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Bird Dictionary and Note Book,
Lands Birds of Eastern North America

Book title: Bird Dictionary and Note Book, Lands Birds of Eastern North America
Author: Chester A. Reed
Editor: Chas K. Reed
Publication year: 1912
Copyright: Chas. K. Reed, Worcester, Mass.
Format: 3 ½ X 5 ½ inches

Type of cover: Brown paper cover
Number of pages:120 pages
Retail price in 1912: $0.35
Mailing cost: Included

This neutral looking book shows Chester A. Reed’s teaching talents.

Since he started publishing his magazine “American Ornithology for the Home and School” in 1901 and in all his publications, Chester’s goal was always to help people to familiarize themselves with birds. In the introduction of his first Field Guide “Bird Guide Part 2, Land Birds East of the Rockies,” published in 1905, (1) Chester suggested many components to notice to help familiarize oneself with birds in the section “How to Study Birds.”

Among these components, he suggested using the Bird Guide and to write down the arrival and departure times of the species, but also to take notes in a separate notebook to summarize more detailed observations.

This notebook, “Bird Dictionary and Note Book, Land Birds of Eastern North America,” helped bird enthusiasts to compile their observations made during their ornithology excursions. Even though the book only featured black and white drawings and some descriptive information on the species, it was not designed for bird identification. It completed the “Bird Guide Part 2, Land Birds East of the Rockies,” which was aimed to help people to identify birds in their natural environment.

That way, Mr. Reed provided many tools to promote the conservation of bird life and the practice of ornithology.

  • * First color identification chart for birds in “American Ornithology for the Home and School” in February 1902.(2)
  • * He worked closely with Mr. Frank M. Chapman for the publication of “Color Key to North American Birds” in 1903. (3)
  • * First book featuring descriptions and scale picture of eggs for close to 800 bird species “North American Birds Eggs,” 1904.
  • * First color Field Guide in 1905 (Bird Guide Part 2, Land Birds East of the Rockies). It is an in-the-field bird identification tool for bird enthusiasts. (4)
  • * A second Bird Guide to complement the first Field Guide in 1906 (Bird Guide Part 1, Water Birds East of the Rockies).
  • * Again in 1909, a new version of “Bird Guide Part 2, Land Birds East of the Rockies” using the 4-Color Printing Process, which marked the first evolution of in-the-field bird identification books.
  • * In 1910, the “Bird Guide Part 1, Water Birds East of the Rockies” was printed using the 4-Color Process.
  • * In 1911, he introduced a book on photography of birds “Camera Studies of Wild Birds in their Homes.” Photography became an important part of Chester A. Reed’s life.
  • * In 1912, he published “Birds of Eastern North America,” which became a reference book, including the species covered in both Bird Guides published in 1909 and 1910.


The “Bird Dictionary and Note Book, Land Birds of Eastern North America” and “Bird Dictionary and Note Book, Water Birds, Game Birds and Birds of Prey” are probably Chester A. Reed’s two last books published during his lifetime. He has just enough time to complete the tools that helped generations of bird lovers to familiarize themselves with the practice of ornithology.

Chester A. Reed was a pioneer in ornithology. He led the way for many authors of Field Guides. It is only 22 years after his death that Mr. Roger Tory Peterson published his book “Field Guide to the Bird” in 1934 and brought in-the-field bird identification books to a whole new level, for bird enthusiasts to enjoy.

You can consult the slideshow of the presentation.

  1. (1) For more information, consult the presentation for the book “Bird Guide Part 2, Land Birds East of the Rockies.”
  2. (2) Consult the presentation “The magazine American Ornithology for the Home and School.”
  3. (3) Consult the presentation for the book “Color Key to North American Birds.”
  4. (4) Consult the presentation of the first “Field Guide 1905.”