The bird book for birders and non-birders alike that will excite and inspire by providing a new and deeper understanding of what common, mostly backyard, birds are doing – and why
"Can birds smell?" "Is this the same Cardinal that was at my feeder last year?" "Do Robins 'hear' worms?" In What It's Like to Be a Bird, David Sibley answers the most frequently asked questions about the birds we see most often. This special large-format volume is geared as much to non-birders as it is to the out-and-out obsessed, covering more than 200 species and including more than 430 new illustrations by the author. While its focus is on familiar backyard birds – Blue Jays, Nuthatches, Chickadees – it also examines certain species that can be fairly easily observed, such as the sea-shore dwelling Puffin. David Sibley's exacting artwork and wide-ranging expertise brings observed behaviours vividly to life. (For most species, the primary illustration is reproduced life-sized.) And while the text is aimed at adults – including fascinating new scientific research on the myriad ways birds have adapted to environmental changes – it is non-technical, making it the perfect occasion for parents and grandparents to share their love of birds with young children, who will delight in the big, full-colour illustrations of birds in action. Unlike any other book he has written, What It's Like to Be a Bird is poised to bring a whole new audience to David Sibley's world of birds.
David Allen Sibley is the author and illustrator of the series of successful guides to nature that bear his name, including The Sibley Guide to Birds. He has contributed to Smithsonian, Science, The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, Birding, BirdWatching, and North American Birds, and to The New York Times. He is the recipient of the Roger Tory Peterson Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Birding Association and the Linnaean Society of NY's Eisenmann Medal. He lives and birds in Massachusetts.
"Lingering over every page of What It's Like to Be a Bird, this is what can be seen: The book's beauty mirrors the beauty of birds it describes so marvelously."
"Any new Sibley book is an event [...] A sprightly, information-packed encyclopedia of bird behavior. What lifts it into the realm of art is Sibley's illustrations – 330 of them, many life-size. Captured in pencil and gouache, Sibley's birds are as scientifically accurate as Peterson's or Audubon's, but less static, more alive [...] The American robin with a rust-red Dickensian waistcoat; a martial, copper-feathered red-tailed hawk perched watchful along a country road – these and all the birds celebrated in What It's Like to Be a Bird seem ready to take flight."
– Peter Fish, San Francisco Chronicle
"After years of rushing to his indispensable field guides for sure resolution of any bird or tree ID conundrum, I'm delighted to find David Allen Sibley stretching his considerable artistic and literary wings [...] Having painted them all in every possible plumage permutation, evenly lighted and in profile, Mr. Sibley's joy in creating chiaroscuro tableaux of birds feeding, flying and tending their young is palpable [...] Expect to be surprised at the mental and physical capabilities of birds."
– Julie Zickefoose, The Wall Street Journal
"Simply gorgeous [...] Appropriate for general readers as well as bird experts, and it is perfectly suitable for young readers [...] As the world's bird population shrinks, it is helpful and even inspiring to learn as much as possible about the amazing feathered creatures that share our planet. There is no better way than to browse through David Allen Sibley's new book, What It's Like to Be a Bird."
– Nancy Gilson, The Columbus Dispatch
"Sibley answers all kinds of questions people have about birds [...] [His] exacting artwork and wide-ranging expertise bring observed behaviors vividly to life."
"Gorgeous art and fascinating information come together here. The organization makes it easy to pick up and read whatever strikes your fancy, while the depth of information means that anyone can learn a great deal. And then there's the art – lots and lots of it. All that makes this book attractive to anyone even remotely interested in birds."
– The Birder's Library
"A fascinating work that fulfills its goal to 'give readers some sense of what it's like to be a bird' [...] [Readers] will emerge with a deeper appreciation of birds, and of what observable behaviors can reveal about animals' lives."
– Publishers Weekly