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Catesby's Birds of Colonial America

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About the Author

Alan Feduccia is S. K. Heninger Professor Emeritus and former chair of the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His books include The Age of Birds, The Origin and Evolution of Birds, and Birds of Colonial Williamsburg.


English naturalist Mark Catesby presented Europeans with their first comprehensive view of American flora and fauna. He had traveled extensively in the southern colonies and the Caribbeana five-year period starting in 1712, and a later four years beginning in 1722gathering seeds, drawing wildlife and observing their habits. Though his Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands was well known in its time, it was superseded by the works of Alexander Wilson and Audubon. Feduccia, author of The Age of Birds, rescues Catesby from oblivion with a fresh appreciation of his pioneering studies. Here are all the bird illustrations and the entire text of Catesby's book (parts of it borrowed from John Lawson's New Voyage to Carolina). Catesby used native plants as a background for his birds; his descriptions, made before the era of systematic nomenclature, are augmented by Feduccia and compared to those of other early naturalists. This glimpse of colonial ornithology will attract historians as well as birders. November 15

ÝB eautiful in the simple accuracy of its drawings and historically interesting for its pictures and descriptions of species now extinct."New Yorker"

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