| By Noel Ureña Chacón & Bryan Pollock | The Neotropic Bird Project | 2019 | e-Book | ISBN: Kindle: 9780994799012 |  Apple Books: 9780994799029 |

The Publisher’s View: 101+ Common Birds of Costa Rica will delight all bird and art lovers who have been waiting for technical and beautiful paintings of the more common birds of the region. Size and a brief description accompany each painting. Not only accurate, but high resolution, you can zoom into see every feather detail clearly; up to 400% without pixelation. <p> The artist, Bryan Pollock, along with Noel Ureña, a fount of avian field knowledge, have spent over three years bringing their vast background and experience to produce this book. They hope this will be the first volume of a series covering the 900 plus birds of Costa Rica.

Other Views: A reader (Cynthia Melcher) writes: My husband and I had the recent honour of being participants on a 2-week trip with one of this book’s co-authors, Noel Urena Chacon, so we already knew that his knowledge of Costa Rican birds was as profound as his attention to important details in renditions of birds. His enthusiasm for his homeland’s avian treasures was boundless, and it shows in this book of gorgeous artwork by artist co-author, Bryan Pollock. The book reminds me—in scope, beauty, and vision—of the original (subscription) volumes of John James Audubon’s paintings of North American birds. The little snippets of text that accompany each bird painting provide interesting anecdotes about each species’ ecology or behaviour… an added dimension to the exquisite artwork that will help readers enjoy the bird paintings even more. Although anyone who appreciates birds and/or natural history works of art will enjoy this book, it us a must-have keepsake for anyone who has been to (or plans to go to) and had the privilege of enjoying Costa Rica’s birdlife in person.

Fatbirder View: In 2016 I said of the original:

Before taking a look I wondered exactly what this was for? OK Its nice to have some random pretty pictures of exotic birds, but this seemed to be neither a coffee table book, an artwork nor a fieldguide and I could not see the niche. All I could think of to compare it with was Peter Sigrist’s Birds of Brazil. Of course, I loved that sumptuous book so it was sufficient to get me to look at this one.

From the opening page I fell in love with this unusual product. Of 101 birds illustrated all but a couple are not just accurate and beautiful but each captures the overall impression of the species and its character. The couple of exceptions were Acorn Woodpecker and Osprey. The woodpecker doesn’t really look like a woodpecker – which it certainly does in life; and the osprey seems rather benevolent and soft compared with the voracious and magnificent fishing raptor I know. This seems such a minor quibble when the rest are nothing short of stunning. <p>Regular readers will know I much prefer art work to photography when it comes to fieldguides and yet these are not the usual accurate but bland illustrations one normally sees but bridge the gap between a scientific illustration and pure art in an almost unique way. I cannot wait for the next tranche of them, roll on the next 101!

2019 Update:

The authors and artists have now completed the version they originally intended… a companion guide for birders… which is a cross between fine art and field-guide. Not only is the text enhanced with, for example, notes on distribution, but some of the paintings have been re-done, particularly the ones I mentioned in my 2016 review as not quite up to the very high standard of the rest.<p>The e-book is a joy to view and a terrific companion for birders. Moreover, you can download a version that carries calls, video etc. Kindle-users can get this, but those of us who are iPhone users need to download the Applebook version to get the full media experience (who knows why the kindle for iPhone version doesn’t? In my view this is just laziness on the part of kindle or rather silly selfishness on the part of Apple*). I have an app with a full fieldguide of Costa Rica which is OK, but I now feel that, for these species at least, I really do have the best of both worlds… all I need now is the business-class flights to Costa Rica 🙂


*As an aside the one thing I hate about Apple is its refusal to make things generally more accessible like making it hard work to link your hearing aids to phones unless they are the over-priced Apple Hearing Aids.