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In the Field, Among the FeatheredA History of Birders and Their Guides$
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Thomas R. Dunlap

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199734597

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199734597.001.0001

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Birding in a Silent Spring

Birding in a Silent Spring

(p.147) Six Birding in a Silent Spring
In the Field, Among the Feathered

Thomas R. Dunlap

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines birding in the environmental age, with particular emphasis on the ways the gospel of environmental conservation changed the balance between conservation and recreation in the hobby and the ways ecological insights influenced field guides. It looks at three books that represent the early environmental years: Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Chandler Robbins and Arthur Singer's Birds of North America, and Kenn Kaufman's Kingbird Highway. The chapter first traces birdwatching in the early environmental years, focusing on the tension between conservation and recreation as well as conservation's transformation from a genteel concern with birds as something good in our lives to a staunch advocacy of the ecosystems on which both birds and humans depend. It then considers Carson's ideas and in particular the battle over DDT, in which birders such as Lorrie Otto and Joseph Hickey figured prominently. It also analyzes recreational birding, along with the emergence of a new generation of field guides and the growing national competition for a record list.

Keywords:   birding, environmental conservation, recreation, field guides, Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, Birds of North America, birdwatching, birds, DDT

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