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John Elmer Lee

Portraits of New Zealand Native Birds

The Portraits

Portraits of New Zealand Native Birds is an intimate e-book of photographic portraits of New Zealand native, endemic and migrant birds.


New Zealand readers of this book will gain a greater appreciation of native birds and the perils to their continued survival. The book also provides a showcase for the larger world to appreciate New Zealand’s beautiful birds.


Information is provided for amateur photographers to improve their skills in photographing birds in the wild, and will help would-be birders to understand the ethics of responsible bird observation.


Included are insights into the birds by New Zealand’s most renowned naturalists of the 19th and 20th centuries including Sir Walter L. Buller,T. H. Potts, H. Guthrie–Smith, Edgar F. Stead, Johannes C. Andersen, W. T. L. Travers, Captain F. W. Hutton, and Richard Henry to aid the reader’s understanding of the current state of native birds.



Our Dirty Little Secret

Many of the birds represented in "Portraits of New Zealand Native Birds" are threatened or endangered. Encroachment on their habitats by humans, and the pests they brought with them into New Zealand, are the principal reason for many native birds precipitous decline, and only human intervention can save them.


Current measures are having limited success in reversing this trend. Greater protection of the native, endemic and migrant birds of New Zealand is vitally needed. A country that calls itself clean and green must do more than lip service to this ideal. This book is intended to shine a light on saving these birds and ensuring their future existence. To do this, increased funding of the Department of Conservation, greater expansion and protection of native bush and wetlands, the creation of more protected mainland and off shore havens, and cleaning of our rivers and steams must start now. Let us not tolerate the shame of inaction or allow indifference be the legacy we hand our children.