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Bill Bailey’s remarkable guide to British birdsArtist/Author: Bailey, Bill
A humorous and very personal guide written by Bill Bailey about his favourite British birds, complete with drawings, notes and cartoons by the comedian himself. Funny and insightful, this book positively crackles with energy, knowledge and wit as Bailey takes us on a journey around the British Isles, zooming in on those birds that excite him the most. Whether it’s what they eat, where they fly to or how they communicate, these birds are always fascinating, and Bailey introduces us to their weird and wonderful ways in a manner that is always entertaining.
If you’re a parent who’d like to appear a bit clever when your child asks you the name of a bird; if you want to find a new and healthy hobby that takes you outdoors; or whether, quite simply, you want to understand a bit more about the natural environment and have a laugh at the same time, this is the perfect companion book to have. Alongside music and stand-up, one of Bailey’s favourite pastimes is bird-watching, which he has been doing since he was a child in the West Country. His fondest memories are of family outings with parents, grandparents and cousins, ticking the birds off in his little Observer’s Book of Birds. As he has said about those formative years, ‘bird-watching gave a purpose to the day and a love of the natural world which has carried on into my adult life’. A beautifully and originally designed hardback, it will delight Bailey’s fans as well as those who like a bit of armchair escapism.
Ten thousand birds: ornithology since Darwin.Artist/Author: Birkhead, Tim, Jo Wimpenny and Bob Montgomerie.
Provides an engaging and authoritative history of modern ornithology, describing the visionary and often-controversial personalities who have influenced the study of birds, and the unique social and scientific contexts in which these extraordinary individuals worked. This beautifully illustrated book opens in the middle of the nineteenth century when ornithology was a museum-based discipline focused almost exclusively on the anatomy, taxonomy, and classification of dead birds. It describes how in the early 1900s pioneering individuals such as Erwin Stresemann, Ernst Mayr, and Julian Huxley recognized the importance of studying live birds in the field, and how this shift thrust ornithology into the mainstream of the biological sciences. The book tells the stories of eccentrics like Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, and describes the breathtaking insights and discoveries of ambitious and influential figures such as David Lack, Niko Tinbergen, Robert MacArthur, and others who through their studies of birds transformed entire fields of biology. This book brings this history vividly to life through the work and achievements of those who advanced the field. Drawing on a wealth of archival material and in-depth interviews, this fascinating book reveals how research on birds has contributed more to our understanding of animal biology than the study of just about any other group of organisms.
Alexander Wilson: the Scot who founded American ornithology.Artist/Author: Burtt, Edward H., Jr. and William E. Davis, Jr.
In the first full-length study to reproduce all of Wilson’s unpublished drawings for the nine-volume American Ornithology, Edward Burtt and William Davis illustrate Wilson’s pioneering and often underappreciated achievement as the first ornithologist to describe the birds of the North American wilderness. Wilson travelled 12,000 miles on foot, on horseback, in a rowboat, and by stage and ship, establishing a network of observers along the way. He wrote hundreds of accounts of indigenous birds, discovered many new species, and sketched the behaviour and ecology of each species he encountered. Drawing on their expertise in both science and art, Burtt and Davis show how Wilson defied eighteenth-century conventions of biological illustration by striving for realistic depiction of birds in their native habitats. He drew them in poses meant to facilitate identification, making his work the model for modern field guides and an inspiration for Audubon, Spencer Fullerton Baird, and other naturalists who followed. On the bicentennial of his death, this beautifully illustrated volume is a fitting tribute to Alexander Wilson and his unique contributions to ornithology, ecology, and the study of animal behaviour.
Seabird genius: the story of L.E. Richdale, the Royal albatross and the Yellow-eyed penguin.Artist/Author: Peat, Neville.
The first biography of Lance Richdale, who achieved international fame as the father of Otago’s albatross colony from 1936 and for his research on the behaviour of the Yellow-eyed Penguin. Richdale grew up in Wanganui, took a tertiary course in agriculture in New South Wales, and returned to New Zealand to teach mainly in rural schools in the North Island, eventually taking up a position with the Otago Education Board in 1928 as an inspiring itinerant agricultural instructor and nature study teacher. Richdale never gave up his day job and incredibly in the weekends, holidays and evenings undertook major, meticulous and time-consuming research on penguins, albatrosses and several petrel species. His study of the muttonbird was achieved during prolonged solo camps on tiny Whero Island in stormy Foveaux Strait, where the wind blew straight from Antarctica. Neville Peat’s biography searches the traces left behind to uncover what drove this shy and obsessed man whose legacy is the longest running seabird population study in the world.
Roger Tory Peterson: a biography.Artist/Author: Carlson, Douglas.
Mildred Wyatt-Wold Series in Ornithology. A biography of one of the 20th century’s foremost ornithologists, whose 1934 “Field Guide to the Birds” was one of the two foundational books that launched the environmental movement. It describes how Peterson’s obsession with birds began in boyhood and continued throughout a multifaceted career as a painter, environmentalist and photographer.
Audubon’s elephant: the story of John James Audubon’s epic struggle to publish The Birds of America.Artist/Author: Hart-Davis, Duff.
The author records the genesis and gestation of the double-elephant folio, and uses contemporary sources to illuminate an extraordinary character.