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On Feathered Wings: Birds in Flight Hardcover – May 1, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

An avid birder for over twenty years, Richard Ettlinger lives in East Rockaway, New York.

Rob Palmer contributes to several magazines.

Miguel Lasa lives in England.

KK Hui photographs the birds of Hong Kong, where he lives.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810995255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810995253
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.8 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,133,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Conrad J. Obregon VINE VOICE on May 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Bird watchers and bird photographers know that the hardest view of their subjects to catch is when they are in flight. That is why this book of bird flight pictures is so amazing. I suspect that Ettlinger had to find six co-photographers because no smaller group could come up with enough pictures to make up a book.

The book begins with pictures of raptors: hawks, eagles, owls. It's particularly awesome to see these birds with fish, rabbits, mice or insects in their talons. Next are pictures from the shore, including shorebirds, gulls, terns, puffins and a few waders. These are followed by wetlands pictures including more waders and ducks. The book finishes up with a few pictures of songbirds, mostly swallows. The pictures are from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

These pictures are amazingly sharp, given that their subjects were moving rapidly. All of the pictures are tributes to the skills of the seven photographers. The majority of pictures are of the raptors, probably due to the fact that they are usually larger birds with less angular motion required to keep them large and framed. The number of songbirds is disappointingly small.

I would love to have any of these pictures hanging on my wall. All of the pictures are closely cropped, so that the birds seem ready to burst out of the frame. And that's also the rub in part. A book is a work of art in its own right and as such relies upon both repetition and variation. It needs a rhythm and the one here is repetitious, so that after a dozen or so pictures, the images started to blend together. To make sure of myself I looked at the work of another bird photographer, "
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Format: Hardcover
Page through any bird photography book or birding magazine. You may not notice it at first, but eventually you come to realize that there are not many shots of birds in flight. The reason is simple - they are hard to get. But this book is just the opposite, birds on the wing is all that you will find here.

This book would have been worthwhile if only for the unique premise, provided that the photographs are at least mostly technically sound. But the photographs here are, as best I can tell, technically perfect. Moreover, many of them are truly breathtaking.

The author has organized the photographs into the following sections:
- Killers on the wing - raptors (including owls) - 32 species
- Wings along the shore - "shorebirds", which includes the shorebird family as well as any bird that may be found along the shore or ocean, such as terns and puffins - 21 species
- Wings of the wetlands - 26 species
- Songbirds on the wing - 5 species, only three of which are actually passerines (Barn and Tree Swallows, and Eastern Meadowlark)

You will notice that there are more species of raptors included than any other group. Indeed, the raptor section is by far the largest in terms of number of photographs. That is to be expected, since this group is probably the easiest to capture in flight. Some of the raptors are just flying birds against a blue sky. But many of them are truly dramatic. All of the Bald Eagle and Osprey shots are fantastic. But the best could be a close-up of a stooping American Kestrel. It is unforgetable.

My biggest disappointment with the species selection was a lack of songbirds. I can understand the scarcity due to the extreme difficulty of getting good flight shots of them, but still I was hoping for more.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Absolutely beautiful book with excellent photography. Most impressive is that most of the birds pictured are in flight--it's a rarity to get such a nice collection, since in-flight is the hardest way to get good bird images. Also, this is one of the few books that lets you observe & study the birds' wing and tail patterns, which have a delightful artistic beauty and rhythm. Buy it!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has the most magnificent bird pictures, but I expected some tips on how to take pictures of birds in flight - my mistake. However, the pictures are so good that I don't regret the purchase. Quite the opposite! Just be careful: if you want a "how to" you should buy another book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Speaking as a wannabe great bird photographer, all I can say is this book is humbling and inspiring.

I agree with another reviewer that details of the shot (focal length especially) would have been useful.

Fabulous.

post-note...I was thinking this would be the first book I ever would put on my coffee table. I was surprised that was the same exact comment when I showed it to a fellow bird photographer. This really is a gorgeous book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I agree with many of the other reviews and wish there had been more pictures of the smaller birds, this is a spectacular book. The photography is stunning, with clear, incredibly detailed and focused shots of birds caught in the moment of flight. From the almost whimsical "is anybody home?" look on the Northern Shoveler's face on page 160 as he slides in for a landing over his reflection to the razor sharp, every feather in perfect detail photo of the Aplomado Falcon on page 80, every photograph is a birdlover's dream. This book gives us a rare and wonderful chance to see and study in detail the beauty that we usually only get to glimpse.
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