Oology is a branch of Ornithology studying bird eggs, Nests and breeding behaviour. The word is derived from the Greek oion, Meaning egg. Oology can also refer to the hobby of collecting wild birds eggs, Sometimes called Egg collecting, Birdnesting.
Oology As a science
Oology became increasingly popular in Britain and the United States during the 1800s. Observing birds from afar was difficult because high quality binoculars were not readily available. Thus it was often more practical to shoot the birds, or collect their eggs. While the collection of the eggs of wild birds by amateurs was considered a respectable scientific pursuit in the 19th Century and early 20th Century, From the mid 20th Century onwards it was increasingly regarded as being a hobby rather than a scientific discipline.
Egg collecting was still popular in the early 20th century, even as its scientific value became less prominent. Egg collectors built large collections and traded with one another. Frequently, collectors would go to extreme lengths to obtain eggs of rare birds. Ex: Charles Bendire was willing to have his teeth broken to remove a rare egg that became stuck in his mouth. He had placed the egg in his mouth while climbing down a tree.
In 1922, the British Oological Association was founded by Baron Rothschild, a prominent amateur naturalist, and the Reverend Francis Jourdain; the group was renamed the Jourdain Society after Jourdain’s death in 1940. Rothschild and Jourdain founded it as a breakaway group after egg collecting by members of the British Ornithologists’ Union, was denounced by Earl Buxton at a meeting of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.