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Which is your oldest book about birds? (1 Viewer)

Charles Harper

None of the above seem to be field guides. I still have my first field guide: 'Bird Guide - Water Birds, Game Birds, and Birds of Prey East of the Rockies' by Chester A. Reed (1926). Not so old, but authentically muddy.


Well-known member
Though not strictly a bird book, I have a copy of Wood's New Illustrated Natural History which has a bird section in it, including articles and etched drawings of Passenger Pigeons and Ivory Billed Woodpeckers. It is a third addition,printed in 1885.

Also have an 1899 copy of British Birds' Eggs and Nests by Revd J.C.Atkinson and an circa 1875 copy of Gilbert White's Natural History of Selbourne.

All these fascinating books once belonged to my grandfather who introduced me to the wonderful world of nature when I was a wee lad.


Well-known member
Many thanks to all owners of these rare books.
As most of the drawings in these books are pieces of art I woul like to ask you posting some photos of them.



“Hoe heet die vogel” (What’s that bird called) parts 1 and 2 by Jan P. Strijbos, from 1927. The plates had to be collected, so I'm glad the unknown family member this came from did!


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'Green Scum'
"British Birds' Nests" subtitled "How, when & where to find & identify them" by R. Kearton published by Cassel in 1895. Two things I like about the book are that it has photographs in it and plenty of them and a variety of local names are given for each species.



United States
I have a 1950s book, rather slim, that was competing with Peterson. Black and white drawings. The evolution of bird names is fun to follow. ;)

Audubon reprints I do not care for. They are old but....


Well-known member
Interesting old books

The following site carries a large number of old books(on all subjects) you can read through, as the pages flip over on them, some very fascinating reading. I'm sure quite a few of you will have been through this site.
This is one book I have looked at just now, with some lovely illustrations.
Hope I'm not overstepping the mark by posting this up


Well-known member
A fascinating site dunedin. I love browsing through old nature books.

Incidentally,although not strictly a nature book, I have an 1830 Dictionary of Knowledge published by Crabb. In it,it states wonderful facts of the time like Coots are Moorhens and animals like Giraffes were called Cameleopards.

Just think birds such as Great Auks and Passenger Pigeons were still in existance when this dictionary was published.[There is even a small picture of the former].

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