Monday, May 14, 2012

Avian splendors

With its large, glorious illustrations and pithy, expert information, 100 Birds to See Before You Die: The Ultimate Wish List for Birders Everywhere is a wonderful book to behold. It's also more than a bit sad, given the reality that many of these beauties are nearing extinction and are to be found only in the most remote of habitats.  One of its co-authors, Dominic Couzens, is also responsible for the Atlas of Rare Birds, some of which you can view in this slideshow. These enchanting creatures—including the resplendent quetzal, the Gurney's pitta, the twelve-wired bird of paradise, greater roadrunner, tufted puffin, and the Gouldian finch (left and below)—inspire awe at the biodiversity of our planet.
Philippine eagle (National Geographic); top of the food chain
Tufted puffins: "comical auks" of the Northern Pacific and Bering seas.
Andean cock of the rock (Rupicola peruviana), Peru's national bird
Eurasian hoopoe with crest up; their call sounds like their name
From Africa, shoebills can be ~4 feet tall and are pretty darn unique
You will not encounter the helmut vanga unless you frequent the rainforests of Madagascar
What special birds have you seen (or would like to see?)

13 comments:

  1. It's just my preference, but I always thought that all of these " to see/do before you die" books have pretty morbid titles. and there are so many of them!!! :-S

    Aaanyway, it does look like a beautiful book with delectable images. I'd probably like to see a DODO before I die. Kidding.

    Probably an ostrich (more specifically, someone RIDING an ostrich). Their size and massiveness is intriguing!!

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    1. Funny, I was thinking the same thing about the "before you die" meme.
      Re the ostrich—the world's biggest, heaviest bird species—they can run up to 60 mph and deliver a kick that can disembowel a person. They even contend with lions. Sounds like a candidate for the Avengers franchise!

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  2. Great photos! I actually did a bird project when I was in 5th grade and spent an entire week bird-watching. There are so many beautiful ones! I got to see several varieties of herons (the Great Blue is phenomenal) and egrets, and I believe a few red-winged blackbirds, which you don't see every day. I just bought a bird book and would like to pay more attention. Love the shoebill....looks like it could fit in with the Wild Things!

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    1. I always get excited when I see and hear a woodpecker.
      You're so right about the shoebill; it looks like someone's fantasy (as do many of the birds in the book!)

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  3. Lovely birds!!! I'm a fan of the Philippine eagle, the eyes alone in that photo have a story to tell.

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  4. Such beautiful colors on the Gouldian finch! And the shoebill is really something else.

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  5. The colorful Gouldian finch is beautiful. I would love to see one of those in person.

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  6. A Hollywood finch once favored my terrace. He was a bright orange, but his mate was a dusty brown. In the bird world, it's the males who get the colorful plumage! The Bali myna, in the slideshow, is protected by the Indonesian government--understandably, since he would make a stunning companion.
    The best way to save these lovely birds is to protect the environment they need to live in.

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  7. Loved this blog. The bird photographs are amazing. Thanks.

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  8. What special birds have you seen?

    Driving through the scrublands east of Immokalee FL some years ago, I came upon a caracara sitting on a fence post.

    p.s. I always think that those ‘places to see before you die’ lists should include a) doctor's office, and/or b) hospital emergency room.

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  9. Ever since I was a small child by Grandmother introduced me to the beauty of birds. She has been an avid bird feeder and lover for years and this addiction went on to hit my mom and my aunt. There are BEAUTIES out there!!!

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