Here the place of birds in American cultural history has been considered in such widely divergent areas as science, art, literature, and conservation. The author begins with the explorers and colonists who saw birds in their pristine abundance. Next he discusses the importance of the great ornithologists. Then there are the writers and the artists, the pioneers and surveyors, the pot-hunters who killed birds, the milliners who put them on hats.
Concluding that birds have always had a definite place in American life, Robert Welker points out that they have been studied and loved by citizens both renowned and unknown—not only Thomas Jefferson, John James Audubon, and Theodore Roosevelt, but the village schoolmarm, the amateur poet, and many others.