Saturday, September 5, 2015

Elliott Coues, America's Famous Birder You've Never Heard Of, and Market Hunting of Birds.

       You want to call Elliott Coues "coos" or "cooz", and you are free to do either, but for his family it was "cows".  A short video about the life and habits of Dr. Coues is Part III of the documentary "How Many Birds Do You Need".  Coues, who never met a bird he didn't want to kill, actually answered the question from a student  "How many birds of one kind do I need?"  His answer was "All you can get". Today we mean in a Christmas count.  In Coues' day it meant in a drawer.
        Like all of his contemporaries, the good doctor (he was a surgeon, after all) shot birds to study them.  His graphic descriptions of avian death, and preservation were a bit much for this program, but will be the subject of another, with all the lead, blood, holes, and suffocation revealed.
      In fitting juxtaposition, Part III also brings you the market gunners of the nineteenth century.  A dollar for a Canvasback, anyone?

     You can see "How Many Birds Do You Need?" Part III here

or the whole program on Raven On The Mountain Channel 2 here

     Part III also introduces one of the men who helped bring an end to the slaughter, Louis Agassiz Fuertes.

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