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The Gorgas Science Foundation has worked for years to publish volume one of a two-volume set of large format, fine-art books which showcase the remarkable beauty and diversity of hummingbirds. With such a large and diverse group of birds, few books have attempted to artistically showcase the family of hummingbirds in its entirety. In fact, the last significant effort was made by master bird artist John Gould during the 19th century. Almost 150 years have passed since anyone has tried to take on such a monumental task.
Many years of planning and research went into the production of this first volume. The path to completion has been slow and measured. The first volume features 127 species of hummingbirds found in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean Islands. Every living species of hummingbird is illustrated in a manner that showcases both male and female, an aspect of their behavior, and a glimpse into their natural environment. Artistic value was critical, but also was scientific accuracy. In this regard the publisher was very fortunate to be able to call on one of the world's premiere hummingbird researchers and artist, John P. O'Neill and noted avian biologist, John C. Arvin, to review each artistic plates for accuracy.
Each individual species has been meticulously studied and artistically rendered to showcase their beauty and splendor. They are set in a scene reflective of their range and environment. Also included is the preferred flowering plant that each species is most associated with or the plant for which it serves as exclusive pollinator. Unique life history, distribution, adaptations, morphology and conservation status is noted in the text. The large format allows the luxury of space and allows departure from the bird-on-a-stick format required by the limited space in field guides.
John C. Arvin has been studying the birds of Americas since childhood. He had a 30 year career leading birding tours throughout the Western Hemisphere with a heavy emphasis on Latin America, where he has traveled through most of the countries studying birds. He spent much of his career in Peru and Ecuador, the epicenter of the Andes where hummingbird diversity peaks; he was able to achieve familiarity with about two thirds of the hummingbird species. Before retiring in 2010 to pursue personal research and writing, he worked for many years as an avian biologist for Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory.
Sangeetha Kadur, a wildlife artist, is driven by her deep appreciation for the natural world and art. She loves adventure and travel; and enjoys documenting the Indian biodiversity on paper and canvas. She aspires to capture the essence of the natural world and bring people closer to conservation causes. She has several commissioned projects to her credit and has illustrated for various notable publications and wildlife NGOs. Through 'GreenScraps', an initiative she cofounded, she shares her passion for creating art from natural history and hopes to inspire a new generation of nature and wildlife artists.
Raul Andrade was born in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1949; he immigrated to the US in 1955. Growing up in South Texas, he graduated as an art major from University of Texas Pan-American in 1974. After teaching art for 20 years, Raul retired and devoted himself full time to his art. Raul has been painting for 30+ years and specializes in fish, birds, and other wildlife as well as portraits of the American Southwest, all suitable subjects for an avid outdoorsman. His artwork has been featured by many national organizations and publications.
Vydhehi Kadur enjoys being outdoors as much as she loves sitting at her drawing board. Eclectic interests in art, gardening, wildlife conservation, volunteering, traveling, driving on unknown roads, and cooking mean organized chaos describes everything she does just perfectly. Vydhehi's Master of Arts in Landscape Studies and a keen eye for detail serve her well as Creative Director for Felis Creations, a media company that works with globally renowned institutions like National Geographic and BBC. In addition, she has co-founded Muddy Waters Miniature Gardens, helping urban dwellers nurture their green thumbs. She has now begun a line of creatively reused merchandise that echoes the beauty of India's natural heritage.