Jonathan Elphick

Jonathan Elphick

name = Jonathan Elphick

caption = Jonathan Elphick, Boquer Valley. Majorca, May 2007.
Image provided courtesy of Melanie Willcock.
birth_date = 1945
birth_place = Prestatyn, Flintshire (historic)
residence = London
nationality = British
field = Ornithology
Natural History
work_institution = Freelance
alma_mater = University of Swansea (Zoology)
societies =

prizes =

spouse = Melanie Willcock
children =
footnotes =

Jonathan Elphick is a natural history author, editor and consultant. He is an eminent ornithologist, a qualified zoologist; Fellow of the Zoological Society of London and 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 BBC production of "The Realms of the Russian Bear". [ [] ] .

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 Clwyd and 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. [ [] ] . 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 School and 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 agricultural developments and other changes, that proved to be major factors in the decline of many British birds.

Inspired by, among others, the writings of [ 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 Conservancy warden at Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve, on the Isle of Anglesey, Peter Hope-Jones. In 1969 Elphick gained a BSc. degree in Zoology and secured a job as a Natural history editor, 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 researcher on the best-selling book "Birds Britannica", written by Mark Cocker [ "Birds Britannica", Cocker M. pub by Chatto & Windus, 2005] . He specialises in the cultural history of birds and our changing attitudes to them. His work encompasses a variety of aspects that interest him, including practical field ornithology, biological research, the history of natural history, as well as ornithological art, all of which inform his personal reaction to birds. Elphick is a keen conservationist who has travelled extensively to both study and make people aware of the importance of the Conservation movement at home and abroad.

Art and ornithology

The Natural History Museum in London is 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 avifauna before the age of photography. It documents the work of many natural history artists, such as John Gould, William MacGillivray and 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. [ [ Natural History Museum, Art and History Section] ]

Latest work

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 Tipling and the naturalist and author Mark Cocker, undertaking the Birds and People project [ Birds and People website [] ] . "Birds and People" is a ten-year long, groundbreaking collaboration between the publishers Random House and 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.


External links

* [ Natural History Museum, Art and History Section]
* [ Greenpeace UK]
* [ The Birds and People internet forum]
* [ Birdlife International]

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