20 July 2011

Book Review: The Atlas of Birds

The Atlas of Birds: Diversity, Behavior, and Conservation by Mike Unwin is a spectacular array of bird knowledge packed into one punch of a book.  The pages are both beautiful and breathtaking.  This is the perfect reference guide for the beginner birder or the armchair naturalist.  The maps and statistics grab your attention at every page turn and they are supplemented with stunning photos of birds from all over the world

What I loved were the quirky facts and stats like on page 90, a nice illustration of how many birds Shakespeare has used in his writing, or the beautiful pie graph on page 68, showing what birds eat.  I thought that the little details on highlighted species were well written and informative but I wanted more.  I thought this was a perfect beginner's guide but I wasn't satisfied with just the one quarter page on each family group.  Maybe I'm just such a fan that I wanted this to be a more comprehensive reference. I think for the size of the book though, Mike Unwin did well without overwhelming the reader.  Plus, I loved the flexible cover for packing in my carry-on at the airport!

If you're a naturalist, a bird-lover, or a student of fun facts then you should check out this atlas.  It will captivate your attention and keep you turning the pages.  Mike Unwin did an outstanding job and you better believe I will be checking out this reference time and time again.  If for nothing else, the Bird Table at the back will keep every bird lister salivating on future countries to visit.

This review copy was provided by Princeton University Press.  All photos taken from the PUP website.

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