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The Linnaean Society, a New York-bused group of naturalists, this week awarded the first Eugone Eisenmann Modal for Excellent in Ornithology to Emat Mayr, professor of Zoology emeritus.

Mayr is a noted authority on birds of New Guinea and the South Pacific, which he studied extensively as curator of the department or ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History before coming to teach at Harvard in 1953.

"I was happy and proud, naturally," Mayr said yesterday. "I knew Dr. Elsenmann for many years, and I am happy to be the first recipient of the award named after him."

Mayr has in the past worked closely with the Linnaean Society, and recently initiated a seminar program there to introduce aspiring ornithologists to the current ornithological literature, Mayr said. He also helped the society to publish an important monograph on the song sparrow.

The Eisenmann Medal will be awarded annually to the scientist who has done the most to help amateur ornithologists, and to contribute to biological science.

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