Audubon's Shearwater, Wilson's Phalarope, Albert's Towhee, Xantus' Murrelet: birds which every North American ornithologist will know. But what of the people after whom they are named? Who were they, when did they live and how important was their contribution to the study of ornithology in this continent which gradually opened up its secrets of the western newcomers who explored and documented its vast store of birdlife? In this book, Barbara and Richard Mearns continue their research into the people behind the names started in their previous book on the European eponyms, biographies for birdwatchers. The 98 people commemorated in the current English and Latin names of birds in the American Ornithologists' Union checklist are a fascinating assembly. Travellers, explorers, collectors, museum taxonomists as well as their wives, daughters and mentors have all been immortalized in the bird names we use today. Although their claims to fame are diverse and capriciously determined by the chance and fashion of a developing taxonomy, they are as good a snapshot as any of the history of a new nation's study of birds. The Mearns' extensive research into archives in the Americas and elsewhere have unearthed the achievements of virtually all of those concerned and provided contemporary portraits of the great majority. Acquaintance with this motley gallery of people cannot help but enrich the experience of seeing the new species or of spotting an old friend at one's regular birding patch. The birds themselves are not forgotten either. A wonderful collection of over 120 species is pictured in the beautiful art of Dana Gardner. Following the style and format of biographies for birdwatchers, this new volume is dedicated to over 130 birds of America, North of Mexico. Ninety-eight biographies are presented including Steller (jay, eider, eagle), Audubon (shearwater, oriole), Baird (sandpiper, sparrow), Swainson (hawk, thrush, warbler) and Wilson (sex species?). Each biography includes delightful drawings of the eponymous species by Dana Gardner and in almost all cases, a contemporary portrait of the persons concerned.