- Jonathan Elphick
name = Jonathan Elphick
caption = Jonathan Elphick, Boquer Valley. Majorca, May 2007.
Image provided courtesy of Melanie Willcock.
birth_date = 1945
Prestatyn, Flintshire (historic)
residence = London
nationality = British
Ornithology Art Natural History
work_institution = Freelance
University of Swansea( Zoology)
spouse = Melanie Willcock
Jonathan Elphick is a
natural historyauthor, editor and consultant. He is an eminent ornithologist, a qualified zoologist; Fellow of the Zoological Society of Londonand a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. He is author of "The Birdwatcher's Handbook: A Guide to the Birds of Britain and Ireland" [ "The Birdwatchers Handbook - A Guide to the Birds of Britain and Ireland, Elphick J. pub. by BBC Worldwide, with illustrations by Richard Allen, Robert Gillmor, Ren Hathway, Peter Hayman, David Quinn, Owen Williams, Martin Woodcock and Colin Woolf.] ; "Birds: The Art of Ornithology" ["The Art of Ornithology", Elphick J. Published Rizzoli, 2005] and "The Natural History Museum Atlas of Bird Migration: Tracing the Great Journeys of the World's Birds" [ "The Natural History Atlas of Bird Migration: Tracing the Great Journeys of the World's Birds ", Elphick J. Pub. NHM, London 2007.] , which received Bird Watching Magazine's 'Best Bird Reference Book of the Year'; as well as co-author of the "Encyclopedia of Animals" [ "Encyclopedia of Animals" by Jonathan Elphick, Jen Green and Barbara Taylor Pub. Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Incorporated, 2006] ; the "RSPB Pocket Birds; A Unique Photographic Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe" with Jonathan Woodward [ "RSPB Pocket Birds; A Unique Photographic Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe", Elphick. J and Woodward. J, pub Dorling Kindersley, 2003.] and "The National Parks and other Wild Places of Britain and Ireland", with photography by David Tipling[ "The National Parks and other Wild Places of Britain and Ireland", Elphick.J and Tipling.D, pub. New Holland, London, 2002] .
He has also been consultant, editor or author on a variety of other books, articles and CD-ROMs including "Coastline" with
Greenpeace, and the BBCproduction of "The Realms of the Russian Bear". [ [http://www.surfbirds.com/mb/Sketchbooks/handbook/elphick.html Surfbirds.com] ] .
Background and education
Born in 1945, in
Prestatyn, in what was then the historic county of Flintshire ( _cy. Sir y Fflint) until re-organisation made it part of Clwydand then Denbighshire; Jonathan Elphick was raised in North Wales, surrounded by a mountainous and beautiful mosaic of habitats: including traditional mixed farmland, woods, rivers, lakes, hills and coastlines. [ [http://www.surfbirds.com/mb/Sketchbooks/handbook/elphick.html Surfbirds.com] ] . He spent the first four years of his life in Rhyl, then moved to Dyserth, where he attended Ysgol Hiraddug, Dyserth, moving on to St Asaph's Grammar Schooland ultimately University College, Swansea(1964 - 1968), one of the four colleges comprising the University of Wales.
Birdlife in North Wales in the early 1950s was relatively unaffected by
agriculturaldevelopments and other changes, that proved to be major factors in the decline of many British birds.
Inspired by, among others, the writings of [http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1474-919X.1993.tb02127.x Bruce Campbell] one of the foremost ornithologists of the day, Elphick's journey through ornithological literature began with the paperback "Bird Watching for Beginners" and "Campbell's Birds in Colour". Migrating from the "Bird Recognition" paperback guides (by the ornthologist
James Fisher[ eg "WATCHING BIRDS", Fisher. J. pub. in London by Collins 1941] ) he came under the influence of the Nature Conservancywarden at Newborough WarrenNational Nature Reserve, on the Isle of Anglesey, Peter Hope-Jones. In 1969 Elphick gained a BSc. degree in Zoologyand secured a job as a Natural historyeditor, working as an in-house editor for various publishers including Dorling Kindersley[ See for example "Mammal" by Dorling Kindersley. Publishing Staff, Smithsonian Institution, David Burnie, Jonathan Elphick, Steve Parker, Christopher Norris] , eventually going freelance and specialising in Birds.
Themes and interests
Elphick worked for five years as
researcheron the best-selling book "Birds Britannica", written by Mark Cocker[ "Birds Britannica", Cocker M. pub by Chatto & Windus, 2005] . He specialises in the culturalhistory of birds and our changing attitudes to them. His work encompasses a variety of aspects that interest him, including practical field ornithology, biologicalresearch, the history of natural history, as well as ornithological art, all of which inform his personal reaction to birds. Elphick is a keen conservationistwho has travelled extensively to both study and make people aware of the importance of the Conservation movementat home and abroad.
Art and ornithology
Natural History Museumin Londonis the repository for some half a million works on paper and one million books, which are the sources for some exceptionally beautiful and important images of birds. Many are from rare sources. Elphick's work is a selection of art works from this archive, including the work of artists such as John James Audubon, along with Victorian explorers, who catalogued the world’s avifaunabefore the age of photography. It documents the work of many natural historyartists, such as John Gould, William MacGillivrayand Ferdinand Bauer. The text interweaves ornithological science, art history, biography, travel and other aspects of the subject to paint a picture of the artists and the birds they painted. [ [http://www.nhmshop.co.uk/art-history/birds-the-art-of-ornithology/product.html. Natural History Museum, Art and History Section] ]
Elphick's latest work, undertaken with the photographer
David Tipling, and due to be published later this year, is "GREAT BIRDS: 200 Star Species of Britain". [ "GREAT BIRDS: 200 Star Species of Britain", Elphick.J and Tipling.D, pub. Duncan Baird Publishers, London 2008.] Birds and People
Elphick is part of a team of naturalists and authors, including the British wildlife photographer
David Tiplingand the naturalist and author Mark Cocker, undertaking the Birds and Peopleproject [ Birds and People website [http://www.birdsandpeople.org] ] . " Birds and People" is a ten-year long, groundbreaking collaboration between the publishers Random Houseand BirdLife International, to survey and document worldwide, the cultural significance of birds. The "Birds and People" project involves an open internet forum, for individuals world-wide to document their reflections, experiences and stories about bird.. The final book is intended as a global chorus on the relationship between human beings and birds.
* [http://www.nhmshop.co.uk/art-history/birds-the-art-of-ornithology/product.html. Natural History Museum, Art and History Section]
* [http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/ Greenpeace UK]
* [http://www.birdsandpeople.org The Birds and People internet forum]
* [http://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/vision/birds_and_people.html Birdlife International]
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