David Allen Sibley reshaped the world of birding when he introduced The Sibley Guide to Birds in 2000. Like John James Audubon and Roger Tory Peterson before him, Sibley is equal parts naturalist and artist. His depictions of different species of birds from various groups and at different stages of their lives emphasize markings in ways that both distinguish the bird and make it come to life. He pictures birds in flight seen from below, as we most often view them. Those of us who thought the birding guides reached their apex when the National Audubon Society published guides with silhouettes and photographs in the 1970s were sadly mistaken. A big burly volume not necessarily meant for the field (more portable editions soon followed), the Sibley guide was a revelation in the immensity of the information it held and the respect it showed for subject and craft. On Tuesday, April 8, at 5 p.m., Sibley comes to Garcia Street Books (376 Garcia St., 505-986-0151) to talk about the new second edition of his guide, published by Alfred A. Knopf). The biggest improvement? The illustrations, digitally remastered, are all 15-to-20-percent larger. There are also some 600 paintings not included in the first edition, including 111 rare species not previously depicted,and the guide’s 700 maps have been updated to reflect changing seasonal ranges. If birding has a superstar, Sibley is it. Here’s a chance to catch him on the wing.
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