The Find

‘Drawn from Paradise’

“Drawn from Paradise: The Discovery, Art and Natural History of the Birds of Paradise” (Harper Design) is a fascinating ramble led by David Attenborough and Errol Fuller. Many of the more than 200 illustrations and paintings here are from their private collections. They didn’t set out to produce a definitive work; they simply wanted to share their love of birds so beautiful it was once thought they must be from paradise. Paradise, in this case, refers mainly to New Guinea. Why do the male birds have such extravagant plumes? Charles Darwin chalked it up to sexual selection; after reviewing the candidates, the females pick their favorite.