On Rare Birds is an endearing compilation of the history and extinction of several bird species, along with detailed accounts of many rare birds. Award-winning writer Anita Albus combines her education in natural history with investigative reporting, transforming each bird's tale into a captivating combination of culture, mythology, science, and lyrical storytelling.
Illustrated with stunning avian portraits throughout, it tells the compelling stories of ten rare or extinct bird species—from the tragic demise of the once-abundant Passenger Pigeon to the shooting death of the last Carolina Parakeet in the wild, and from the startling natural defenses of the “willful Nightjar” to the diverse cultural significance of the Kingfisher. Some stories bear sad witness to precious species we have lost, but they are all fascinating and often heartwarming or humorous depictions of the unique lives and loves of birds.
With knowledge, devotion, and a true artist’s eye, Albus explains in graceful, precise prose why the decline of these bird species is a great loss both to the natural world and, unavoidably, to culture. With each species lost, a world is lost to human understanding—to our arts, our mythology, and our environment.
Anita Albus is an award-winning writer and artist based in Munich and Burgundy. She is known for her detailed nature paintings as well as for her essays, stories, and writings on art history. Her books include The Art of Arts, The Botanical Drama, The Garden of Songs, and The Botanical Spectacle. Her prizes include the Medal of Honor from the Federal Republic of Germany (2001).