Clements earned his Ph.D. from California Western University in 1975. His thesis became the first edition of his Birds of the World, A Checklist. In addition to his work as partner in a California printing firm, he also found time to support causes dear to his naturalist’s heart. He even has a bird named after him—the critically-endangered Iquitos Gnatcatcher (Polioptila clementsi) discovered in 2005 and found only in one national preserve in Peru. Dr. James Franklin Clements was a man of multiple interests and talents. Cornell Lab of Ornithology director John Fitzpatrick says in the introduction to the 6th Edition of the Clements Checklist, “Jim Clements was an energetic man of the world, who might have been called larger-than-life had he lacked his genuine warmth and infectious, friendly grin…He was an explorer and a communicator, who opened up the world of birds and birding to countless legions of people in all walks of life and on every continent.”
James Clements passed away on June 9, 2005, from complications associated with acute myeloid leukemia. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World is a colossal achievement and a fitting tribute to a man who devoted a lifetime to the study of birds and nature.