Of a Feather by Scott Weidensaul
A Brief History of American Birding

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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.

About Scott Weidensaul

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Author and naturalist Scott Weidensaul, who grew up in the heart of the old Eastern frontier, has written more than two dozen books, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds.
Published September 15, 2008 by Mariner Books. 369 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Sports & Outdoors, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Of a Feather

Kirkus Reviews

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Weidensaul traces the fascinating evolution of ornithology from a collection-oriented discipline based on shooting and stuffing birds to today’s science, oriented toward the observation of living birds.

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The New York Times

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a celebration of the creature that makes it all possible — the small, contained miracle that is a bird.” It’s this profound sense of otherness mingled with kinship that connects our experience of birds with that of people distant from us in space and time, people who couldn’t dream of a field gui...

Sep 09 2007 | Read Full Review of Of a Feather: A Brief History...

The New York Review of Books

Block Island, known for its rare birds, was one of the few places in the United States in 1970 where binoculars and a copy of Roger Tory Peterson’s A Field Guide to the Birds made one inconspicuous.

Nov 06 2008 | Read Full Review of Of a Feather: A Brief History...

Tucson Citizen

Weidensaul documents the fragile and diminishing ecosystems inhabited by birds, lists ways humans can best co-exist with our feathered friends and reveals how early birding may have contributed to the extinction of some species.

Aug 30 2007 | Read Full Review of Of a Feather: A Brief History...

A compelling story from Colonial times to the present by on

Sep 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Of a Feather: A Brief History...

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