SCIENCES

What It’s Like To Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing—What Birds Are Doing, and Why

Knopf. Apr. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9780307957894. $35. NAT HIST
COPY ISBN
Sibley is the author and illustrator of a series of bird guides, including The Sibley Guide to Birds. His splendid art is again showcased in this latest work, which features more than 300 illustrations of birds that will engage new and advanced birders. Sibley successfully captures what many artists don’t, including the set of bills and the placement of eyes. His sketches, schematic and masterfully suggestive, enhance the full-color illustrations. The backgrounds of buildings, vegetation, and scenery are also highly evocative. Sibley has surveyed much of the world literature to inform his concise, vivid descriptions of bird behavior, biology, breeding, anatomy, plumage, and feeding. These complex attributes come alive thanks to his art and writing. The text layout is alluring, with several illustrated sections of each page’s text devoted to every species. Unusual aspects include a few anatomical diagrams and illustrations of predators carrying prey.
VERDICT Similar to his guidebooks, this work will be of great interest to birders, naturalists, behaviorists, and enjoyers of wildlife art.

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