Dr Jonathan Couch (1789-1870) of Polperro was Cornwall's foremost naturalist in the 19th century, whose importance has been likened to Gilbert White. This work draws on the Royal Institution of Cornwall's extensive collection of his material, in particular his hitherto unpublished study of Cornish birds begun in 1829 and his "Journal of Natural History" of which ten of its 12 volumes had been lost for over a century. Roger Penhallurick has also added material from other contemporary sources. His book includes a short biography of Couch and notes of his local contacts and those of national importance such as Thomas Bewick and William Yarrell, both of whom corresponded with Couch. Illustrations include engravings highlighting the difficulty of identification encountered by early naturalists at a time when ornithology was in its infancy; seasonal and sexual differences were not fully appreciated, nor were different species always identifiable from the black and white illustrations then available.