Product Review: Sibley Birds Of Land, Sea, And Sky

Sibley Birds Of Land, Sea, And Sky:  50 Postcards, by David Allen Sibley

[Note:  This product was provided free of charge by Blogging For Books/Clarkson Potter.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

I am not sure exactly where this habit began, but I must admit that one of the more intriguing patterns of my reading habits over the past couple of years or so is to read books relating to birds [1], something that was not an appreciable interest of my reading in times past.  To be sure, I can remember enjoying my observations of both domestic and wild fowl as I came across them, from the ospreys and bald eagles in my travels around Florida, to red-tailed hawks dealing warily with rambunctious felines on the farm in Pennsylvania, to the seasonal birds whose comings and goings gave a clear sign of the turning of the seasons, to loud woodpeckers whose drilling was sometimes just outside the kitchen window.  While I have yet to consider myself a birdwatcher in any formal sense, I certainly have always appreciated looking at those birds I happen to see, and appreciating their song as well as their habits as I have observed them.  In that light, I suppose it is not too unusual that I would eventually find myself with a set of postcards like this one celebrating birds in such a glorious fashion.

This particular product is composed of five sections of ten postcards apiece, being divided into sections on waterfowl (1), woodpeckers (2), wading birds (3), songbirds (4), and owls and raptors (5).  Each of the postcards is designed with the same pattern, with a beautiful picture of a bird, often with at least the outlines of where it lives on the front along with its common and scientific name, with a place for stamps, address, and half of the back side of the postcard for writing.  The 50 postcards are divided among the many species of birds as follows.  The following waterfowl are on postcards:  the snow goose, mute swan, hooded merganser, spectacled eider, wood duck, blue-winged teal, pink-footed goose, greater scaup, cackling goose, and barnacle goose.  The following woodpeckers are represented here:  hairy woodpecker, Northern flicker, pileated woodpecker, ladder-backed woodpecker, red-billed woodpecker, Lewis’s woodpecker, Nuttall’s woodpecker, red-naped sapsucker, and Williamson’s sapsucker (both male and female separately).  Among wading books we have the following exemplars:  American woodcock, great blue heron, American bittern, killdeer, whooping crane, sandhill crane, American oystercatcher, white-faced ibis, surfbird, and lesser yellowlegs.  There are postcards of the following songbirds:  the eastern bluebird, Le Conte’s sparrow, cerulean warbler, yellow-rumpled warbler, tufted titmouse, rose-breasted grosbeak, Western tanager, blackburnian warbler, American redstart, and scissor-tailed flycatcher.  And teh following owls and raptors are portrayed:  the Northern goshawk, Northern saw-whet owl, boreal owl, barn owl, snowy owl, great horned owl, red-tailed hawk, eastern screech-owl, peregrine falcon, and bald eagle.

While I do not send out many postcards, even those who do not intend on using these postcards can at least appreciate the fine art that went into these, most of them drawn (from what I could see at least) during the early 2000’s by the artist.  If you are a birdwatcher or are friends with an enthusiastic birder, this is certainly the sort of gift that would likely be very appreciated, and it can even encourage someone to add the birds included to their own lists of birds seen if they are not already on it.  The drawings are colorful and evocative, and have a strongly realistic air to them.  One can almost see the birds come alive on the white postcards in somewhat spare but beautiful form.  Given that many of the birds chosen are either somewhat common or rather striking and familiar, there are likely many more obscure birds among the artwork of the artist, and that makes this a worthwhile collection to start with in the knowledge that there is likely a lot more where this comes from.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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