Ten thousand birds: ornithology since Darwin.

Ten thousand birds: ornithology since Darwin. Tim Birkhead, Jo Wimpenny, Bob Montgomerie.
Ten thousand birds: ornithology since Darwin.

Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014. Octavo, dustwrapper, colour and black and white photographs, illustrations, maps.

Provides an engaging and authoritative history of modern ornithology, describing the visionary and often-controversial personalities who have influenced the study of birds, and the unique social and scientific contexts in which these extraordinary individuals worked. This beautifully illustrated book opens in the middle of the nineteenth century when ornithology was a museum-based discipline focused almost exclusively on the anatomy, taxonomy, and classification of dead birds. It describes how in the early 1900s pioneering individuals such as Erwin Stresemann, Ernst Mayr, and Julian Huxley recognized the importance of studying live birds in the field, and how this shift thrust ornithology into the mainstream of the biological sciences. The book tells the stories of eccentrics like Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, and describes the breathtaking insights and discoveries of ambitious and influential figures such as David Lack, Niko Tinbergen, Robert MacArthur, and others who through their studies of birds transformed entire fields of biology. This book brings this history vividly to life through the work and achievements of those who advanced the field. Drawing on a wealth of archival material and in-depth interviews, this fascinating book reveals how research on birds has contributed more to our understanding of animal biology than the study of just about any other group of organisms.

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