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Author Burtt, Edward H., Jr., 1948-
Title Alexander Wilson : the Scot who founded American ornithology / Edward H. Burtt, Jr., William E. Davis, Jr.
Imprint Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013.

Author Burtt, Edward H., Jr., 1948-
Subject Wilson, Alexander, 1766-1813.
Wilson, Alexander, 1766-1813. American ornithology -- Illustrations.
Ornithologists -- United States -- Biography.
Ornithology -- United States -- History.
Birds -- United States -- Pictorial works.
Alt Name Davis, William E., Jr., 1936-
Description 1 online resource (x, 444 pages) : illustrations (chiefly color)
Bibliography Note Includes bibliographical references (pages 429-432) and index.
Contents Themes in Wilson's life and writings -- A varied life -- Illustrating American ornithology -- Pioneer ornithologist -- Wilson's legacy -- Appendix A. On the shoulders of giants : Wilson's predecessors -- Appendix B. Wilson's contemporaries and correspondents.
Note Print version record.
Summary Audubon was not the father of American ornithology. That honorific belongs to Alexander Wilson, whose encyclopedic American Ornithology established a distinctive approach that emphasized the observation of live birds. In the first full-length study to reproduce all of Wilson's unpublished drawings for the nine-volume Ornithology, Edward Burtt and William Davis illustrate Wilson's pioneering and, today, underappreciated achievement as the first ornithologist to describe the birds of the North American wilderness. Abandoning early ambitions to become a poet in the mold of his countryman Robert Burns, Wilson emigrated from Scotland to settle near Philadelphia, where the botanist William Bartram encouraged his proclivity for art and natural history. Wilson traveled 12,000 miles on foot, on horseback, in a rowboat, and by stage and ship, establishing a network of observers along the way. He wrote hundreds of accounts of indigenous birds, discovered many new species, and sketched the behavior and ecology of each species he encountered. Drawing on their expertise in both science and art, Burtt and Davis show how Wilson defied eighteenth-century conventions of biological illustration by striving for realistic depiction of birds in their native habitats. He drew them in poses meant to facilitate identification, making his work the model for modern field guides and an inspiration for Audubon, Spencer Fullerton Baird, and other naturalists who followed. On the bicentennial of his death, this beautifully illustrated volume is a fitting tribute to Alexander Wilson and his unique contributions to ornithology, ecology, and the study of animal behavior.
On the bicentennial of his death, this beautifully illustrated volume pays tribute to the Scot who became the father of American ornithology. Alexander Wilson made unique contributions to ecology and animal behavior. His drawings of birds in realistic poses in their natural habitat inspired Audubon, Spencer Fullerton Baird, and other naturalists.
Note In English.
ISBN 9780674073739 (electronic bk.)
0674073738 (electronic bk.)
9780674072558 (alk. paper)
0674072553 (alk. paper)
ISBN/ISSN 10.4159/harvard.9780674073739
OCLC # 848895534
Additional Format Print version: Burtt, Edward H., Jr., 1948- Alexander Wilson. Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013 9780674072558 (DLC) 2012036742 (OCoLC)812067681

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