Extinct Birds

Overview

We learn from an early age that nothing is quite so dead as a dodo. We've heard stories of flocks of passenger pigeons once darkening the skies over North America, only to be reduced to a single bird, Martha, who perished in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1914. Errol Fuller's gloriously illustrated Extinct Birds provides details of the natural history and fates of more than 80 species of birds now believed to be gone forever. In a lively, compelling style, Fuller conveys accurate scientific and historical information about...
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Overview

We learn from an early age that nothing is quite so dead as a dodo. We've heard stories of flocks of passenger pigeons once darkening the skies over North America, only to be reduced to a single bird, Martha, who perished in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1914. Errol Fuller's gloriously illustrated Extinct Birds provides details of the natural history and fates of more than 80 species of birds now believed to be gone forever. In a lively, compelling style, Fuller conveys accurate scientific and historical information about the lives, times, and disappearances of bird species since 1600. Fuller's species accounts are vivid reminders of what birds, precisely, the world has already lost. The physical evidence provided by preserved specimens is given narrative texture with Fuller's use of eyewitness accounts of the lives (and, in many cases, the last days) of bird species from all over the world. Nearly all the accounts in Extinct Birds are illustrated with breathtaking color plates, many by artists, including Audubon, Keulemans, and Lear, who had the advantage of working from fresh specimens or even from living birds. These paintings, beautiful in their own right, are also primary sources of scientific knowledge. Birds for which appropriate illustrations did not already exist are shown in new paintings produced especially for this book.The revised edition of Extinct Birds includes several species—among them three from North America—not covered in the original 1987 edition. More happily, two species have been rediscovered in the intervening years, and several others in danger of being declared extinct have been located again. By describing in words and pictures the beauty and diversity of those birds already lost to extinction, Fuller inspires us to do what we can to prevent future editions of Extinct Birds from drawing new chapters from the field guides of today.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Among the species lost in just the last several hundred years are creatures ranging from the nearly fantastical and exquisite to the comical. Their pictures and histories have been collected in a newly revised book that is in itself an ode to the remarkable record on birds, the obsessively researched and beautifully illustrated Extinct Birds by Errol Fuller, an artist."—Carol Kaesuk Yoon, New York Times

"Fuller is an artist, not an ornithologist or a writer—and the physical beauty of his profusely illustrated book reflects this—but there is nothing amateurish about either the science or the writing of Extinct Birds. The grasp of theory and taxonomy is secure, and the language sparkles."—William Ashworth, Times Literary Supplement, January 11, 2002

"Man's destructive impulses are . . . documented in Errol Fuller's work Extinct Birds. . . Well-researched. . . beautifully illustrated in colour and black and white. . . It also offers a collection of fine bird art by Audubon . . . and other important wildlife painters."—Bird Watching, November 1988

"The author has carried out his chosen task of historical and bibliographical research exceedingly well, in a way that will satisfy even the most critical, but he also has a way with words, and manages to breathe life into the accounts without departing from accuracy. He is also emotionally involved, angered by the senseless destruction of so many beautiful and interesting birds, and his book is none the worse for that. . . . All told, this is a first-class book, which can be most confidently recommended."—J. A. Gibson. Archives of Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 3, October 1988

"The illustrations are one of the chief delights of this book. Some of them are simply superb."—Bill Oddie. New Scientist, December 1987

"We couldn't put this book down. The life histories and eyewitness accounts of more than 80 'recently extinct' bird species were simply too engrossing. And the illustrations . . . are eerily beautiful."—Birders' World, December 2001

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this well-researched study, artist Fuller gathers information about the 75 species of birds that have vanished since 1600. Organized by families, the book describes each species, its habitat and distribution; there are firsthand accounts of sightings by early travelers, a record of the last sighting and probable cause of extinction. Some of the birds are familiarthe heath hen, passenger pigeon, dodo and great auk; mosquitoes and rats from ships brought destruction to certain island birds, and starving Japanese soldiers ate the last Wake Island rail during World War II. Although similiar material on extinct birds appeared in David Day's The Doomsday Book of Animals, the difference here is the magnificent illustrations. Fuller presents paintings and sketches that include 300 years of dodo illustrations, for example. This is a book that will interest professional and amateur birders alike. (March)
Library Journal
The first book devoted solely to extinct birds since Walter Rothschild's classic Extinct Birds (1907), this new and attractive work has an enthusiastic preface by Rothschild's niece, Miriam, a famous naturalist in her own right. Its scope is wisely limited to the 75 birds known to have become extinct since 1600. Highly illustrated, with 59 color and 81 black-and-white illustrations, it boasts a detailed but interesting and well-written text, plus good referencing. Endangered species are included. With many island birds now threatened, and the extinction rates of all life forms escalating out of control in tropical forests, artist-naturalist Fuller's fine book is most welcome and germane. Henry T. Armistead, Thomas Jefferson Univ. Lib., Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801439544
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

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