Sunday, February 10, 2013


 This is a different sort of "Unfeathered..."

 Heighdy-ho lil' neighbors! I received a new book from my buddy Jessica at Princeton University Press, "The Unfeathered Bird" by Katrina van Grouw.

Have you ever wondered how birds look underneath those fluffy feathers? If you're not like my friend the Sharpie above and don't want to grab a Starling and rip his feathers out with your teeth, you may want to look into this large book.

Katrina is the former curator of the ornithological collections at London's Natural History Museum, a fine artist and a taxidermist. She has spent years preparing these specimens and posing them to create this book. I've always wondered about wing structures on birds(really, I did!) and how they could lift their weight and fly. By looking through these pages, I've discovered so much. You'll see birds with their flesh removed to see their musculature, their bone structures and details of how woodpeckers peck without going bonkers.

The language is simple to understand...which means a lot coming from me, the ultimate simple birder. It begins with a "Generic" information section to outline bird structure and it is followed by more specific information on bird families. (I didn't see The Doodles family though.) And the artwork is amazing! The peacock on the cover is too cool! The 10"X12" coffee table size makes it easy to study and would look great opened on a book stand. There's lots of science involved in these illustrations, but I just like the artfulness of them.
 A poor skinless European Robin with a worm.
I like my chicken to be skinless...

 A European Robin with it's skin still intact...and without a worm.
 Great Hornbill not looking so great right now...
I saw a Budgie at the pet store that wasn't far off from this drawing.

To learn a little more about how this book and the skeletons were created, check out this website from Katrina!
This video shows Katrina creating a print...


  1. Great review!! This looks like an awesome book. I find many bird skeletons in the bogs and on the shorelines of Cape Breton and always wonder who they belong to. I'll have to check this book out!!

  2. I like your first shot. Usually these guys do their plucking in a tree. You keep wondering why there are feathers under the tree. Interesting to see the bird skeletons displayed.

  3. Most fascinating. I'll check into it!