Birding for the Curious by Nate Swick

birding for the curiousThis book isn’t for a birder. It’s for the huge audience of people who hike, maybe have bird feeders, and generally enjoy nature. With this book, the naturalist will discover an incredible and rewarding new adventure in the beautiful world of birds.

Birding for the Curious by Nate Swick┬áis packed with easy and fun activities and information about birds, how to find them and their part in the nature around us. The information in this book will not only help you identify and learn more about birds, but you’ll have a blast doing it. Nate Swick, member of the American Birding Association, has compiled chapters upon chapters of interesting, unique and informative birding knowledge, followed by activities that use the skills you learned.

So not only will you learn things like what kind of birds you’re looking at around the neighborhood, how to decipher different bird calls, and how to bring the birds to your backyard, but you’ll complete fun activities like creating a list of the most popular birds in your area, creating a sound map of bird calls, and making a feeder for your backyard. (description from publisher)

The Bluebird Effect by Jule Zickefoose

bluebird effectJulie Zickefoose lives for the moment when a wild, free living bird that she has raised or rehabilitated comes back to visit her; their eyes meet and they share a spark of understanding.

Her reward for the grueling work of rescuing birds – such as feeding baby hummingbirds every twenty minutes all day long – is her empathy with them and the satisfaction of knowing the world is a birdier and more beautiful place. The Bluebird Effect is about the change that’s set in motion by one single act, such as saving an injured bluebird – or a hummingbird, swift, or phoebe. Each of the twenty five chapters covers a different species, and many depict an individual bird, each with its own personality, habits, and quirks and are illustrated with Zickefoose’s stunning watercolor paintings and drawings.

Not just individual tales about the trials and triumphs of raising birds, The Bluebird Effect mixes humor, natural history, and memoir to give readers an intimate story of a life lived among wild birds. (description from publisher)


Western Birding by Ear from Peterson Field Guides

guest post from Georgann

I gladly opened my doors and windows to enjoy this wonderful spring weather. I love sitting in my kitchen, listening to the birds singing away. I thought to myself this year, as I do every year, I ought to learn to identify some of these songs. Then a patrons came into the Eastern Branch Library where I was working, all excited to tell us he had just heard a meadowlark for the first time in years! And I thought, “I don’t know if I’d know a meadowlark if I heard one!” So I checked out Peterson Field Guides Western Birding by Ear.

The stated goal of the authors is to help people identify the bird songs they hear. Just what I wanted! The introduction recommends the listener to just learn one group0ing of birds at a time, so as not to get confused. While that is a great idea, I was having so much fun learning, I couldn’t wait to keep on listening. And wouldn’t you know? The next walk I took, I was quite confused!

I really enjoyed listening to this 3 CD set. The reader does quite well and seems to completely enjoy his job. I like the vivid words they use to try to describe the songs: liquid, gurgling, thin or blurry. I was amazed at how many of the songs were familiar. I learned many new facts. For example, did you know that the same bird species will sound different in different areas of the country? Southern accents for birds! I learned that some birds don’t actually “sing’ but the “song” comes from the way they move their feathers. I learned that sometimes, the most beautiful birds (ie hummingbirds, peacocks and pheasants) have the least beautiful songs. Some of the best singers are the most drab. Eastern and Central Birding, here I come!

Best of all, I recognized the meadowlark at the Eastern Branch!