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. "Compulsively readable."--Ben Sheldon, Nature "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, eBirdseed.com "It's inspiring to see that research is able to shake up our understanding of things we 'know' to things that 'are.' If you are someone who appreciates the science behind birds, you will love this book. Even if you're a scientific history buff with a casual fancy for birds, you'll enjoy this book. With a beautiful cover, crisp illustrated timelines, and gorgeous chapter paintings, this book will hold a solid spot on any bookshelf."--Steve Brenner, Nemesis Bird "This is a masterly overview of a broad and complex subject, comprehensive and well written... It should be required reading for ornithology students, providing an essential context for their studies, but it will also appeal to the general reader and birdwatcher too, providing ample confirmation of the contribution which ornithological science has made to our understanding of birds and the wider natural world."--Andy Stoddart, Rare Bird Alert "An account that will delight anyone who has studied birds or has an interest in their myriad forms."--Mike Toms, BBC Wildlife Magazine.