This eclectic guide looks at 100 key objects that profoundly shaped the way in which people have watched, studied and engaged with the avian world from pre-history to the modern day. From representations of birds on caves, tomb walls and in paintings, to the technical developments such as binoculars, telescopes and cameras that enabled humans to watch and record birds more effectively, to more surprising and off-the-wall objects, this is a unique perspective on the world of birds and those who watch them. This historical overview features:
- cave paintings of flightless birds dating back more than 40 000 years
- the Geese of Meidum, an ancient Egyptian 'feld guide'
- the iconic but inaccurate stuffed Dodo at the Horniman Museum
- the 200-year-old Sytema Naturae that created an effective system for organizing species and is still in use today
- the camera obscura, the forerunner of modern photography
- the egret plume hats that inspired the formation of the RSPB
- the Danish schoolteacher’s bird ring that allowed the tracking of migratory bird movements worldwide
and many more, including key publications, developments such as walkie talkies and answering machines, DSLRs and mobile phones, paging devices and websites – all of which contributed crucially to our knowledge of and engagement with birds.