A list of useful and entertaining bird-centric books with brief descriptions
Birdology [offsite link]
Sy Montgomery, a naturalist and writer, has a deep passion and affinity for birds and she clearly illustrates the complexity and depth of their lives beyond our casual knowing. A fascinating and instructive account of her relationships with chickens, falcons, parrots and more.
Birdwatcher - The Life of Roger Tory Peterson
Roger Tory Peterson, who had a true love of birds and nature, taught many Americans to appreciate the joy of birdwatching. He is the man who invented the field guide. Back in 1934, there were not any field guides to help bird lovers identify which birds they were seeing.
Comparing Field Guides
Which field guide should you use to go birding? In this article, I compare three.
Finding Your Wings - Peterson Field Guide [offsite link]
This is a workbook that requires a Peterson Field Guide as its companion. A user´s guide to bird watching that assists you in learning how to look at birds, recognize them, identify them and enjoy them. It is a great exercise for not-so-beginning birders, too. A wonderful tool to share with your child or grandchild or best friend as you learn and grow in bird knowledge together. Guttman´s book is clearly a forerunner to the new Cornell Lab of Ornithology´s online Merlin tool.
Hummingbirds of Texas [offsite link]
A biologist, an ornithologist and an Auduboner collaborated to write this compact, armchair more-than-a-field guide to the 19 species of hummingbirds known to occur in Texas. Great anecdotal stories woven in with the striking photographs, fully-colored illustrations, and excellent information on feeding, nesting, garden plants, viewing and photography. The best basic guide possible for anyone interested in learning the ins and outs of i.d., care, and viewing of our ´flying jewels´.
Magic Summer of Bluebirds [offsite link]
Even adults will delight in this richly-colored, beautifully-illustrated book based on the Oregon bluebird journal of Lucille Nellis. A good read-aloud book that weaves habitat facts with adventurous fun as her grandchildren explore the
natural world around them- particularly bluebirds.
The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds [offsite link]
Stephen Kress, a long-time Auduboner, has written a fine, comprehensive resource book for adapting your plot of land- whether it be sidewalk strip or wetland, and everything in between- into heavenly habitats for our bird friends. Kress´ nearly 500 pages covers landscaping of all terrains, and links bird families to their natural food sources. He provides botanical descriptions and plant/tree/shrub lists, as well as supplemental feeding and watering suggestions, and artificial housing tips.
The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors [offsite link]
Hawks (raptors) and peeps (shorebirds) are notorious for their difficulty in making identifications. This raptor guide is a truly unique instructional manual relying on ´imprinting´ to train your eyes to make correct i.d.. Color photographs of hawks at rest and in flight are overlaid on colored habitat landscapes to make the field experience come to life in your armchair. Encyclopedic-quality biological data is included, also. Click here for a sampling.
The Life History of a Texas Birdwatcher [offsite link]
Connie Hagar´s story as an intrepid, passionate observer and educator of birds is told lovingly and beautifully by one of Connie´s birding proteges, Kay McCracken. Connie pointed the way to the importance of the Texas coastal migratory flyway, and this account is also the story of a previous generation of ornithologists and birdwatchers who helped make birding what it is today- because of Connie Hagar.
The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane [offsite link]
The author documents the nine years of hard labor fraught with frustration and colored with adventure and dramatic tension that defined this incredibly gifted field ornithologist, Robert Porter Allen. Ms. Kaska says of him that he was "Indiana-Jones-meets-John-James-Audubon". A great read, and very telling in its historical recounting of the heroic attempts to save the Whooping Crane from spiraling toward extinction.
Wings of Mercy - Prayer in Birding
If you´ve got a spiritual bent, and love birding, then Wings of Mercy combines those two passions in a lovely book to read with a cup of tea.
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