John Adams was appointed as taxidermist and collector at the Albany Museum, Grahamstown, in 1861. He was the museum's first salaried official and earned £50 per year, paid out of an annual grant to the museum by the government of the Cape Colony. He mounted a large number of birds and mammals for display, especially during the first two years of his appointment.
During 1862 he collected some 28 birds for the museum, but in later years only occasional specimens are attributed to him: a large-spotted genet in 1864, a number of unspecified birds in 1866, and a shrike in 1868. The latter was presented via the Albany Natural History Society (1867-1875?), whose members collected extensively for the museum. At the society's meeting on 28 September 1868 this specimen and a shrike presented by another member were described in detail by the museum's honorary curator, B.J. Glanville.