Between the wingtips: the secret life of birds.

Between the wingtips: the secret life of birds. Magnus Ulman, Brutus Ostling.
Between the wingtips: the secret life of birds.

London: Collins, 2006. Octavo, colour photographs, fine copy in dustwrapper.

To understand birds, you have to see them in their natural state, and award-winning photographer Brutus Östling is up to the task. Travelling the world over, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, Östling takes us "behind the scenes" to capture these magnificent creatures at various times of the year, in various natural settings. None of what is presented in this book could in any way be thought of as "stock photography," and none of it is digitally manipulated.

Organized by theme, and with elegant text by nature writer Magnus Ullman, 140 common and rare species are seen in their habitats. Whether shown flying or feeding, nesting or displaying their colours, each of them clearly is a distinct individual. The text offers musings on, and descriptions of, the most distinctive features or behaviors. For example, it explains why storks' beaks are slightly curved, and how this attribute helps their foraging.

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