Waterbirds

By Theodore Cross

W.W. Norton & Co., 2009; 344 pages, $100.00

The avian album of Theodore Cross, an octogenarian lawyer, entrepreneur, social activist, and very serious birder is extraordinary. In an introductory section, he recounts visits to some of the most remote birding sites on the planet, from the high Arctic desert of Ellesmere Island, northern breeding ground of the Patagonian red knot, to Johnston Atoll in the central Pacific, where the rarely seen Bulwer’s petrel makes its nest. The color photographs, so richly detailed that you can see texture in each feather, convey deep empathy with the natural world. The birds preen, strut, and pose—as if the photographer were not just watching from a distance, but sharing intimate moments with good friends.

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