Oology and Ralph's Talking Eggs: Bird Conservation Comes Out of Its Shell by Carrol L. HendersonOology and Ralph's Talking Eggs: Bird Conservation Comes Out of Its Shell by Carrol L. Henderson

Oology and Ralph's Talking Eggs: Bird Conservation Comes Out of Its Shell

byCarrol L. Henderson

Hardcover | October 15, 2007

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Before modern binoculars and cameras made it possible to observe birds closely in the wild, many people collected eggs as a way of learning about birds. Serious collectors called their avocation "oology" and kept meticulous records for each set of eggs: the bird's name, the species reference number, the quantity of eggs in the clutch, the date and location where the eggs were collected, and the collector's name. These documented egg collections, which typically date from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, now provide an important baseline from which to measure changes in the numbers, distribution, and nesting patterns of many species of birds.

In Oology and Ralph's Talking Eggs, Carrol L. Henderson uses the vast egg collection of Ralph Handsaker, an Iowa farmer, as the starting point for a fascinating account of oology and its role in the origins of modern birdwatching, scientific ornithology, and bird conservation in North America. Henderson describes Handsaker's and other oologists' collecting activities, which included not only gathering bird eggs in the wild but also trading and purchasing eggs from collectors around the world. Henderson then spotlights sixty of the nearly five hundred bird species represented in the Handsaker collection, using them to tell the story of how birds such as the Snowy Egret, Greater Prairie Chicken, Atlantic Puffin, and Wood Duck have fared over the past hundred years or so since their eggs were gathered. Photos of the eggs and historical drawings and photos of the birds illustrate each species account. Henderson also links these bird histories to major milestones in bird conservation and bird protection laws in North America from 1875 to the present.

Carrol L. Henderson has headed the Nongame Wildlife Program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources since 1977. He is an award-winning wildlife conservationist who has helped bring back eastern bluebirds, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, river otters, and trumpeter swans; an avid wildlife photographer whose images have appeare...
Title:Oology and Ralph's Talking Eggs: Bird Conservation Comes Out of Its ShellFormat:HardcoverDimensions:200 pages, 9.35 × 6.25 × 0.85 inPublished:October 15, 2007Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292714513

ISBN - 13:9780292714519

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Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Noble S. Proctor
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. The House of the Talking Eggs
  • 2. The Heyday of Oology: 1880-1918
  • 3. In the Beginning
  • 4. Early Exits from the Land: These Birds Were among the First to Go
  • 5. Wild Bird Eggs
  • 6. The Handsaker Egg Collection: Ralph's Talking Eggs
  • 7. One Hundred Years Later: An Iowa Perspective
  • 8. Scientific Value of Eggs and Egg Collections
  • Epilogue
  • Bibliography
  • Index