National Geographic Bird-watcher's Bible: A Complete Treasury

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Overview

"This book is a treasure trove of colorful paintings and photographs, interesting sidebars, top-ten lists... worth its considerable price for the artwork alone. A browser’s delight... This book should have wide appeal for all birders and bird enthusiasts. Highly recommended." –Library Journal

A lighthearted and broadly cultural and visual approach to learning everything there is to know about birds, bird-watching, birds in history and the arts, and life on the wing. ...

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Overview

"This book is a treasure trove of colorful paintings and photographs, interesting sidebars, top-ten lists... worth its considerable price for the artwork alone. A browser’s delight... This book should have wide appeal for all birders and bird enthusiasts. Highly recommended." –Library Journal

A lighthearted and broadly cultural and visual approach to learning everything there is to know about birds, bird-watching, birds in history and the arts, and life on the wing. Short narrative pieces are interspersed with sidebars, quotes, top-ten lists, and how-to instructions. Illustrated with photographs, contemporary and archival art, maps, and diagrams, the book has lots of cross-references and riches to find on every page.

Chapters include:
I. The Birds in your World
A lively introduction featuring the joys of birds and bird-watching, how birds are everywhere you look, why people enjoy and appreciate them, why they are so amazing and so beloved, and why they have been important to every culture throughout history.
II. The Anatomy of a Bird
A lyrical dissection of the parts of a bird, including digressions on feathers, color, beaks, wings, talons. Size and shape variations and how they respond to environment and evolution. What birds eat and how they eat it.
III. Birds Through the Ages
Birds in ancient and native cultures. Bird myths, legends, and superstitions. Bird gods and goddesses. Famous birds in history such as Caesar's death foretold, St. Francis's Sermon to the Birds, Poe's Raven, Mao Tse Tung's sparrow campaign. Birds as pets, birds as hunting aids, birds as food.
IV. The Life of a Bird
The life cycle of birds, starting with mating behaviors of all sorts of species. Nesting behaviors. Varieties of nests, varieties of eggs.
V. Science Discovers the Bird
Early ornithologists. Catesby, Darwin, Audubon, Peterson. Famous bird artists. Famous bird quests. Bird evolution: birds and dinosaurs.
VI. Birds on the Wing
Flight and how it works. Migration -- how, why, when, where. Maps and amazing facts about bird migrations.
VII. To Be a Birder
Basics including bird-watching, bird taxonomy, how to use a field guide. Simple bird-watching rules of thumb. Where to go, when to go. Equipment needed. Keeping a life list.
VIII. Bringing the Birds Back Home
Attraction and conservation. Birdhouses, bird feeders, bird baths, bird seed choices, protecting birds from predator animals in your neighborhood. National and international conservation efforts. The future of birds.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Nature authors sometimes forget that most bird-watchers aren't dreary pedants; they are men and women who share a sense of wonder about creatures who fly. No book that we have even seen takes that realization to heart better than Jonathan Alderfer's National Geographic Bird-Watchers Bible. In 416 generously illustrated pages, he offers comprehensive overviews, brief narratives, sidebars, quotes, top-ten lists, tips on successful birding, maps, life cycle charts, diagrams, photographs, archival art, and cross-references. Whether you are a veteran birder or a nature walker just developing the urge, this coffee table treasure could instantly become your go-to guide.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Close to 10,000 species of bird currently waddle, sing, peck, and soar around the world, and while Alderfer (National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America, co-author) and his team don't address each one of them, they sure come close in this elegant study of all things avian-from basic bird anatomy, to courtship and nesting rituals, as well as the role of birds in ancient cultures and as a source of food. Incorporating stunning photographs , vintage prints, and a short history of birds in art and the naturalists (such as James Audubon) who contributed to some of ornithology's most seminal works, the book is worth the price of admission for purely visual reasons, though readers will find the text equally rewarding. Pleasant diversions-like tales of Mao Zedong's botched campaign to rid China of sparrows (which resulted in a dramatic increase in crop-devouring locusts), Mozart's pet starling, and the real-life event that inspired Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds-sit comfortably alongside more practical bird-related information, including tips on choosing the right feeder and an extensive guide for beginner bird-watchers. A tome to be treasured at home and in the wild. Photos & illus.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From the Publisher
“The book is worth the price of admission for purely visual reasons, though readers will find the text equally rewarding” Publisher’s Weekly starred review

"This book is a treasure trove of colorful paintings and photographs, interesting sidebars, top-ten lists... worth its considerable price for the artwork alone. A browser’s delight... This book should have wide appeal for all birders and bird enthusiasts. Highly recommended." Library Journal

“Captivating photographs with art, fantastic bits of trivia and history, anatomy lessons, tips on becoming a birder...” Denver Post

“It easily ranks with the top three or four bird books published in 2012.”  –Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Bird fanciers will find much to like and learn about in this beautiful book.” The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA)

“A pictorial feast...clear, witty prose…if one were looking for a single volume to serve as a basic reference, Bird Watcher's Bible would be it.” –Examiner.com 

"Beautifully illustrated and full of fascinating facts." –Book News

“Even for nonbirders… surprisingly readable… interesting bird facts, how-to hints, folklore and history. The beautiful illustrations are a treat.” –Metro.US.com 

"...in the upper echelons of aesthetic appeal." –10000 Birds blog

"Everything that is great about National Geographic jumps out at you…Filled with jaw-dropping visuals…one of the most beautiful and informative bird books out there.” Bird Freak blog

"This book is a great addition to any birder's collection and would make a very nice Christmas present!" –Nutty Birder blog

“The breadth of topics covered is staggering…This is a very attractive book, which makes it all the more pleasurable to pore over.” –The Birder’s Library 

“Belongs in every bird watcher’s library.” –Laura’s Birding Blog

Library Journal
Edited by Alderfer (associate editor, Birding; National Geographic Complete Birds of North America), this book is a treasure trove of colorful paintings and photographs, interesting sidebars, top-ten lists, and maps, and though also of high quality, the text may seem secondary. Worth its considerable price for the artwork alone, the volume includes paintings by such icons of ornithology as John James Audubon, John Gould, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, and Mark Catesby, among others. In addition, it features centuries-old art by Asian and Middle Eastern masters. Cosmopolitan in focus, it engagingly presents worldwide information. Chapters concern migration and flight, biology and breeding, anatomy, birds in history, birds' influence on humans and vice versa, bird-watching, attracting birds, the development of the science of ornithology, paleontology, and thumbnail descriptions of 48 species. VERDICT A browser's delight, but its good index makes for easy access to information. Some of the lists, as well as the bibliography, are very selective—one can lament the omissions—but a popular title such as this cannot be all-inclusive. This book should have wide appeal for all birders and bird enthusiasts. Highly recommended.—Henry T. Armistead, formerly with Free Lib. of Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426209642
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 10/2/2012
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 286,172
  • Product dimensions: 8.18 (w) x 9.88 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

JONATHAN ALDERFER, writer, editor, and illustrator, contributed extensively to several editions of the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America and co-authored the sixth edition with John L. Dunn, as well as contributing 60 new illustrations to it. He has served on the Maryland/District of Columbia Bird Records Committee and as associate editor of the American Birding Association's magazine Birding. He is a frequent speaker on radio and in workshops on birding and bird illustration. The author lives in Washington, D.C..
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommended

    I love all the beautiful photos and the explanations .

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