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The Unfeathered Bird
Katrina van Grouw

Third Place for the 2013 BB/BTO Best Bird Book of the Year, British Birds and the British Trust for Ornithology
Honorable Mention for the 2013 PROSE Award in Biological Sciences, Association of American Publishers

Hardcover | 2013 | $49.95 / £34.95 | ISBN: 9780691151342
304 pp. | 10 x 12 | 385 duotones/color illus. | SHOPPING CART

eBook | ISBN: 9781400844890 |
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There is more to a bird than simply feathers. And just because birds evolved from a single flying ancestor doesn't mean they are structurally all the same. With over 385 stunning drawings depicting 200 species, The Unfeathered Bird is a richly illustrated book on bird anatomy that offers refreshingly original insights into what goes on beneath the feathered surface. Each exquisite drawing is made from an actual specimen and reproduced in sumptuous large format. The birds are shown in lifelike positions and engaged in behavior typical of the species: an underwater view of the skeleton of a swimming loon, the musculature of a porpoising penguin, and an unfeathered sparrowhawk plucking its prey. Jargon-free and easily accessible to any reader, the lively text relates birds' anatomy to their lifestyle and evolution, examining such questions as why penguins are bigger than auks, whether harrier hawks really have double-jointed legs, and the difference between wing claws and wing spurs. A landmark in popular bird books, The Unfeathered Bird is a must for anyone who appreciates birds or bird art.

  • A unique book that bridges art, science, and history
  • Over 385 beautiful drawings, artistically arranged in a sumptuous large-format book
  • Accessible, jargon-free text--the only book on bird anatomy aimed at the general reader
  • Drawings and text all based on actual bird specimens
  • Includes most anatomically distinct bird groups
  • Many species never illustrated before

Katrina van Grouw is a former curator of the ornithological collections at London's Natural History Museum, a taxidermist, an experienced bird bander, a successful fine artist, and a graduate of the Royal College of Art. She is the author of Birds, a historical retrospective of bird art, published under her maiden name Katrina Cook. The creation of The Unfeathered Bird has been her lifetime's ambition.

Review:

"Unsettling and irresistible. . . . [The birds] are drawn and described in the text, with great skill and attention to the details--of their structure, their evolution and their lives--and with a slightly wicked sense of humor that appears often enough to lift the book beyond another compendium of bird life. . . . This is a coffee-table book, and compelling images are enough to sell such a volume, but The Unfeathered Bird delivers on the other promise of such books, not always fulfilled, that there should be something to read. . . . [I]f you love the natural world for its astonishments, for something as obvious but thrilling as the huge variety of shapes that birds and their parts have evolved, then The Unfeathered Bird won't disappoint."--James Gorman, New York Times

"Van Grouw's focus on the skeleton rather than on external appearance gives the book a special power. Van Grouw's book was 25 years in the making: surprisingly quick, considering the work involved. An international list of friends, colleagues, farmers, conservationists--and the occasional taxidermist--donated dead birds for her (and her taxidermist husband) to pluck, skin and boil down to their skeletons. And draw--exquisitely."--Alison Abbott, Nature

"Although her detailed drawings of bones, skeletons, muscles, and other internal tissues would not be out of place in a treatise on avian anatomy, van Grouw intends them to reveal how birds' 'appearance, posture, and behavior influence, and are influenced by, their internal structure.'"--Science

"I cannot recommend The Unfeathered Bird highly enough--it's sumptuous and wonderful and should be obtained by anyone interested in birds, in anatomy, or in zoological art."--Darren Naish, Scientific American

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      Hardcover: $49.95 ISBN: 9780691151342

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      Hardcover: £34.95 ISBN: 9780691151342

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      File created: 9/23/2014

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