We think the four new books below will appeal to any birdwatcher who likes sketching and journaling, coloring, and superb close-up photos of birds.
Birdtopia, by Daisy Fletcher, Laurence King Publishing, 2016, paperback, 58 illustrations, $15.95.
Coloring books rarely make it onto the list of titles we recommend, but this one, from British artist and illustrator Daisy Fletcher, is different. It’s a coloring book for adults, and its subjects are the birds of the world, authentically rendered and identified in a key in the back of the book. They include Violet-crowned Woodnymphs and Broad-billed Hummingbirds, European Bee-eaters and Rainbow Lorikeets, Great Gray and Barn Owls, Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, long-tailed Golden Pheasant, extravagant birds-of-paradise, and one magnificent two-page Blue Peacock.
The Extraordinary Beauty of Birds: Designs, Patterns and Details, by Deborah Samuel with contributions by Mark Peck, Prestel, 2016, hardcover, 288 pages, $45.
Canadian photographer Deborah Samuel took all 135 of the pictures in this beautiful and unusual book not out in the field, but inside the collection room in the Ornithology Department of the Royal Ontario Museum, in Toronto. Most, like the shot of the Indian Peafowl’s tail feather on the cover, are extreme close-ups. Each invites a long look and rewards close study, allowing you to see details of feathers, nests, and eggs that you otherwise might only catch glimpses of.
The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling, by John Muir Laws, Heyday Books, 2016, paperback, 312 pages, $35.
“Pick up your journal, walk outside, and cultivate a richer experience of being alive.” That’s the heady advice of naturalist and artist John Muir Laws in this book, his latest guide to drawing the natural world. He starts with prompts that can deepen observations and then moves on to projects to get the reader started: sketching a Common Yellowthroat or drawing a sequence of events, like rushing grebes or a hunting crow. Insects, hawks, bears, you name it — Laws explains how to draw it.
Wild Notes: Observations over Time about Birds and Other Fleeting Things, by Mike Lubow, Birdwatcher Books, 2015, paperback, 166 pages, $11.99.
Every once in a while, the birders we meet are just as interesting as the birds we see, and the same holds true for the author of these entertaining and thought-provoking short essays. Mike Lubow is a former columnist for the Chicago Tribune, the creator of the website Two-Fisted Birdwatcher, where the essays first appeared, and someone we’d enjoy birding with. Sightings are reported, for sure, but lots more, too. “When you get interested in birds,” Lubow writes, “you never know what you’ll discover.”
Look for additional reviews of books in “Bookshelf” in every issue of BirdWatching Magazine.