Stories|Part of Inside Our Collections

Bird-spotting from medieval to modern times

We know it’s spring when the migrating birds return and we hear a noticeable increase in birdsong. Take a look as we train our binoculars on representations of birds in our collection: we’ll encounter classical fables, early modern receipt books and Victorian sketchbooks, all of which show our changing relationship with birds.

Words by Ross MacFarlane

  • In pictures

About the author

Black and white photograph of Ross MacFarlane, a white man with glasses, wearing a shirt and a dark jumper.

Ross MacFarlane


Ross MacFarlane is a research development specialist at Wellcome Collection. He has researched, written and lectured on the collections and other topics at the intersection of death, folklore and medicine.