Roger Tory Peterson had already made his mark with his innovative field guide when he conducted DDT research during World War II. His friend and fellow naturalist Rachel Carson built on these efforts and eventually wrote Silent Spring, a landmark text that, along with Peterson’s field guide, jump-started the modern environmental movement.
By combining the tireless observation of a scientist with the imaginative skills of an artist and writer, Peterson created a field guide that Robert Bateman, in his foreword to the fifth edition, says was the doorway for millions of people into the wonderland of natural history. The Peterson Identification System has been used in the more than fifty books that make up the Peterson Field Guide series. Peterson’s magnum opus, now in its fifth edition, created the trail for countless field guides to follow. They are still following year by year, but his is the standard by which all other field guides are judged.
On the morning of July 28, 1996, Roger Peterson was painting his final bird plate. He died peacefully in his sleep later that day. It is fitting that his final work—a culmination of more than sixty years of observing, painting, and writing—should be this one, a revision of the guide that started his legacy.
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Roger Tory Peterson, one of the world's greatest naturalists, received every major award for ornithology, natural science, and conservation as well as numerous honorary degrees, medals, and citations, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Peterson Identification System has been called the greatest invention since binoculars. These editions include updated material by Michael O'Brien, Paul Lehman, Bill Thompson III, Michael DiGiorgio, Larry Rosche, and Jeffrey A. Gordon.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
CHIMNEY SWIFT Chaetura pelagica Common 5–51?2" (12–14 cm) Like a cigar with wings. A blackish swallowlike bird with long, slightly curved, stiff wings and stubby tail. It appears to beat its wings not in unison but alternately (actually this is an illusion); effect is more batlike, unlike skimming of swallows. They seem to fairly twinkle, gliding between spurts, holding wings bowed in a crescent. Voice: Loud, rapid, ticking or twittering notes. Range: S. Canada to Gulf of Mexico. Winters in Peru. Habitat: Open sky, especially over cities, towns; nests and roosts in chimneys (originally in large hollow trees and cliff crevices). Text copyright © 2002 by the Marital Trust B u/a Roger Tory Peterson and the Estate of Virginia Peterson. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.
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