Audubon to Xantus
B & R Mearns
Abert's Towhee, Gambel's Quail, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Virginia's Warbler and Xantus's Murrelet: names which are known to every North American ornithologist. But what of the people after whom these birds are named? Who were they? When did they live? Over 100 people are commemorated in the English and Latin names of North American birds. They make a fascinating assembly of travellers, explorers, collectors and taxonomists, as well as their wives, daughters and mentors. Although their claims to fame are diverse and capriciously determined by the chance and fashion of a developing taxonomy, their lives make as good a snapshot as any of the study of birds in Canada and the United States. Using archives in the Americas and Europe to complete their accounts the authors have provided portraits of the great majority. Acquaintance with this motley gallery of people cannot help but enrich the experience of seeing a new species or spotting an old friend at one's regular birding patch. The birds themselves have been beautifully illustrated in over 120 pictures by Dana Gardner 588 pages.
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