Thursday, April 26, 2012
1) Thompson III, Bill. The Young Birder's Guide to Birds of North America. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Paperback: 364 pages. Price: $15.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Covering 300 of the most common birds in all of the United States and Canada, The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America is loaded with color photographs, drawings showing typical behaviors, range maps, an easy-to-use checklist, fun facts, and authoritative information about each bird, its vocalizations, and its habitat.
While other field guides might overwhelm kids who are new to birding, The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America was created with help from kids. Bill Thompson’s own son and daughter and their elementary school classes helped select the content. Kid tested, kid approved!
RECOMMENDATION: A useful guide for beginning birders (both young and adult).
2) Young, Jon. What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 241 pages. Price: $22.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: A lifelong birder, tracker, and naturalist, Jon Young is guided in his work and teaching by three basic premises: the robin, junco, and other songbirds know everything important about their environment, be it backyard or forest; by tuning in to their vocalizations and behavior, we can acquire much of this wisdom for our own pleasure and benefit; and the birds' companion calls and warning alarms are just as important as their songs.
Birds are the sentries—and our key to understanding the world beyond our front door. Unwitting humans create a zone of disturbance that scatters the wildlife. Respectful humans who heed the birds acquire an awareness that radically changes the dynamic. We are welcome in their habitat. The birds don't fly away. The larger animals don't race off. No longer hapless intruders, we now find, see, and engage the deer, the fox, the red-shouldered hawk—even the elusive, whispering wren.
Deep bird language is an ancient discipline, perfected by Native peoples the world over. Finally, science is catching up. This groundbreaking book unites the indigenous knowledge, the latest research, and the author's own experience of four decades in the field to lead us toward a deeper connection to the animals and, in the end, a deeper connection to ourselves.
RECOMMENDATION: I would have subtitled this book: Zen and the Art of Bird Listening. This book details an interesting approach to understanding nature.