Thursday, January 11, 2007

Hero of the Revolution addendum

Thanks to Lee Sterrenburg from Bloomington Indiana, who posted this OED entry on BIRDWG01. In Harry Witherby's 'Hero' entry I overlooked (in fact it's been widely overlooked) that his Practical Handbook (1920) contains the first recognised use of the term 'vagrant' in ornithology. can that be true? I'll be checking older books tonight.


vagrant, n. and a.

Add: [A.] 4. Ornith. A bird that is encountered outside its normal area of distribution or migration; spec. (in the U.K.), one that has been recorded fewer than twenty times in the British Isles.

1920 H. F. WITHERBY et al. Pract. Handbk. Brit. Birds I. 140 The Lapland Bunting... has occurred [in] many English counties as vagrant. 1953 D. A. BANNERMAN Birds Brit. Isles I. 337 The snow finch has occurred as a vagrant in several other countries of eastern Europe. 1983 Birds Spring 15/2 The vagrant from the Continent, was found sheltering under a car. Many birds are blown off course during gales. 1988 Bird Watching Aug. 46/2 Returning migrants are beginning to appear and by the end of the month we could witness good seabird movements and the first North American vagrant.

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