Portrait of Thomas McIlwraith (1824 – 1903). Source: Wikimedia Commons Thomas McIlwraith, businessman and ornithologist, was born on 26 December, 1824, in Newton upon Ayr, Scotland. He emigrated to Hamilton, Upper Canada, late in 1853, becoming manager of the local gas works. He retired in the 1880s.

McIlwraith is chiefly remembered as a pioneer ornithologist and author of Birds of Ontario (1886, revised 1894). However, he was also a valued member of the Hamilton Scientific Association for many years, serving as librarian and curator of collections for 15 years, vice president in 1860-61 and president in 1880-81.

For more details, see the essay on McIlwraith in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Volume 13.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Attributed to "The Auk (1904)".