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Moral EntanglementsConserving Birds in Britain and Germany$
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Stefan Bargheer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226376639

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226543963.001.0001

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date: 07 May 2021

Technology Comes to the Countryside

Technology Comes to the Countryside

(p.77) Chapter 3 Technology Comes to the Countryside
Moral Entanglements

Stefan Bargheer

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 3 looks at the development of organized bird conservation in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The focus is on the factors that made for the foundation of the Society for the Protection of Birds (currently Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB) in Britain in 1889 and the Bund für Vogelschutz (later Deutsche Bund für Vogelschutz and currently Naturschutzbund or NABU) in Germany in 1899. Concern for birds developed from the transformation of already-established practices and institutions of bird collecting and economic ornithology. The valuation of birds changed through the mass production of prismatic binoculars and photo cameras. Through the use of these instruments collectors’ interest in birds transformed from collecting bird bodies to collecting field notes and photographic images. The widespread distribution of bird tables and next boxes further facilitated the aim to increase the abundance of useful species. Bird conservation did not flourish because people in the newly emerging urban centers tried to go back to nature, but because technology was coming to the countryside. Conservationists did accordingly describe their goal as a progressive one – they wanted to move forward to nature, rather than return to it.

Keywords:   Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, RSPB, bird conservation, technology, Naturschutzbund Deutschland, NABU

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