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Gainesville Field Station Records --

Identifier: NWRC 0006

Scope and Contents

The Gainesville Field Station Records consists of 34 cartons of records, 37 boxes of slides, and 10 boxes of photographs dating from 1914 to 2017, with the bulk falling between the 1960s and early 2000s. Much of the research pertains to the southeastern United States, including FL, AL, GA, SC, MS, MO, TN, KY, AR, and LA. In addition to research data and reports related to birds, rodents, chemical toxicants, and bird damage to rice fields, materials in the collection include Hawaiian rat reports from the 1930s, studies on aircraft/bird hazards, aerial spraying, reports on chemical hazards to fish and non-target mammals, research on nonlethal bird control measures, annual work plans, administrative correspondence, newspaper clippings, and images.


  • 1914-2017


Biographical / Historical

The Gainesville, Florida, Field Station was established in 1944 in a small building in downtown Gainesville. At that time the field station was under the direction of the Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, MD. As leader of the field station, Henry “Jack” Spencer directed studies on determining the effects of rodent damage on the Florida sugarcane industry.

By the 1960s, the facility in Gainesville was no longer adequate for conducting wildlife research due to its proximity to the growing Gainesville population. In 1961, a 26-acre plot was acquired on the east side of Gainesville. The main office and laboratory building as well as the south aviary were constructed in 1963. By that time, Jim Caslick supervised the field station. During the 1960s, the field station’s principal mission focused on research and damage control methods for nuisance birds and mammals. As the result of an aircraft/bird collision at JFK in 1961 researchers at the Gainesville Field Station worked with researchers at Moody Air Force Base to research methods for reducing hazards posed to aircraft by birds.

In addition to the Gainesville facility, the field station operated a substation in Stuttgart, Arkansas, from 1958 through the early 1970s. Research at the substation focused on managing agricultural damage caused by birds and rodents. Telemetry studies at the station aided in understanding blackbird and vulture movements. Also in the 1970s, the Gainesville ecology section began research on marine mammals in response to the 1972 Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act. (In 1982, research into ecology and marine mammal studies shifted to the National Ecology Research Center in Gainesville.)

In 1976, management of the Gainesville Field Station was transferred from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center to the Denver Wildlife Research Center (DWRC). Under the leadership of the DWRC, the Gainesville Field Station continued to focus on bird damage to rice and blueberries, bird population movements, and roost dispersal. Since Florida hosts thousands of non-native species of plants, fish, and wildlife, their effects on sensitive plant communities, valuable archeological sites, and threatened species were added to Gainesville’s list of studies during the 1980s.

The Florida WS State Director's Office moved to the Gainesville office in 1993. Current facilities include a main building housing offices and laboratories, as well as three roofed outdoor aviaries for wild bird maintenance and research. In addition, eight 10’ x 30’ enclosures and two ½ acre flight pens provide natural environmental conditions for research.

From 1987 to 2017, Michael Avery led the field station as Project Leader, followed by Bryan Kluever in 2018. Research at the station currently focuses on developing methods to manage depredation, nuisance, and property damage problems associated with birds such as vultures and non-native invasive species such as feral pigs, Nile Monitors, Burmese pythons, black spiny-tailed iguanas, and monk parakeets.

Gainesville Field Station Leadership
Henry “Jack” Spencer, 1944-1963
Jim Caslick, 1963-1968
Paul Lefebvre, 1969-1972
Nicholas Holler, 1972-1984
David Decker, 1985-1986
Michael Avery, 1987-2017
Bryan Kluever, 2018-present


46 linear feet

2 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



The Gainesville, Florida, Field Station was established in 1944. The original mission of the field station involved the study of rodent damage to Florida sugarcane but evolved over the years to include research on controlling bird and mammal damage to rice, fruit, aquaculture, and other agricultural interests. The Gainesville Field Station Records contain materials dated from the 1940s through the early 2000s, including administrative records, images, and research records related to bird and mammal damage to crops, rodenticides, bird hazards to aircraft, telemetry, vulture management, chemical testing, and aerial spraying.


The Gainesville Field Station Records are arranged by series according to material type.

Series I: Gainesville Field Station Records, 1914-2004

Series II: Gainesville Field Station Images, 1932-2000

Series III: Digital Files from CDs, 2001-2010

Series IV: Bird Toxicant Research, 1963-1987

Series V: Florida Field Station Renovation and Addition Building Records, 2013-2017

Series VI: H.J. Spencer Images, 1935-1963

Series VII: John Humphrey Vulture Research and Images, 1997-2006

Series VIII: Lynn Lefebvre Publications and Images, 1976-1986

Series IX: Seed Treatment Research, 1993-1998

Series X: Reel to Reels, 1961-1985

Series XI: FWS Florida Field Station Building Contractor Records, 1963

Series XII: Cassette Tapes, 1974-1988

Series XIII: Slides, 1960-1999

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains born-digital items. Contact archivist for access

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Archives of the National Wildlife Research Center acquired the majority of the collection from the Gainesville Field Station in 2003. Additional materials were collected in 2014 and 2018. Accruals were processed and included in the collection in 2015-2023.

Separated Materials

Oversized folders are located in boxes 26 and 27 of Series I. A placement folder with seperation sheet resides where the folder should be in the collection.

Physical Description

Mostly good; some rusty staples and evidence of insect damage and rodent droppings. A number of photos curl at the edges.

Legal Status

Copyright restrictions may apply. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Processing Information

Processing included the removal and disposal of metal clips, rubber bands, and duplicate forms and publications. Papers and images were rehoused in acid-free folders, sleeves, and boxes. Most folder titles were supplied by the creators of the material, however, when necessary the archivist supplied titles.

Repository Details

Part of the National Wildlife Research Center Archives Repository

4101 LaPorte Ave
Fort Collins CO 80521 USA