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On Rare Birds
Weaving together natural history and investigative reporting with mythological and cultural material, On Rare Birds tells the compelling stories of ten rare or extinct bird species – from the tragic demise of the once-abundant Passenger Pigeon to the shooting death of the last Carolina Parakeet in the wild, and from the startling natural defences of the wilful Nightjar to the diverse cultural significance of the Kingfisher. Some stories bear sad witness to precious species we have lost, but they are all fascinating and often heartwarming or humorous depictions of the unique lives and loves of birds. On Rare Birds is a visually stunning volume illustrated by author Anita Albus’s own superb artwork and by images ranging over five centuries. It will delight anyone who loves birds, laments the depletion of their populations by human hands, and cares about the survival of those species that still stand a chance. With knowledge, devotion, and a true artist’s eye, Albus explains in graceful, precise prose why the decline of these bird species is a great loss both to the natural world and, unavoidably, to culture. With each species lost, a world is lost to human understanding-to our arts, our mythology, and our environment.
REVIEWS OF On Rare Birds
'In Anita Albus's pictures we see things in a way that we've either unlearned or forgotten.' - Claude Levi-Strauss
'Anita Albus has created a thoroughly researched text using historical sources and glorious artto produce a fascinating book for bird lovers.' - Richard Cannings, author of An Enchantment of Birds
'A reader's delight. It's also a joy for anyone who loves fine art, fine birds or both, bringing together plates from historic painters and engravers and, a real revelation'. - The Scotsman Read more
'A twinkle of humour and a twist of wit illuminate the stories of these birds and the human figures that go with them. Life is really a series of stories, and Anita Albus is a superb storyteller.' - Robert Bateman