This is the third blog post from a series titled: Motion Film Collection Highlight.
William J. Beecher served as the Director of the Chicago Academy of Sciences from 1958 to 1982. An ornithologist by trade — someone who studies birds — he was an avid birder, whether in the field or in his back yard. He also had an interest in photography and film.
During his tenure with the Academy, Beecher created educational motion films about local environments and animals that were shared with local groups and museum visitors. Beecher documented many local areas around Illinois, including the Indiana Dunes and Goose Lake Prairie, and was among the first to scientifically document many animal behaviors such as lekking in Prairie Chickens, now an endangered species in Illinois. Here are some still images and a film clip from the motion films created by Beecher in the CAS/PNNM collection.