Tag Archive for bird books

Chester Reed

Frank Chapman’s illustrator was also responsible for his own series of pocket sized guides for beginning birders. Two oddly shaped little books appeared in 1905 and 1906,  published by Doubleday. They were long and narrow, about the size of a checkbook, each simply titled Bird Guide; one covered waterbirds, game birds, and raptors, and the other covered songbirds of North American from…

Color Key to North American Birds

Another step towards the modern field guide happened in 1903, when ornithologist and curator at the American Museum of Natural History Frank Chapman worked with illustrator Chester Reed to produce a book whose sole aim was “the identification of the bird in the bush”. Their Color Key to North American Birds (available here through Project Gutenberg) was the first to rely on…

Florence Merriam

Birding in Audubon’s time was about crazed amateurs tramping through an endless American wilderness, determined to draw every bird there was, or at least all the ones they could find. After Audubon his fans began to develop a professional class of bird enthusiasts, and the story behind birding shifted. Ornithology became a discipline, and men like  Spencer Fullerton Baird and Elliott Coues began developing departments…