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The Unfeathered Bird Hardcover – 29 Jan 2013

4.9 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1st Edition edition (13 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691151342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691151342
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 3.2 x 32.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 303,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


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

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

The 300+ drawings--of skinned birds, their muscular and skeletal anatomy exposed in lifelike poses--are extraordinary, a sort of 2-D bird 'Body Worlds.'. . . [The text is] lucid, colloquial, packed with information, and leavened with humor, it brings a grasp of bird evolution and adaptation within any reader's reach. . . . A magnificent--and accessible--monograph on biodiversity.---Annie Gottlieb, Scientist

Gives us genuinely new insights into the behaviour of living species.---Stephen Moss, Guardian

[H]ere is a book with a wide appeal, a book which deserves to be studied by birders with a scientific and/or artistic bent, ornithologists, bird artists, bird photographers, biologists, natural historians, and artists of all persuasions. The author states that the original intention was a book aimed at artists and it was only during the early stages that she realized it could have wider appeal. In my opinion it was a realization which has come to fruition in a beautifully crafted, scholarly and ultimately fine book.---Phil Slade, Another Bird Blog

Turning each page [is] an adventure. Particularly welcome is the large size with which many images are so boldly presented. . . . It's early in the year, but I doubt if 2013 will see a book published that is more interesting or fascinating or better done than Ms. van Grouw's. It is $49.95, worth every penny, a world-wide birding expedition like no other.---Jim Williams, WingNut, Minneapolis Star Tribune

A work of passion. . . . [Katrina van Grouw] has used her experience in ornithology and taxidermy to draw, over the course of her career, 385 beautiful illustrations of birds--all, as the book's title suggests, without their feathers. Her work shows the skeletal and muscular systems of 200 different species, from ostriches to hummingbirds, parrots to penguins, in life-like poses.---Megan Gambino, Smithsonian Magazine

Katrina van Grouw's book The Unfeathered Bird is a unique wonder that has joined the bird book firmament and as soon as I saw it I recognized it to be a monumental achievement.---Ceri Levy, Caught by the River

While it's tempting to say that The Unfeathered Bird reduces birding to its bare bones, and, indeed it is full of detailed drawings of the skeletal structures of birds as well as the musculature and other layers normally obscured by feathers, van Grouw does not give us just a bare bones look at birds. She fleshes out and feathers a wide variety of bird species with rich detail of their behavior, anatomy, and evolutionary adaptations.---Brad Sylvester, Examiner

An illuminating and meticulously illustrated look at the brilliance of birds at the intersection of art, science and history, covering such intricate mysteries as how the ostrich lost two of its four toes and why the vulture diverged into radically different Old World and New World varieties. . . . Meticulously researched, gloriously illustrated, and absorbingly narrated, The Unfeathered Bird lives at the heart of that timeless temple where art and science meet to enrich one another with 'systematic wonder.'---Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

From the Inside Flap

""The Unfeathered Bird" is a marvelous fusion of art and science with a playful edge. The illustrations, very much the heart of the book, are superbly realized. Valuable and informative, the work has an irresistible charm that will appeal to a broad audience."--John Sill, wildlife artist

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