Google full text of our books:


Ten Thousand Birds:
Ornithology since Darwin
Tim Birkhead, Jo Wimpenny & Bob Montgomerie

Winner of the 2015 PROSE Award in History of Science, Medicine & Technology, Association of American Publishers
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014

Hardcover | 2014 | $45.00 | £37.95 | ISBN: 9780691151977
544 pp. | 8 x 10 | 94 color illus. 60 halftones.
Add to Shopping Cart

eBook | ISBN: 9781400848836 |
Our eBook editions are available from these online vendors

Reviews | Table of Contents

Click here to sample selections from Ten Thousand Birds

Google full text of this book:

Authors' Home Page

Ten Thousand Birds provides a thoroughly engaging and authoritative history of modern ornithology, tracing how the study of birds has been shaped by a succession of visionary and often-controversial personalities, and by the unique social and scientific contexts in which these extraordinary individuals worked. This beautifully illustrated book opens in the middle of the nineteenth century when ornithology was a museum-based discipline focused almost exclusively on the anatomy, taxonomy, and classification of dead birds. It describes how in the early 1900s pioneering individuals such as Erwin Stresemann, Ernst Mayr, and Julian Huxley recognized the importance of studying live birds in the field, and how this shift thrust ornithology into the mainstream of the biological sciences. The book tells the stories of eccentrics like Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, a pathological liar who stole specimens from museums and quite likely murdered his wife, and describes the breathtaking insights and discoveries of ambitious and influential figures such as David Lack, Niko Tinbergen, Robert MacArthur, and others who through their studies of birds transformed entire fields of biology.

Ten Thousand Birds brings this history vividly to life through the work and achievements of those who advanced the field. Drawing on a wealth of archival material and in-depth interviews, this fascinating book reveals how research on birds has contributed more to our understanding of animal biology than the study of just about any other group of organisms.


"A definitive, accessible and sumptuously illustrated primer of biological theory past and present. . . . An inspiring and formidable resource for the historian as well as the fledgling scientist."--Helen Macdonald, Times Literary Supplement

"Compulsively readable."--Ben Sheldon, Nature

"Attention bird lovers: you will certainly want to add this attractive volume to your reference shelf. . . . What makes this book so desirable . . . is its authoritative review of the most pivotal discoveries in avifauna of the last 150 years, especially as they fit into broader general themes of science."--Laurence Marschall, Natural History Magazine

"An excellent history of the study of birds in modern times."--Matt Merritt, Bird Watching

"'Hugely impressive' it truly is and it deserves the widest audience."--Bo Beolens, Fatbirder

"A riveting, entertaining, enlightening and frequently inspirational read. . . . I imagine that Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology since Darwin is a book which will be bought by every professional or amateur ornithologist the world over. Almost certainly it will be on a wish list of many, many amateur and professional naturalists, whether their specialty is birds, bees, butterflies or other more esoteric disciplines."--Phil Slade, Another Bird Blog

"Lovingly well-researched and beautifully written. . . . Definitive, absorbing and highly recommended."--Adrian Barnett, New Scientist

"The authors have walked that fine line between superb research and scientific context, and making their work palpable for mere humans. This a book for the ornithologists obviously, but also for all scientists, for teachers, and even the adventurous. It's for biographers, editors, and writers. Serious readers will also probably enjoy this too."--Alan Speakman,

More reviews

Table of Contents:

Preface vii
Chapter 1 Yesterday's Birds 1
Chapter 2 The Origin and Diversification of Species 43
Chapter 3 Birds on the Tree of Life 75
Chapter 4 Ebb and Flow 117
Chapter 5 Ecological Adaptations for Breeding 161
Chapter 6 Form and Function 201
Chapter 7 The Study of Instinct 245
Chapter 8 Behavior as Adaptation 287
Chapter 9 Selection in Relation to Sex 323
Chapter 10 Population Studies of Birds 355
Chapter 11 Tomorrow's Birds 389
Afterword 425
Appendix 1: Some Histories of Ornithology 431
Appendix 2: Five Hundred Ornithologists 434
Notes 443
References 467
Index 497
Image Credits 519


Subject Areas:


Guadalupe Caracara
Guadalupe Caracara
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

L. Barnett illus.
L. Barnett illus.
Click to enlarge

Shopping Cart options:

  • For ebooks:

Our eBook editions are available
from these online vendors:

  • Amazon Kindle Store
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Store
  • Google Play eBook Store
  • Many of our ebooks are available through
    library electronic resources including these platforms:

  • Books at JSTOR
  • Ebrary
  • Ebook Library
  • EBSCO Ebooks
  • MyiLibrary
  • Dawsonera (UK)

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

     Hardcover : $45.00 ISBN: 9780691151977

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

     Hardcover  £37.95 ISBN: 9780691151977

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    Prices subject to change without notice

    File created: 9/7/2017

    Questions and comments to:
    Princeton University Press

    Princeton APPS
    Field Guides
    Identification Guides
    Checklists & Pocket Guides
    Photographic Guides
    Crossley ID Guides
    New Book E-Mails
    Freshman Reading
    Birds/Natural History Catalog
    PUP Blog
    For Reviewers
    Exam/Desk Copy
    Contact Us
    PUP Home
    PUP Europe

    Bookmark and Share 
    Send me emails
    about new books in:
    Birds And Natural History
    Biological Sciences
    History Of Science And Medicine, Philosophy Of Science
    Popular Science
    More Choices