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Books on Bird Gardening

As many gardeners have discovered gardening is a great way to develop an interest in bird watching and bird feeding. Here are some books that will be helpful to bird lovers.

“Fifty Common Birds of the Upper Midwest” by Nancy Overcott with watercolors by Dana Gardner was published by the University of Iowa Press as part of the Bur Oak Series. Among these species are ones that can be found else where as well, including the eastern U.S., such as the blue jay, killdeer, and mourning dove.

The individual bird profiles present the fascinating natural history, feeding habits, habitats, descriptions, and migratory behaviors as well as pertinent facts regarding their population numbers past and present.

“The Bird Watcher’s Companion to North American Birdlife” by Christopher W. Leahy with illustrations by Gordon Morrison was published by Princeton University Press in collaboration with the American Birding Association.

The new edition features over 1000 pages with easy to use cross-indexed A to Z entries. This definitive guide belongs in every bird lover’s library. Written in an easy to read style, this includes in-depth accounts on every imaginable subject, including bird behaviors, definitions and terms, physiology and anatomy, names, and locales where they are found.

The appendix contains a checklist of American birds as well as lists of occasional visitors, exotics, and those that are extinct. Among the illustrations are maps, sketches, and helpful tables.

“Bird-by-Bird Gardening-the Ultimate Guide to Bringing in your Favorite Birds-Year after Year” by Sally Roth was released by Rodale. The introduction covers all the basics on bird gardening, including lists of suitable plants.
A section is devoted to each family of birds, such as the wrens and woodpeckers. For each family, the author provides a complete background, natural history, behavior, range, habitat, and tips on providing suitable habitat and foods. This title is lushly illustrated with color photos and color art. It profiles 52 kinds of common birds that are found over much of the U.S. One chapter is devoted to bird behavior during the different seasons. There are sample garden designs with lists and tables of recommended plants.

“Out of the Woods-a Bird Watcher’s Year” is a collection of poems and essays by naturalist/journalist/artist Ora E. Anderson. Released by Ohio University Press, this was edited by Deborah Griffith and contains illustrations by Julie Zickefoose.

In these heartfelt writings organized by the seasons, Anderson shares his experiences and rare insights into the natural world. Through these works, his far-reaching influence as a conservationist will continue long after his death. One reviewer dubbed him “the Thoreau of the Appalachian woods.”

“Songbird Journeys-Four Seasons in the Lives of Migratory Birds” by Miyoko Chu was released by Walker and Company. Though many of the ins and outs of bird migration remain a mystery, the author has managed quite a feat by pulling together all the current research and experiences of those involved in studying migrations.

Written in an engaging style, this book will appeal to the bird lover in all of us. She explains the how, when, and where of bird migration for various species, including accounts of individual birds that were banded. By tracing the migratory patterns through the seasons, the author provides an intimate view of bird life. The appendix has a list of migration hot spots where the birds can be seen during their migrations. This book has color plates of the birds.

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