Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding by Weidensaul Scott (2007-09-10) Hardcover

by Weidensaul Scott

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From the moment Europeans arrived in North America, they were awestruck by a continent awash with birds -- great flocks of wild pigeons, prairies teeming with grouse, woodlands alive with brilliantly colored songbirds. Of a Feather traces the colorful origins of American birding: the frontier ornithologists who collected eggs between border skirmishes; the society matrons who organized the first effective conservation movement; and the luminaries with checkered pasts, such as Alexander Wilson (a convicted blackmailer) and the endlessly self-mythologizing John James Audubon. Scott Weidensaul also recounts the explosive growth of modern birding that began when an awkward schoolteacher named Roger Tory Peterson published A Field Guide to the Birds in 1934. Today birding counts iPod-wearing teens and obsessive "listers" among its tens of millions of participants, making what was once an eccentric hobby into something so completely mainstream it's now (almost) cool. This compulsively readable popular history will surely find a roost on every birder's shelf.PRAISE FOR OF A FEATHER "At once gossipy and scholarly, Of a Feather recounts rivalries, controversies, bad behavior and other key episodes in the making of modern birding. Lively and illuminating, it has surprises, too." -- The Washington Post Book World "Weidensaul is a charming guide . . . You don't have to be a birder to enjoy this look at one of today's fastest-growing (and increasingly competitive) hobbies." -- The Arizona Republic… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member satyridae
I liked this book but it didn't make me into a birder. I really enjoy Weidensaul's writing, and he communicates his passion very well. I adored his other books. This one, however, was too much for me- too much history, too many characters, too much minutiae. Not to fault the book- Weidensaul's an excellent writer, and this is no exception. The fault is entirely mine.… (more)
LibraryThing member witchyrichy
A loving picture of birding from its beginnings with a special focus on the joy of being with birds rather than the thrill of the competitive bird lister.
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