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Birdwatcher - The Life of Roger Tory Peterson

Roger Tory Peterson, who had a true love of birds and nature, taught many Americans to appreciate the joy of birdwatching. He is the man who invented the field guide. Back in 1934, there were not any field guides to help bird lovers identify which birds they were seeing. Peterson developed his own guide to help others identify which bird they were seeing from a distance.

Not only was Peterson a great lover of birds and nature, he also was a great artist drawing the birds in his field guide himself. He was even hired by local companies to paint for them. He also was a photographer, writer, filmmaker, and scientist.

Among his many accomplishments was the fact that Peterson got people to understand the importance of conservation. He actively campaigned to make the necessary changes to help preserve different species.

If you are interested in birding, this is definitely a "must read" for you. Peterson is considered to be the father of birdwatching. The author, Elizabeth Rosenthal, conducted hundreds of interviews with Peterson's friends, family and collegues, which really allows the reader to get to know this interesting man. You can tell the author has a passion for birds by the tone of her writing.

Unlike many biographies, this book gives the reader insight to Peterson - the man, instead of simply being a list of his accomplishments. Another welcome change from a typical biography was that the book did not go in chronological order of Peterson's life but instead was organized by topic such as conservation, people he influenced, etc. This actually makes the book more interesting and holds the readers attention. Kudos to Elizabeth Rosenthal for a great read.

Here is a youtube video of an interview with Peterson:

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