Margaret Morse Nice

Margaret Morse Nice
Margaret Morse Nice.jpg
Nice studying a nest of baby field sparrows (1956)
BornDecember 6, 1883
Amherst, Massachusetts
DiedJune 26, 1974(1974-06-26) (aged 90)
Chicago, Illinois
NationalityUnited States
Scientific career
FieldsOrnithology

Margaret Morse Nice (December 6, 1883 – June 26, 1974) was an American ornithologist who made an extensive study of the life history of the song sparrow and was author of Studies in the Life History of the Song Sparrow (1937).

Early life

Nice was born in Amherst, Massachusetts. The daughter of Anson D. Morse, Professor of History at Amherst College, and Margaret Duncan (Ely), she was the fourth child with two older brothers Ely and William, an elder sister Sarah, a younger sister Katherine and two younger brothers, Harold and Edward.[1]

In her autobiography Research Is a Passion With Me (1979), she wrote that "the most cherished Christmas present of my life came in 1895. Mabel Osgood Wright's Bird-Craft." This book had color illustrations of birds and it guided her to keep notes on local birds when she was twelve years old. With careful note making she was even able to compare her notes taken when she was 13 years old and compare the rates of fledgling success of young American robins, chipping sparrows, and least flycatchers 61 years later.[2]

She received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in 1906 and M.A. in biology from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1915. At Clark University she was only one of two women graduate students. During this time she produced the first comprehensive study on the diet of the northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus).[3]