Author Sue Taylor, a 'twitcher' from Melbourne, Victoria, talks to ABC Radio about her new book John Gould's Extinct and Endangered Birds of Australia.
In 1838, John Gould, the 'father of Australian ornithology', visited Australia with the intention of gathering material for his great work on Australian birds. In the resulting publications, The Birds of Australia: In Seven Volumes (1848) and the accompanying Supplement (1869), Gould gave over 180 Australian bird species their scientific names.
John Gould's Extinct and Endangered Birds of Australia features 59 plates of birds from Gould's eight-volume work, birds that today are threatened or that no longer exist. Featuring exquisite full-colour lithographs reproduced from the National Library of Australia's copy of The Birds of Australia, this book gives an insight into the history of each bird's European discovery, as well as its subsequent fortunes or misfortunes. A detailed description of each species, its habitat, its habits, current threats and more are also included.
A sobering reminder of all that we have lost, this book provides and opportunity to reflect on how we might also take action to protect and preserve the birds for whom it is not too late.