On looking closer at the fledgling Rufous-banded Honeyeater last night I
noticed that half its upper mandible was missing, presumably a result of
the attack by the White-gaped Honeyeater. However the bird was still
calling vigorously, and the parents were still coming into feed it.
Remains to be seen whether it survives.
Re 'Birds of Australia's Top End', thank you Andrew for your kind
About the book being idiosyncratic - I was urged by half a dozen listers
to confine it to the 'bare bones'. However I wanted the book to appeal
to the majority of birdwatchers who want more than local plumages, calls,
distribution etc., such as the names and descriptions of plants found in
particular habitats, and information on safety and climate. They also
want to know about Kunwinjku people and how they relate to wildlife, they
like anecdotes, and most importantly they like the book.
The book has also won over non-birding readers who say that it 'makes
learning about birds/science fun'. One of the latter, Susan Kurosawa
who reviewed the book for 'The Weekend Australian' in March thought it an
'excellent production' (personal email).
Among academics the response has been similarly positive. For instance
Ritchie Bell, Professor Emeritus of Botany, University of North Carolina
and principal of Laurel Hill Press said the book 'set a new standard for
natural history books'. I respect his opinon - he and his partner Dr.
Anne Lindsey, a plant taxonomist and authority on native American plant
usage have been publishing natural history books for a couple of decades.
They are now my distributors in the USA.
The book also appealed to ornithologists such as Dr. Janet Kear
(ex-editor of IBIS, ex-president of the British Ornithologists' Union),
who called the book 'impressive' (personal email), and suggested I submit
it to 'IBIS', the 'BBC Wildlife Magazine' and 'Wildfowl and Wetlands' for
review. (Among Janet's publications are (1985) Eric Hosking's
Wildfowl. Croom Helm: London;
(1990) Man and Wildfowl. Poyser: London (chosen for Natural World's
book of the year award); (1991) Ducks of the World. Weldon: Australia).
The book is now being distributed in the UK by Subbuteo Books, courtesy
of Janet Kear who suggested I contact them.
If I'd gone along with the listers who suggested I leave out all the
'extraneous info', and the idiosyncracies I doubt whether the book would
have inspired such a response. Bird books do not have to lack the human
Denise Goodfellow (Lawungkurr Maralngurra)
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