Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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p. vii

List of Illustrations

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p. ix

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

This book could not have been written without the support of family, friends, colleagues, and institutions. I am particularly thankful for the support from my friends and colleagues in the English department and Center for Writing Studies at the...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-13

Field guides are enchanting, visual texts. With brilliant illustrations, careful design, and terse scientific descriptions, field guides help answer a fundamental question: What am I looking at? With the help of a field guide, an unknown tree can become a Sugar Maple...

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Chapter 1. Field Guides and the New Hobby of Birdwatching

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pp. 14-50

In the 1880s and ’90s, someone interested in reading about the birds of New England would have been able to cobble together an array of resources and learn a good deal. There were two comprehensive ornithological manuals in print at the time: Elliot...

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Chapter 2. Nuisance Birds, Field Guides, and Environmental Management

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pp. 51-82

The Bald Eagle is currently known as a patriotic symbol within the United States, but the bird was once despised for its work habits and killed by the thousands as a bounty bird in Alaska. Crows still have a bad reputation. Today they are hunted with few regulations across North America even as research shows...

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Chapter 3. Picturing Birds in Altered Landscapes

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pp. 83-104

The main purpose of field guides is to help birdwatchers identify birds. As I have been arguing all along, though, these books have always done much more than that. The authors of the first birdwatching field guides used extended narratives to create new...

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Chapter 4. Technojumping into Electronic Field Guides

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pp. 105-124

Thus far, I have made the case that field guides are based on a range of environmental assumptions with environmental implications. Field guides, though, are changing. Birdwatchers can now buy field-guide applications for personal digital assistants...

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Chapter 5. Birding on Toxic Land

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pp. 125-150

Some of the natural areas where birders watch birds are toxic. The competitive birding event called the World Series of Birding, North America’s most publicized big-day birding event, takes place in New Jersey, the state with the highest density and number of EPA Superfund sites in the...

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Conclusion: The Birdwatchers of the Montlake Landfill

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pp. 151-164

In 2003 and 2004, I spent a sequence of Sundays at Seattle’s Montlake Landfill—the covered-over landscape described in chapter 5—in an effort to observe and talk with birdwatchers there. I have said a lot in this book about birdwatchers, their politics, and their attitudes; this field work was my attempt to study them in...

Notes

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pp. 165-173

Works Cited

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pp. 175-189

Index

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pp. 191-201

Back Cover

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