Guide Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology since Darwin

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Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology Since Darwin by Tim Birkhead

Print Flyer Recommend to Librarian. More options … Overview Content Contact Persons. Frontmatter Pages i-iv. Download PDF. Contents Pages v-vi. Preface Pages vii-xx. Get Access to Full Text. Chapter 1.

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Chapter 2. The Origin and Diversification of Species Pages Chapter 3. This sets the scene for the pages which follow, a comprehensive exploration and analysis of ornithology during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, a riveting, entertaining, enlightening and frequently inspirational read. It is the history, science, art, and where necessary the politics of ornithology since Darwin to present day, each themed chapter skilfully leading the reader through the years. If anything the chapter titles give little away as to their contents and might fool a reader into thinking the text to be the dry and dust that history is reputed to be.

Far from it, each and every chapter makes for engaging, exhilarating and often exciting reading encompassing the day-to-day science, the exploration of ideas, the trials and tribulations of a workaday ornithologist and the sanity or otherwise of the early collectors whose egos or lust for fame led them to visit dangerous realms. I very much liked the topic based approach of the chapters, the main advantage being that each section can be read in isolation without detriment to the overall understanding and enjoyment of the whole book.

Each chapter opens with a superb coloured plate from artists such as Raymond Ching, Robert Bateman, Eric Ennion, Robert Gillmoor or Rodger McPhail to set the scene, and within the first few pages a handy at-a -glance graphical timeline to indicate the contents. I recommend that to fully appreciate where the ensuing pages will take them, a reader study the timeline summary before embarking upon the chapter.

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Bob Montgomerie

Recommended Blogs. A Breath of Nature. Bird ring Al-andalus. Birds and Nature in the Forest of Dean. Birds from Behind. Brendan Sheils Wildlife Blog. Dispatches from Can of Duck. El Nido de Rafa.

by Tim Birkhead, Jo Wimpenny, and Bob Montgomerie

Fleetwood Birder. Hakodate Birding. Well the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is almost here…………….

So here are a few seasonal pictures from years gone by………………all taken in nearby Onuma. Heysham Bird Observatory. It has dozens and dozens of pages of notes and references. It has an appendix with a list of ornithologists. It has a separate appendix with a list of ornithologies.


That's all nice but the meat of the book is in those long intense chapters. These chapters provide a very thorough, detailed, and fascinating history of ornithology, often focusing on the ornithologists, their quirks, their visions, the contexts in which they worked, and their findings. So, yes, this is a history of the science. The story starts when birds first flew into the field of evolutionary biology, or perhaps, were captured by it, and traces the history of biology from a birds eye's point of view, including the development of the modern synthesis, and on to the behavioral revolution of Lack, the conceptual revolution of Tinbergen, and the ecological reframing of MacArthur.

This could serve as a very readable core of a college elective in the history of science, though it is certainly not a textbook. Richly illustrated, well written, engaging. Tim Birkhead is a professor of zoology at Sheffield, and has done major bird research. Jo Wimpenny is a bird researcher at Sheffield. By gregladen on September 13,