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The first modern history of ornithology, tracing its development from the 17th century, concentrating on those figures who have been most influential in the development of this science as well as other lesser-known figures. The book begins by surveying writings on birds by the ancient Chinese, Greeks, and Romans and by individuals writing during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Age of Exploration. It then assesses such ornithological pioneers as Linnaeus, Brisson, and Buffon. Subsequent chapters discuss the expeditions of the eighteenth century; the work of the Germans and the Dutch; the beginnings of ornithology in America; the development of nineteenth-century systems of classification; the new theories that emerged from the Far East; and the great advances made in the twentieth century.
Michael Walters is Curator of birds' eggs at the Natural History Museum, Tring, UK. He is the author of several books and many scientific papers, and has long had a special interest in the history of ornithology.