The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
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Historical Text


Mr. Wood wished to write a book which would be a fully documented account of the status of Michigan birds. With his many co-operators he had gathered so many data that they could be published in a single volume only by severely restricting that volume to an account of the distribution, relative abundance, and migration of Michigan birds. Consequently, unlike many state publications, his book has no colored plates, descriptions of plumages, or detailed accounts of habits. Mr. Wood was quite right in believing that such material was readily and conveniently available to the student and that duplication of it in this book would serve only to add unnecessarily to the book's bulk and price.

Mr. Wood has listed all species and subspecies of birds for which there are unquestionable Michigan records in historic time. He included no form unless at least one Michigan specimen had been examined by a qualified ornithologist. For the rarer species all known authentic records, published and unpublished, are mentioned, but for the more abundant birds it was possible to present only a selection of the most significant and representative records. The reader of this book should understand that it is a reference work, not a book to be read from end to end. As far as possible the account of each species was made self-sufficient and self-explanatory, regardless of repetition which might offend the reader of the book as a whole. The published literature through 1943 (the year of Mr. Wood's death) was covered as completely as possible. The scientific nomenclature, however, is corrected to date in accordance with the American Ornithologists' Union Check-List (1931) and its Supplements (1944-49).

We all greatly regret the delay in the publication of this book, but some of the delay will be understandable to those who have been faced with the problem of finding time from an already full schedule to prepare another man's work for publication.

After the author's death there arose many problems which he could doubtless have solved quickly, but which others could solve only by long checking or by fresh investigations.

It was for several years my hope to find time to give the manuscript the thorough checking and revision it deserved. That has proved impossible and further delay inadvisable,* and I can only hope that what I have been able to do may have helped in some measure to fulfill the author's purpose.

* July, 1950: Through a misunderstanding, the manuscript of Mr. Wood's book was sent to the printer with numerous changes installed that had not been approved. Unfortunately, a large number of these changes distorted the essential facts, thus necessitating an unusual number of corrections in the proof. Since the book had already been so greatly delayed, every effort was made to restrict corrections to those required by accuracy. Consequently the book will be found to contain many inconsistencies in style. These were allowed to remain, not because they were considered unimportant but only to avoid furtlier delay in publication.

Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

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