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Birding in the Age of Economic Ornithology

Tuesday, 25 September, 2018 @ 06:00 PM | Cost:Free and open to the public.

Even before the rise of commercial air travel and ballistic missiles, air brought to mind direct connections with distant parts of the world more readily than land and water did. This presentation will explore several interrelated aspects of the influences of birds and bird migrations upon Illinoisans’ geographic and environmental perceptions during the first century of Illinois’s statehood.

First, rural Illinoisans paid considerable attention to wild birds, both as sources of food and as allies in the war against insect pests before effective synthetic pesticides. Second, a sense that bird populations were declining due to habitat loss and hunting led to increased efforts to figure out bird migrations. Third, those who worked to understand migration did so through vast collaborative webs. Fourth, ornithological studies drew attention to connections to distant places. Finally, understandings of bird migrations were influenced by politics insofar as birders tended to consider North America north of Mexico as a main unit of study (thereby distorting the ranges of many birds) and tended to displace blame for declining bird populations.

Categories: Academy of Lifelong Learning | Alumni | Community | Current Students | Faculty | Lectures/Seminars | Prospective Students


Douglas Hart Nature Center
2204 Dewitt Ave.
Mattoon, IL 61938

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