By: Brutus Östling(Illustrator), Magnus Ullman(Author)
208 pages, 200 colour plates
Illustrated with photographs taken around the world, Life on the Wing is the first to show the huge range of lifestyles that birds have used to become one of the most successful groups. From the Arctic to the Antarctic and on every ocean of the world, birds have mastered every environment, even the sky.
From ostriches to buntings – each photograph showes a different bird behaving in its own unique way. Together they are a fascinating insight into the life of birds.
Please note that this book is sold in the USA under the title Between the Wingtips: The Secret Life of Birds (ISBN: 9780061136856)
"The photographs alone would make this an easy book to recommend. And the use of the captions to teach about birds adds to its value. However, the errors and misconceptions in the text give me pause, and make me wonder if there are other problems that I didn’t catch. But then I consider the cases where the images and words work together magnificently, such as a head-on shot of a Whooper Swan about to land. The wings are spread wide and feet pushed forward in a breaking maneuver. In the midst of all the action, the viewer may overlook small feathers curled upward at the wrist joints of the wings. But the caption calls attention to these feathers, the alula, and explains how these small feathers play an integral role in the aerodynamics of flight. This synthesis of words and image work together to teach this subject so much better than any regular ornithological text could.
Therefore, despite the flaws, Life on the Wing is worth serious consideration. If you are a fan of bird photography, I daresay that you won’t be disappointed. And even though I would not recommend this book based on the text alone, there is some interesting stuff here and everyone can learn something from it."
- Grant McCreary (24-04-2008), read the full review at The Birder's Library
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