Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds

by Christopher Perrins
ISBN: 1552977773

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A Review of: Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds
by Allan Safarik

If you are saving your money to buy the ultimate coffee table encyclopedia of birds in the world then this book is waiting for you. The Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds is definitely the one on which to blow your hard earned cash. This is a book for long winter nights and an armchair across from the flickering flames. This is the Rolls Royce of bird books, the Glenfiddich of distilled bird cultures the most lavishly illustrated bird book in the history of the genre. This is a book of such brilliant photography that at times it almost hurts the eyes. Check out the hummingbirds on page 354-5 or on 358. This is simply a fascinating book, fabulously illustrated with fascinating text that delves into hundreds of interesting habits of common and exotic birds around the world. I am absolutely taken with the Whale Headed Stork, otherwise known as the Shoebill on page 122.

"One of the most distinctive of the large wading birds. Its dominating feature is its huge bill, which bears an uncanny resemblance to a Dutch wooden clog. Indeed, early Arab traders in Africa, who encountered the bird in the marshlands of the Upper Nile, dubbed it abu markub or father of the shoe.' Its scientific name, which translates as King Whalehead' is no less descriptive."

The description of the Shoebill fails to deal with the fact that this bird's massive bill has the appearance of being corroded by some kind of horrible acid. It is not by accident that shoebills lead solitary lives and only pair up in the breeding season.

"The shoebill flies well once aloft, and can soar to great altitudes in thermals. It flies with its neck curved over its back like a heron, in order to support the weight of its head."

If you have nothing pressing to do and would like to occupy a week's full of evenings, I would suggest finding a copy of the Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. If you're busy and want something to help you escape your worries try dropping out for half an hour with this volume. I guarantee while you are looking at it nothing else will manage to distract you. This is a book to savour and travel back to frequently in order to refresh one's knowledge about the absolutely mad, esoteric world of feathered creatures.
If you're a Whooper Swan freak check out the absolutely astonishing picture on pages 136-37, or if like me you are turned on by Hornbills and Toucans, try pages 384-395. Not just a volume with a pretty face, the Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds comes with lively, in-depth content that illuminates the astonishing visual documentation of birds' lives around the world.
This volume, planned and produced by Andromeda Oxford Limited, is published both in Canada and the United States by Firefly Books. Never dull, mundane or boring the Firefly Encyclopedia at $75.00 is a bargain. I was captivated by the chapter on Nightjars And The Lunar Cycle. Call me a sucker for birds, but I can't help it. All-out publishing like this deserves to be rewarded.

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