Book of Curious Birds
60pp., hbk. RRP $A26.99
One of the great delights of living in the bush is watching the cavalcade of birds that visit and sometimes make their home amongst the snow gums, the native pines and the wattles that dominate this landscape. Some are seasonal workers, some are permanent residents, but none is as weird as those that make the pages of this new book by Jennifer Cossins, creator of The Ultimate Animal Alphabet Book and The Ultimate Animal Counting Book.
With names often as weird as their characteristics (such as tawny frogmouth, ocellated turkey, twelve-wired bird-of-paradise and Guianan cock-of-the-rock) readers are introduced to birds that have startling colours; strange physical features, and curious habits that make them stand out amongst others of their species. There are those like the wandering albatross that can glide for 900km in a day with little effort and those like the North Island brown kiwi confined to land for life and that are closer to mammals than birds. There are the Vulturine Guinea Fowl with their complex social structure indicating high intelligence and the blue-footed booby, known as “the clown of the Galapagos”. There are the Secretary Birds that are amazing snake killers and the Tufted Puffin renowned for catching fish 25 metres below the surface!
Whatever the reason, each has made its way into this fascinating book that had me turning the pages for ages and I am not known for being an ornithologist or even a twitcher. With each having a double page spread , an introduction in easily accessible text and accompanied by Cossins unique illustrative style, this is an essential addition to the collection to add to the current interest in the planets strange and peculiar inhabitants, to offer those who prefer non fiction to fiction and for small groups to share together, an intrinsic part of reading development in young boys, particularly.