born in Paisley in 1766 and attended Paisley Grammar School; notes then he went on to be an apprentice weaver and develop an interest in poetry; understands that one of his poems was originally thought to be the work of Robert Burns and that another, The Shark, or Lang Mills Detected, a protest about mill owners at the time of the French revolution, resulted in him serving a jail sentence; notes that, after emigrating to the USA in 1773, Wilson became interested in the birdlife of the country; understands that this led to him carrying out a 1,200 mile expedition on foot from Philadelphia to Niagara in which he recorded all of the bird species that he observed; notes that this led to the publication of his work, American Ornithology, which ran to nine volumes; believes that this was the first publication to describe and fully illustrate all of the bird species in the USA and that this led to Wilson being described as the Father of American Ornithology; notes that he died prior to the publication of the final volume, and considers that his work is still recognised as important around the world today.