Neighbors to the Birds: A History of Birdwatching in America

Felton Gibbons, Author, Deborah Strom, With W. W. Norton & Company $18.95 (364p) ISBN 978-0-393-02606-1
Strom ( Birdwatching with American Women ) and Gibbons ( Dosso and Battista Dossi: Court Painters at Ferrara ), here concentrating on amateur bird watchers rather than ornithologists, attempt a social history of birding in the United States. The study covers early American naturalists, the development of the Audubon movement, the art and literature of birds, controversies over the psychology of animal behavior, conservation movements, and manuals for birders. There are strong chapters on naturalists Alexander Wilson, John James Audubon, John Burroughs and John Muir, and perceptive commentaries on the art of bird painting, but the book covers so many topics that it lacks unity. In addition, one would wish for discussion of some of the fine writing by contemporary naturalists rather than the tedious final chapters on field guides, birding tours, listings of contests and the like. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
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