Skip to main content

Dwain W. Warner papers

Identifier: ua01177


Collection contains the papers of Dwain W. Warner, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Behavioral Biology and Curator of Ornithology at the University of Minnesota. Contents consist of records that document Warner’s education and career in the fields of ornithology, zoology, and ecology.


  • 1940s-1920s


Language of Materials

Collection material in English

Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Note

Dr. Dwain Willard Warner was born in Revere, Minnesota on September 1, 1917. He studied botany at Carleton College, where he obtained a B.A. in 1939. Warner pursued graduate studies in zoology at Cornell University which included field research on migratory birds in Mexico in 1941 and 1942. Following service in the South Pacific during World War II, he returned to Cornell to complete his studies, and was employed as a laboratory assistant and instructor in zoology while completing his Ph.D., which was awarded in 1947. (1)

Warner was appointed Assistant Professor of Zoology and Curator of Ornithology in the Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 1947. (2) In this role, he taught courses, gave public lectures, developed the scientific specimen collection, and conducted research. Warner pursued fieldwork in Mexico and Minnesota throughout his career to study seasonal migration and habitat ecology.

In 1958, Warner collaborated with engineers in the Institute of Technology to develop a system of radio tracking to study animal behavior. The initial research, which was supported by a grant from the Hill Family Foundation, was conducted at the Cedar Creek Natural History Area, a science reserve owned and operated by the University. (3)

Warner expanded on this work in biotelemetry in the following years, collaborating with colleagues in the physical sciences to study both birds and mammals. Warner was promoted to Associate Professor for the 1957-1958 academic year, and became Professor and Curator of Ornithology in 1968. (4)

Beyond his role at the University, Warner consulted on the preparation of multiple environmental assessments for developments planned by private industry and government agencies. From 1984-1986, while serving as environmental director of the Belwin Center near Afton, Minnesota, Warner and his research partners conducted a multi-season study using nets and banding to observe whether diminished habitat vegetation could produce sustainable food resources for migratory birds.

Warner retired from the University in 1986 as Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Behavioral Biology and Curator of Ornithology. In subsequent years, he continued to work on environmental studies and travelled multiple times to Africa, where he engaged in further studies of animal behavior. Dwain W. Warner passed away on September 30, 2005. (5)


(1) Biographical File, Warner, Dwain W., Information files collection, University Archives.
(2) Board of Regents Meeting Minutes: September 27, 1947.
(3) For background on the history of the Cedar Creek (Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve), see "History of the Cedar Creek Natural History Area," Hodson, A.C., 1985.
(4) Biennial Report of the President and of the Board of Regents, 1956-1958.; Biennial Report of the President and the Board of Regents, 1968-1970; University of Minnesota Budgets, 1968-1969.
(5) Biographical File


2.5 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)

Dwain W. Warner papers
Rebecca Toov
April 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • March-April 2021: Contents list added; Notes updated

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area