A Love Affair with Birds eBook Û A Love Epub /

A Love Affair with Birds Imagine a Minneapolis so small that on calm days the roar of St Anthony Falls could be heard in town a time when passenger pigeons roosted in neighborhood oak trees Now picture a dapper professor conducting his ornithology class the university’s first by streetcar to Lake Harriet for a morning of bird watching The students were mostly young women—in sunhats sailor tops and long skirts with binoculars strung around their necks The professor was Thomas Sadler Roberts 1858–1946 a doctor for three decades a bird lover virtually from birth the father of Minnesota ornithology and the man who perhaps than any other promoted the study of the state’s natural history A Love Affair with Birds is the first full biography of this key figure in Minnesota’s pastRoberts came to Minnesota as a boy and began keeping detailed accounts of Minneapolis’s birds These journals which became the basis for his landmark work The Birds of Minnesota also inform this book affording a view of the state’s rich avian life in its early days—and of a young man whose passion for birds and practice of medicine among Minneapolis’s elite eventually dovetailed in his launching of the beloved Bell Museum of Natural HistoryBird enthusiast doctor author curator educator conservationist every chapter in Roberts’s life is also a chapter in the state’s history and in his story acclaimed author Sue Leaf—an avid bird enthusiast and nature lover herself—captures a true Minnesota character and his time Thomas Sadler Roberts 1858 1946 moved from Philadelphia to Minneapolis with his family when he was a boy and when the Twin Cities were still in their youth twin villages than citiesHe became an avid ornithologist birder early in life His profession as a grownup was that of doctor and he delivered many of the babies of Minneapolis' upper crust families He continued doctoring until very late in life but and of his time was devoted to birds He was primary author of the authoritative The Birds of Minnesota He was the first curator of the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota He never spent a whole lot of time outside of Minnesota but he knew his state and its birds thoroughlyThis book is ideal for the person with both a deep interest in the history of Minnesota and in birds I have an interest in both but not a deep interest and a long magazine article probably would have sufficed for meStill A Love Affair With Birds is interesting and well written As a zoologist married to a doctor Sue Leaf writes knowledgeably and well about both aspects of Roberts and she gives the reader a good sense of the times and places I don't know the Twin Cities all that well but it was still fun for me to read about what our state's only major metropolitan area was like in its early days It turns out Roberts had a close association with Francis Lee and Florence Jaues Lee Jaues offered illustrations for his book and dioramas for his museum Reading about them was a bonus for me because their book Canoe Country is a favorite of mine Florence's line about finally encountering a bull and cow moose When they finally did see us they didn't believe in us is one of my all time favorite sentences in any book I read this book as a candidate for the 2014 Minnesota Book Award finalist in the category of Minnesota At first I was a bit leery of the book as I am by no means an ornithologist but found it to be biographical than I was expecting Not only that but it was very well written The narrative was vibrant and approachable It provides some conjecture as to what Dr Roberts may have thought but either justifies them with references to the man's extensive journals or clearly labels them as possibilities However the labeling doesn't interfere with the storytelling and the method certainly makes the topic personable I'm not a big biography reader but this definitely stands out as a good one in my mindAs for Roberts and the associated factual information I did learn uite a bit I feel I wouldn't have been able to tolerate the man on a personal level especially in his old age but I would and do respect his accomplishments both as a doctor and ornithologist On a personal note I was greatly amused to see that like me he went to college in Philadelphia and lived four blocks and 100 odd years from where I did What a wonderful biography I’m not sure why I enjoyed this so much It’s a great natural history of “Industrial Age” Minneapolis and Minnesota for that matter While it chronicles the destruction of some of the natural beauty in my town it also gives hope that some environmental disasters can be turned around like the return of Bald Eagles and Sandhill cranes to our area The history of one of our Minnesota treasures the Bell Museum is well covered as well I was shocked to learn how early naturalists just shotkilled the birds they wanted to observe so they could get up close and personal Roberts himself wasn’t controversial so there’s not a lot of drama – yet the book keeps you engaged Well done

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