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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Ornithologists estimate that there have been 150,000 avian species since birds first appeared millions of years ago. If that figure, based on incomplete evidence, is correct, writes Errol Fuller, then nearly 94 percent of those species have gone extinct over time.
Most have done so through more or less natural causes--through disease, say, or widespread climatic change. In historic times, though, many species have been hastened to extinction through human actions, inadvertent and deliberate. In the case of the Hawaiian rail, Fuller writes in this catalog of birds that have disappeared since 1600, the introduction of alien species, such as the mongoose, domestic cat, and rat, was probably to blame. Rats, too, killed off the Lord Howe Island white-eye when a ship accidentally ran aground there in 1918. The Carolina parakeet disappeared a few years later, owing, perhaps, to the destruction of its forest habitat and its beautiful plumage, highly prized by hunters. Mosquitoes carried on other ships felled many other island species. And so on. Curiously, Fuller writes, the usual-suspect agents of extinction--hunting, say, or egg collecting--have had a smaller effect on vulnerable bird species than have changes in the environment wrought by humans and their "accompanying menagerie."
Fuller's book makes for a sobering obituary, and one of particular interest to environmentalists engaged in habitat preservation and restoration. --Gregory McNameeReview:
"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
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Descrizione libro Viking/Rainbird, 1987. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Errol Fuller (illustratore). book. Codice libro della libreria 0670817872