Edited by William E Davis Jr. 2009: 263 pages, 30 figures. ISBN: 1-877973-47-5. $37.50 (cloth).—William E. Davis Jr. has edited and the Nuttall Ornithological Club has published a small gem of ornithological history. It gives unusual insight into what it must have been like to try to identify birds before the days of well-written regional books and field guides.

Some 180 years ago, Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania, Australia's island state) was sparsely settled and little explored ornithologically. It was at that time that Ronald Gunn, a public official, and James Grant, a physician, began to produce for eventual publication a list of Tasmanian birds. Each had a private collection of birds, owned many of the books then available, and was an avid and very serious amateur ornithologist. A serious drawback to their efforts was that most of the information in their books...

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