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Whipple Library

Department of History and Philosophy of Science

The Faculties of Birds / [James Rennie] STORE 88:2

James Rennie was born in Scotland and in 1787 he became the first professor of natural history and zoology at King's College, London. He migrated to Australia in later life and died there in 1867. His book, The faculties of birds, describes the sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, flight, migration and instinct of birds. One page discusses the flamingo, stating that it is the bird “most celebrated for its tongue”.  It mentions that high ranking Romans enjoyed this tasty delicacy along with the brains of peacocks. Below is the flamingo postcard.






It’s difficult to find any information on C.R. Stoner, the author of Courtship and display among birds. There is a Charles Stoner, biologist and anthropologist, who went on an expedition to the Himalayas in late 1953.  Courtship and display demonstrates the changes in book illustration as it contains black and white photographs rather than engravings or coloured plates. Here we can see the section on a caperailzie (Scottish spelling) or capercaillie (English spelling) along with the postcard of the same bird.



Flamingo postcardCapercaillie postcard


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