A History of Birdwatching in 100 Objects
This eclectic guide has been produced by the Birdwatch team of David Callahan (author) and Dominic Mitchell (editor). It looks at 100 key objects that profoundly shaped the way in which people have watched, studied and engaged with the avian world from pre-history to the modern day. From representatives of birds on caves, tomb walls, and in paintings, to the technical developments such as binoculars, telescopes and cameras that enabled humans to watch and record birds more effectively, to more surprising and off-the-wall objects, this is a unique perspective on the world of birds and those who watch them. This historical overview features;
- cave paintings of flightless birds dating back more than 40,000 years
- the Geese of Meidum, an ancient Egyptian ‘field guide’
- the iconic but inaccurate stuffed Dodo at the Horniman Museum
- the 200-year-old Sytema naturae that created an effective system for organising species and is still in use today
- the camera obscura, the forerunner of modern photography
- the egret plume hats that inspired the formation of the RSPB
- the Danish schoolteacher’s bird ring that allowed tracking of migratory bird movements worldwide
And many more, including key publications, developments such as walkie talkies and answering machines, DSLRs and mobile phones, paging devices and websites – all of which contributed crucially to our knowledge of and engagement with birds.
David Callahan is an active birdwatcher and staff writer at Birdwatch magazine, and writes regularly on all aspects of birding.
Dominic Mitchell is managing editor of Birdwatch magazine. His books include Where to Watch Birds in the London Area, Birdwatching: the ultimate guide to the birds of Europe, and Photographic Handbook to the Rare Birds of Britain and Europe. He writes a regular blog, Birding Etc with Dominic Mitchell.