Friday, July 3, 2009

Roger Tory Peterson

A few years ago I bought the Peterson Field Guide Birds of Eastern and Central North America. At the time I bought the book because my Grandmother always kept an edition of the Guide on her windowsill. As a child I remember looking through her window at the birds in her garden. I also remember being a bit disappointed that I never saw as many birds through that window as were shown in the book. It was not until recently that I came to appreciated the fact that everyone of those pretty pictures was a detailed work of art. I made this revelation as I was reading the Foreword to the Guide. The Foreword was written by Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman. Bateman tells of how he received his first Peterson Bird Guide when he was 12 and how it's author, Roger Tory Peterson greatly influenced his life. Bateman talks about the discipline one must have to render such works when he says, "You cannot get loose and sloppy even once. You must always pay attention, not only to the detail, but to the general shape and form". He then goes on to praise Peterson further, ""Every species has been sweated over, brushstroke by brush stroke". Roger Tory Peterson documented the species he loved through his art, however art was never his goal. I believe he expressed his true goal when he said, "We must reach all mentors of children, their teachers and those who teach teachers. We must give them the tools and instill in them a responsibility for creating in their young charges a knowledge and love of nature". So it turns out that my Grandmother's Field Guide was more then a book with pretty pictures. It was the vessel used by Roger Tory Peterson to instill in us a knowledge and love of nature.


Anonymous said...

Are the birds you see here in Syndenham are different than the birds at your grandma's

EJ said...

Many are the same, Robins, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Blackbirds. I don't remember seeing any heron's in Gramma's backyard.
What other birds did we see in her garden.

Anonymous said...

cynthia has my book so from memory
big ring neck pheasants. my spelling is terrible but lots of yellow finches, grosbeeek, orials, Many more cardinals than you see here, chickedees which we have here as well as the large king woodpeckers. I'll get he book form cyn as many of the names have slipped my mind
J N-R aka Mom

Anonymous said...

cynthia dosn't have grama's book. will have to stpo over and gothrugh yuors with you and Rhiannon. Keep track of the birds you see at the cottage.I hope you get some good pictures as well