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We learn from an early age that nothing is quite so dead as a dodo. We've heard stories of flocks of passenger pigeons once darkening the skies over North America, only to be reduced to a single bird, Martha, who perished in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1914. Errol Fuller's gloriously illustrated Extinct Birds provides details of the natural history and fates of more than 80 species of birds now believed to be gone forever. In a lively, compelling style, Fuller conveys accurate scientific and historical information about the lives, times, and disappearances of bird species since 1600. Fuller's species accounts are vivid reminders of what birds, precisely, the world has already lost. The physical evidence provided by preserved specimens is given narrative texture with Fuller's use of eyewitness accounts of the lives (and, in many cases, the last days) of bird species from all over the world. Nearly all the accounts in Extinct Birds are illustrated with breathtaking color plates, many by artists, including Audubon, Keulemans, and Lear, who had the advantage of working from fresh specimens or even from living birds. These paintings, beautiful in their own right, are also primary sources of scientific knowledge. Birds for which appropriate illustrations did not already exist are shown in new paintings produced especially for this book.The revised edition of Extinct Birds includes several speciesamong them three from North Americanot covered in the original 1987 edition. More happily, two species have been rediscovered in the intervening years, and several others in danger of being declared extinct have been located again. By describing in words and pictures the beauty and diversity of those birds already lost to extinction, Fuller inspires us to do what we can to prevent future editions of Extinct Birds from drawing new chapters from the field guides of today.
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