There are many field guides to birds of the United States. Refer to one if you want to know which colours go exactly where on these thirty-three precisely drawn illustrations. Or create your own fantastic ornithological kingdom by using the brightest shades and patterns you can imagine. It's almost impossible to improve upon the natural colours of the abstract-art-themed wood duck or the well-named painted bunting, but there's no reason not to give the American robin a makeover.
The birds are arranged in order of their evolutionary history so that you can see the relationships among species and families. Some of them, like the northern cardinal, are familiar backyard friends; some, like the mountain quail and American bittern, are wary denizens of brushlands and marshes; and some, like the great horned owl, are seldom seen in daylight. One, unfortunately, is extinct – the bright and raucous Carolina parakeet, which once ranged widely in huge noisy flocks. All are waiting for you to bring them to life with your own vibrant colours.
Dana Gardner is the author and/or illustrator of many publications, including the laminated guides Birds at Your Feeder: A Guide to Winter Birds of the Great Plains (2003), Raptors in Your Pocket: A Guide to Great Plains Birds of Prey (2006), Waterfowl in Your Pocket: A Guide to Water Birds of the Midwest (2008), and Warblers in Your Pocket: A Guide to the Wood-Warblers of the Upper Midwest (Iowa, 2016), and the books Fifty Uncommon Birds of the Upper Midwest and Fifty Common Birds of the Upper Midwest (2010).