Whose Bird?

Common Bird Names and the People They Commemorate

Bo Beolens and Michael Watkins; Foreword by Ben Schott

View Inside Price: $45.00


January 11, 2004
402 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
150 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300103595
Paper

A copublication with Christopher Helm/A&C Black

Is Bonaparte’s Gull named after Napoleon Bonaparte? Is the Pallas’ Sandgrouse named for the same individual as the Pallas’ Warbler? This entertaining book provides for the first time a mini-biography of every person after whom a bird has been named in the English vernacular—some 1,400 individuals. Featuring 150 illustrations, Whose Bird? is arranged in the style of an encyclopedia with entries indexed both by relevant individual and by bird.

The book concentrates on the people—heroes, romantics, fanatics, and many others. Entries explain who the people were, when and where they traveled, what else they did and were famous for, with whom they were connected, what they wrote and published, and how birds came to be named after them. Filled with fascinating stories about the lives and times of naturalists over the centuries, this accessible reference volume will intrigue readers at every level of interest in ornithology.

Bo Beolens is known to many as “the Fat Birder,” the creator and administrator of www.fatbirder.com, one of the biggest and most visited birding sites on the Internet. Michael Watkins is a Chartered Shipbroker and a seasoned birder who has traveled to many locations around the world.

"An appreciation develops for the social and scientific currency of names and the process of naming. . . . The bonus is that one realizes the potential for contributions that interested amateurs can make."—Alan Brush, Professor Emeritus, University of Connecticut

"It all makes good reading! . . . A book that can be enjoyed by anyone interested in birds. . . . I have discovered a great deal in this book, and I will continue to refer to it often. There is something in it of interest and value for anyone who enjoys birds."—Jon Ahlquist, coauthor of Phylogeny and Classification of Birds

"It will act as a resource for all levels of people interested in ornithology."—Noble Proctor, Ph.D., Ornithologist

"This informative, well written, even humorous, book will be enjoyed by anyone interested in the people for whom birds have been named. . . . Many an entertaining evening awaits the reader."—Dan Tallman, South Dakota Bird Notes

“A delightfully original book full of wonderful anecdotes and a rich sense of the history that all birders share. Much like an encyclopedia, this book covers the 1400 individuals who have birds named after them in the English vernacular. . . . This book covers it all—who knew who, who was involved in various boondoggles and schemes, who was paying tribute to who, who was writing, who was traveling, and so much more. In addition, this book has fun by pulling together quirky, though relevant sidebars.”—Dave Lukas, Surfbirds.com

“For those of you who love trivia or are keen naturalists preferably both, this is a fun book.”—Roy John, The Canadian Field-Naturalist

"This is a fine historical documentation of the reasons why some birds carry human names."—Robert E. Hoopes, Wildlife Activist