Birdwatching History

Birding in North America was focused in the early and mid-20th century in the eastern seaboard region, and was influenced by the works of Ludlow Griscom and later Roger Tory Peterson. Bird Neighbors (1897) by Neltje Blanchan was an early birding book which sold over 250,000 copies. It was illustrated with color photographs of stuffed birds.

Initially, birdwatching was a hobby practiced in developed countries such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, since the second half of the 20th century, an increasing number of people in developing countries have engaged in this activity. Transnational birding has played an important role in this, as citizens from developing countries that engage in birdwatching usually develop this pastime due to the influence of foreign cultures that already practice birding

Like the AOU in North America, the BOU had a focus mainly on collection based taxonomy. The BTO movement towards ‘organized birdwatching’, was opposed by the RSPB which claimed that the ‘scientification’ of the pastime was ‘undesirable’.

Increased mobility of birdwatchers ensured that books like Where to watch birds by John Gooders became best-sellers. The need for global guides to birds became more relevant and one of the biggest projects that began as the “Handbook of the Birds of the World” which started in the 1990s with Josep del Hoyo a country doctor in Catalonia, Jordi Sargatal, and ornithologist Andy Elliott.

The organization and networking of those interested in birds began through organizations like the Audubon Society that was against the killing of birds and the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU). The BTO saw the potential to produce scientific results through the networks, unlike the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) which like the Audubon Society originated from the bird protection movement.

The term “birdwatching” appeared for the first time as the title of a book “Bird Watching” by Edmund Selous in 1901. In North America, the identification of birds, once thought possible only by shooting was made possible by the emergence of optics and field identification guides. The earliest field guide in the US was Birds through an Opera Glass (1889) by Florence Bailey.

The need for global guides to birds became more relevant and one of the biggest projects that began as the “Handbook of the Birds of the World” which started in the 1990s with Josep del Hoyo a country doctor in Catalonia, Jordi Sargatal, and ornithologist Andy Elliott.

It was only in the late 19th century that the call for bird protection began leading to the rising popularity of observations on living birds. The Audubon Society was started to protect birds from the growing trade in feathers in the United States while the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds began in Britain.

It was only in the late 19th century that the call for bird protection began leading to the rising popularity of observations on living birds. The Audubon Society was started to protect birds from the growing trade in feathers in the United States while the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds began in Britain.

The organization and networking of those interested in birds began through organizations like the Audubon Society that was against the killing of birds and the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU). The BTO saw the potential to produce scientific results through the networks, unlike the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) which like the Audubon Society originated from the bird protection movement.