In 2003 Prof. Jon Fjeldså wrote in the Journal of the Danish Ornithological Society (DOFT 97: 273)
Johannes Erritzøe honorary doctor of science
The title of honorary doctor of science is a mark of distinction for a life-long scientific achievement. Normally it is awarded to persons outside the traditional research environment who have against all odds influenced the development of a research field. Johannes Erritzøe (better known as Johs) may not be so well-known in Danish ornithological circles, but actually this tells more about the orientation of ornithology in this country than about Johs' achievement. He is an adherent of the old school, where ornithology was built on collections, and as is well known Danish - and European ornithology for the matter - have for a long time been looking in other directions. So it was no wonder that Johs gained his honorary D. Sc.degree in the USA, more precisely from the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, where he was promoted by Prof. Kevin Winker. For, unlike in Europe, opineon in the USA has 'recovered' from the resistance of the 60s against collecting and the concomitant single-minded preoccupation with ecology and behaviour. The Americans have realised that it is still necessary to build up collections of bird skins labelled with detailed information. Accordingly, Johs' contribution is valued because it sets a new standard in the area.
Johs started his career at the Zoological Museum in Copenhagen. But after some time he realised that the time when museums used professional collectors was past, and therefore he began preparing birds for private people. For many years he had the largest taxidermist firm in Denmark and later he became the manager of the largest firm in Germany within this sector until he established himself in The Old Rectory in Taps.
Taxidermy is an exacting craft. Among other things it requires that, like the field ornithologists, one has a feeling for the 'jizz' of the species, that one can concretize these feelings and in this way make the dead body alive again. But Johs' work extends far beyond normal taxidermist ingenuity, seeing that he has also built up important collections of bird skins, e.g., a collection of approx. 1,000 Danish House Sparrows. Possibly, the really unique feature in this connection is his carefully labelling and cataloguing of information, which, over and above the basic data notes the cause of death, physical condition, food content, and the condition of each organ and its mass. These data have been the basis of many of his 53 scientific papers, and his comprehensive co-operation with Prof. Anders Pape Møller on asymmetry as an indication of the immune system defence and 'fitness'.
Johs became a member of the Danish Ornithological Society (DOF) in
1947, and is today actively engaged in DOF, South Jutland branch, and
as book review editor for the DOF Journal (DOFT). He has a highly extensive
correspondence with ornithologists from all over the world. In 1998
he published a monograph on pitas, which with great accuracy compils
the references in world literature to these birds, but also contributs
original material based on bird skins and the observation of captive
birds (reviewed in DOFT 93: 182, 1999). Most recently he has written
the chapter about the pittas in the Handbook of the Birds of the World,
and is now working on a monograph on the cuckoos of the world. More
about Johs work can be seen on his web site www.birdresearch.dk.