THURSDAY, 18 MARCH 2021Lars Jonsson’s Winter Birds is a book for those who want more from birding than simply ticking a species off a list. Jonsson explores over 50 species in exquisite and charming detail, all of which he can watch during the winter months from the window of his studio on the Swedish island of Gotland. However, this book is much more than a basic field guide. Jonsson accompanies each entry with beautiful watercolour drawings — to be expected since he is, after all, known first and foremost as an ornithological illustrator. The book is full of personal anecdotes from Jonsson’s time spent observing the birds’ behaviour and is littered with the perspective of an artist trying to capture every detail and hue of plumage. It makes for a beautiful read, effortlessly intertwining cultural snippets of etymology and history with ecological information. But it’s hard to know quite how to classify the book; it functions as an exceptionally beautiful field guide, a coffee-table book for dipping in and out of, and simply as a work of art. Jonsson’s refusal to write a book that fits into a conventional box just adds to its novelty and charm.
Artwork by Jocelyn Tang