John Hubbard was born in North Carolina, an Air Force kid who traveled with his parents, finishing high school in Silver City when his father retired. After a stint in the military, he attended Western New Mexico University where he was strongly influenced by Dale Zimmerman. He conducted his doctoral research on the relationship between Myrtle and Audubon’s Warblers at University of Michigan, receiving his Ph.D. in 1966. From 1966 – 1969 he worked on a Smithsonian Institution study of avian migration across the Mediterranean Sea. He was then the curator of a private collection of Harold H. Bailey at Rockbridge Alum Springs, near Blacksburg, Virginia from 1969 – 1971. From there he moved on to become Curator of Birds for Delaware Museum of Natural History from 1971 – 1974. During this time he sponsored important collecting trips to Mexico, and spent two summers traveling with his family and collecting in New Mexico. In 1974 John moved to New Mexico where he was employed by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish in the Endangered Species Program. He remained there until 1994 when he retired. He continues to serve as a Curatorial Associate in the Bird Division of the Museum of Southwestern Biology.
Even before John moved to New Mexico, he was contributing to the New Mexico Ornithological Society and New Mexico ornithology. He served as a co-editor of NMOS Field Notes from 1967 – 1974 from afar; when he moved to New Mexico he became the sole editor of Field Notes for several years and continued as a co-editor until 1981. He also served as editor of the NMOS Bulletin from 1976 – 1981 and as President of NMOS from 1979 – 1980.
During this time he also published many articles in the NMOS Bulletin, and he published a 1970 and 1978 version of the Check-list of the Birds of New Mexico. He contributed further to New Mexico and Southwest ornithology by compiling 17 years of Christmas Bird Counts (initially for New Mexico-Arizona-Nevada and eventually just for New Mexico (1973 – 1987). He also compiled over 60 seasons of reports for the Southwest Region for American Birds, often with co-authors (1975 – 1992).
In addition to the NMOS and other publications mentioned above, John has published many articles in peer-reviewed publications (The Condor, The Auk, Wilson Bulletin, Southwestern Naturalist, Western Birds, Living Birds, and American Birds) and professional reports for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Many of these contributed to ornithological knowledge around the world.
Because of Hubbard’s many years of gathering and dispensing avian information for New Mexico, we know much more about the status and distribution of birds in the state. Hubbard kept New Mexican ornithology alive and well during his long tenure in the state, and we know a great deal more about the unique avian resources here as a result.