The study of birds was, in its early years, often driven by passionate amateurs in a localized context. A History of Oregon Ornithology takes readers from the Lewis and Clark expedition, through the professionalization of the field, and to the mid-twentieth century, focusing on how birding and related amateur field observation grew outside the realms of academia and conservation agencies.
Editors Alan Contreras, Vjera Thompson, and Nolan Clements have assembled chapters exploring the differences and interplay between the amateur and professional study of birds, along with discussions of early birding societies, notable observers, and ornithological studies. The book includes chapters on such significant ornithologists as Charles Bendire, William L. Finley, Ira Gabrielson, Stanley Jewett, and David B. Marshall. It also notes the sometimes-overlooked contributions of women to our expanding knowledge of Western birds. Special attention is paid to the development of seabird observation, the impact of the Internet, and the rise of digital resources for bird observers.
Intended for readers interested in the history of Oregon, scientific explorations in the West, and the origins of modern birding and field ornithology, A History of Oregon Ornithology offers a detailed and entertaining account of the study of birds in the Pacific Northwest.
Alan L. Contreras, now retired from a career in higher education, is a writer, editor, and birder. His numerous books include Birds of Oregon: A General Reference and Afield: Forty Years of Birding the American West.
Vjera E. Thompson was an early volunteer with the BirdNotes database. She is a reviewer for the eBird database and a local data organizer for the Christmas Bird Count.
Nolan M. Clements is a young ornithologist who received his BS in fisheries, wildlife, and conservation science from Oregon State University, where he was a recipient of the Robinson Ornithology Fellowship.