Books for Birders

For those who arise before dawn to trudge the muddy trails and plan vacations with an Audubon guide firmly in hand, this one's for you.

Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds

By Scott Weidensaul

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For anyone curious about the lives of migratory birds this book is a great nest of information. The author has traveled all over the world banding and observing birds and talking to the experts--amateur birders and ornithologists who have made many of the important discoveries about bird biology. From Alaska to Lake Erie to the limestone forests of Jamaica, Weidensaul reaches not only for the scientific particulars but for the universal stories and humanizing, descriptive turns of phrase that keep this book from bogging down in statistics and jargon. By book's end the reader is unable to resist the heart of this compelling story, a plea for the conservation of habitat to keep these miraculous creatures on--or at least circling--the earth.

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Illumination in the Flatwoods: A Season with the Wild Turkey

By Joe Hutto

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Turkeys are not stupid. The author spent a year studying a flock of wild turkeys in the loblolly pine woods of Florida, having hatched wild turkey eggs and imprinting the poults on himself. Turkeys are masters of disguise, blending in with their surroundings in ways so subtle as to make the work of hunters and predators difficult. Hutto is a wildlife artist, and the book is illustrated with his sketches and color photographs.

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Hope Is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds

By Christopher Cokinos

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"Journey with Christopher Cokinos to a time when flocks of Passenger Pigeons blocked the sun and Carolina Parakeets colored the sky--according to one pioneer--'like an atmosphere of gems.' Driven by a desire to understand the lives of these now-extinct birds and how and why they vanished, Cokinos excavates crumbling newspapers and forgotten reports. From Bird Rock in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Louisiana's tangled bayous, he searches for those who loved the Passenger Pigeon, the Carolina Parakeet, and the Labrador Duck; for the people who stalked the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, the Heath Hen, and the Great Auk; and for those who tried to save them. A compelling blend of science, history, politics, and memoir, Hope Is the Thing with Feathers draws on previously unpublished photographs and original documents to make these long-vanished birds come alive. Cokinos delves into the mysterious sighting of Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers in April 1999; the incredible plan to create new Heath Hens on Martha's Vineyard; and the astonishing possibility that these extinct birds could be resurrected through the science of cloning."

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Father Goose

By William Lishman

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"... this heartwarming story tells of William Lishman, a reclusive sculptor, who adopted a gaggle of geese, flew with them in an ultralight glider, and actually taught them to migrate--earning himself the nickname 'Father Goose.'"

Later, his book was made into the movie Fly Away Home, starring Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin.

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And No Birds Sing: The Story of an Ecological Disaster in a Tropical Paradise

By Mark Jaffe

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Here is an environmental detective story. In the early 1960s, game wardens on Guam noticed a decline in the bird population. In 1980, biologist Julie Savidge was hired to solve the mystery and save the birds. When her research named the prime suspect few people believed her. This is the story of her hunt for evidence. It will make you worry about every plane that lands at Dulles.

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How to Begin Birdwatching

By Don and Lillian Stokes

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Based on the PBS series 'Birdwatch' with Don and Lillian Stokes.

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Adventures in Bird Watching

By Ken Dial

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Dial visits locales in the United States and Costa Rica to view birds native to the areas. Vol. 1. Florida wading birds ; Massachusetts songbirds -- Vol. 2. Washington predators ; Arizona hummingbirds -- Vol. 3. Rare birds of Costa Rica ; Prime tropical tropical real estate.

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Birding by Ear

By Richard K. Walton

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Enables birders to recognize birds of eastern and central North America by their songs and calls. Points out exactly what to listen for to tell one bird from another. Available on both cassette and CD.

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To See Every Bird on Earth: A Father, a Son, and a Lifetime Obsession

By Dan Koeppel

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When the author's father Richard was 11 years old, he spotted a Brown Thrasher, and his fascination with birds began. Now a "Big Lister," Richard is one of only 10 or so people to have recorded more than 7,000 species in his notebook. This is the remarkable chronicle of his travels across the globe in pursuit of his fixation. It is also a thoughtful examination of the natural world and a touching father/son story.

Also available on audio.

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The Verb "To Bird": Sightings of an Avid Birder

By Peter Cashwell

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All around the world, birds are the subject of intense, even spiritual, fascination, but relatively few people see the word bird as a verb. Peter Cashwell is one who does, and with good reason: He birds (because he can't help it), and he teaches grammar (because he's paid to). An English teacher by profession and an avid birder by inner calling, Cashwell has written a whimsical and critical book about his many obsessions - birds, birders, language, literature, parenting, pop culture, and the human race. Cashwell lovingly but irreverently explores the practice of birding, from choosing a field guide to luring vultures out of shrubbery, and gives his own eclectic travelogue of some of the nation's finest bird habitats.

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