This book focuses on the history of birdwatching and birders as well as field guides in America from the Victorian era to the present. It begins with Florence Merriam and her cohort, who published Birds through an Opera-Glass in 1889 to help people enjoy identifying birds in the field and emerged as the vanguard of what became Americans' favorite way to learn about nature. The book traces the development of birdwatchers' central activity, listing birds by their species based on natural history, which gave birdwatching a broad view of nature and tied nature to society. It looks at two important publications, Roger Tory Peterson's A Field Guide to the Birds, which made birdwatching a recreation for the masses, and Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, which ushered in environmental conservation and a third phase of field books.
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