Remembrance of Things Past

Coffeetable Books




December 17, 1999:

Great Texas Birds

by John P. O'Neill, edited by Suzanne Winckler

University of Texas Press, 128 pp., $34.95

Texas is the great bird state, with over 600 species, both native and migrating. Great Texas Birds has the look of a picture book, reproducing 48 bird paintings by O'Neill, a noted ornithologist and nature painter. But there is much more here than just beautiful renditions of bird life, always posed in indigenous trees, grasses, or shrubs. Each painting is accompanied by a one-page essay; many of them are written by notable Texas naturalists and bird enthusiasts, including Roy Bedicheck, Robin Doughty, Victor Emanuel, John Graves, Steve Harrigan, and Edgar Kincaid Jr., our state's greatest ornithologist and one of its greatest eccentrics. Editor Suzanne Winckler contributes a marvelous essay on the Yellow-breasted Chat, and should be congratulated on this labor of love. John O'Neill's paintings are clear and lifelike, not in the Romantic tradition of Audubon, but very handsome. At this price, Great Texas Birds is a beautiful bargain.


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