Born in Lymington, Hampshire, England, on December 27, 1832, Blakiston served with the Royal Artillery in the Crimea. Appointed as magnetic observer to the Palliser expedition in 1857, Blakiston traveled inland from Hudson Bay to reach Cumberland House on October 4 and Carlton on October 23, 1857. He carried out daily magnetic and meteorological observations at Carlton from November 12, 1857, to April 16, 1858. In addition, he recorded 129 species of birds, taking specimens of 100 of them. He wrote down the world's first record of the nests (with four and five eggs) of the ferruginous hawk near the Anerley lakes on April 29 and 30, 1858. He left Carlton about June 10 and Fort Pitt, in what is now Saskatchewan, at the end of June. On his return from surveys of Rocky Mountain passes, he stayed at Carlton from October 23 to December 27, 1858, and then walked on snowshoes to the Red River in Manitoba. From 1861 to 1884, he was the foremost expert on the birds of Japan. He moved to California in 1884 and died at San Diego on October 15, 1891.
C. Stuart Houston