The Helmeted Friarbird Calls Out, “Poor Devil”

Perusing a volume of the Princeton Field Guides, “Birds of Australia” by Ken Simpson and gorgeously illustrated by Nicolas Day, I’m getting worked up for a trip to Cairns this August. The awesome diversity is a little intimidating- thirteen species of cuckoo alone. Not to mention the wondrous numbers of cockatoos, parrots, lorikeets, and other psitticines to drool over. Encouraging is the note, “vast, noisy flocks” in the field guide entries of some of these beautiful birds. Entire unfamiliar families (fairy wrens, paradotes, wattlebirds, honeyeaters, fantails, monarchs) await.

The field guide is not just tantalizing but charming. The waterproof inside cover has life-sized drawings of seabird bills lined up all around the edges and a note that, “you can wipe off any undesireable fluids after testing your latest beach-washed seabird”

Can’t ask for more than that!

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