200 Years. 200 Stories. Story 128: “From Ornithology to Interior Design ”

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book cover for Trogons: A Natural History of the Trogonidae
Book cover for Trogons: A Natural History of the Trogonidae.

From Ornithology to Interior Design

A book on tropical birds that won the 2010 International Book Award for best interior design relied heavily on the scientific expertise and hundreds of bird images from the Academy. Artist Albert Earl Gilbert of Bridgewater, Connecticut, was honored for his beautifully accurate illustrations in Trogons: A Natural History of the Trogonidae. He credited the Academy’s Visual Resources for Ornithology (VIREO) for helping him depict the colors of this threatened family of birds in an accurate manner. Gilbert also made expeditions to rain forests around the world to paint these beautiful tropical birds, including the quetzal, the sacred bird of the ancient Mayans and Aztecs. Trogons, published by Princeton University Press, also was a finalist for best cover design. Derrick I. Stone of Australia designed the book.

The book presents a definitive natural history of trogons at a time when the tropical forests where they live are threatened by logging and land clearing. Gilbert said the book is intended not only to summarize and advance knowledge about trogons, but also to draw attention to the urgent need to protect the habitat of these birds. Gilbert’s paintings are the first to accurately depict all species of trogons in their natural habitat and true colors.

Learn more about VIREO, the world’s most comprehensive collection of ornithological images, and view the collection online.

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