• Kateri Kramer

Birdpedia | Book Review


I was SO happy when Princeton University Press reached out and asked if I wanted to review "Birdpedia: A Brief Compendium of Avian Lore" because I LOVE birds! When I first saw the cover I knew I was in for a treat (I have this beauty displayed in my art studio among other bird-y things). I read it in one sitting and along the way, noted so many interesting facts about birds and new ideas for paintings and drawings. Birdpedia is an engaging illustrated compendium of bird facts and birding lore. Featuring nearly 200 entries―on topics ranging from plumage and migration to birds in art, literature, and folklore―this enticing collection is brimming with wisdom and wit about all things avian. Christopher Leahy sheds light on "hawk-watching," "twitching," and other rituals from the sometimes mystifying world of birding that entail a good deal more than their names imply. He explains what kind of bird's nests you can eat, why mocking birds mock, and many other curiosities that have induced otherwise sane people to peer into treetops using outrageously expensive optical equipment. Leahy shares illuminating insights about pioneering ornithologists such as John James Audubon and Florence Bailey, and describes unique bird behaviors such as anting, caching, duetting, and mobbing. He discusses avian fossils, the colloquial naming of birds, the science and history of ornithology, and more. The book's convenient size makes it the perfect traveling companion to take along on your own avian adventures. With lovely illustrations by Abby McBride, Birdpedia is a marvelous mix of fact and fancy that is certain to delight seasoned birders and armchair naturalists alike.

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