Birds of Middlesex.

By John Edmund Harting

Printed: 1866

Publisher: John Van Voorst. London

Edition: First edition

Dimensions 14 × 20 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 14 x 20 x 4

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Green cloth binding with gilt title on the spine. Gilt birds on the front board.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. 1st Edition.  FIRST EDITION; the ornithological significance of this title has diminished somewhat since 1866 with the disappearence of most of the birds , but it retains remarkable topographical importance as a survey of his local rural haunts around Hendon, Hampstead and Barnet, many still locatable beneath the local concrete structures long since covering them. Harting wrote his book whilst a young solicitor living at Kingsbury.

James Edmund Harting (29 April 1841 – 16 January 1928) was an English ornithologist and naturalist who wrote numerous books and articles in journals, as well as serving as an editor of several British natural history periodicals. Harting was the eldest son of Roman Catholic solicitor James Vincent Harting and Alexine Milne Fotheringham. He was educated at Downside School (1854–60) and the University of London and spent much of his youth travelling on the Continent, spending time at the museums in Paris and Leiden. Passing all the exams to become a solicitor, except for criminal law, he worked at his profession from 1868 to 1878, before turning to natural history and writing.

He published his first article for The Field on 13 March 1869 and remained on the staff for fifty years, becoming editor of the Naturalist Department in 1871 and later editor of the Shooting Department. By 1920 he had contributed 2,326 articles as well as 124 obituary notices, as well as “Answers to Correspondents” which he wrote on Natural History, Falconry, Angling and other issues.

Harting edited The Zoologist from 1877 to 1896 and was considered an authority on British birds. He was Assistant Secretary and Librarian to the Linnean Society. He was a Fellow of the Linnæan Society; a life member of the Zoological Society; member of the British Ornithologists’ Union and a corresponding member of the American Ornithologists Union. In 1880 he was awarded a Silver Medal by the Acclimatisation Society of France “for publications”.

In 1871 he was invited to join the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII) on a trip to India but declined as it required him to be away from work for too long.

Late in the 1870s, Harting founded the New Hawking Club to enable Londoners to observe falconry; the Old Hawking Club was based on Salisbury Plain, which was too far away for most people. He bought peregrine falcons and gyrfalcons from John Barr, who had worked for Sandys Dugmore as a professional falconer from 1874-1877, hired Barr as a falconer and obtained permission from Lord Rosebery to use Epsom Downs for hawking. He set up near the Grandstand of the racecourse and had a successful season in the autumn of 1878, but the birds died of the croaks in the winter, ending the venture.

Harting compiled Bibliotheca Accipitraria over many years, and was one of the few men seen in London with a hawk on his fist.

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