A Book ReviewBy
I’ve wanted to quote this bit from Harold Gifford, Sr., for years now, and finally found the chance:
From the standpoint of the rare birds, one of the greatest desiderata is a League for the Extermination of Amateur Ornithologists.
Gifford — to whose generosity and far-sighted conservationist convictions I owe my start as a birder — was in fact writing about amateur collectors, who were still a problem when he wrote his more or less tongue-in-cheek letter nearly a hundred years ago; but the question of the relationship between amateurs and professionals remains a difficult one, intellectually and practically.
Jack Hitt takes a stab at it in his new Bunch of Amateurs, a generally thoughtful collection of anecdotes and musings that just happens to be the most extensive investigation yet of this century’s (first) Ivory-billed Woodpecker affair. I review it briefly as the third of this month’s three Birding magazine book reviews. Have a look, and join the conversation!’