Monday, April 06, 2015

Bird Books Old and New

I have been devoting much of my free time to birding this spring, lessening the time I have spent writing this blog. I haven't stopped reading, though I may be reading a little less, and my focus lately has been books about birds or Italy.

I live in the Chicago suburbs and visit various DuPage County Forest Preserves to see what I might see. My reading, however, is geographically unbound. Through the pages of The World of the Shorebirds by Harry Thurston, I have been able to travel by armchair all over North and South America, learning about the behaviors and migrations of plovers, sandpipers, oystercatchers, jacanas, stilts, avocets, and thick-knees. This Sierra Club Book is nearly twenty years old, so readers need to look up more recent statistics about bird populations and what is happening in critical flyways. The photos are still beautiful, and the author inspires love of birds.

I am traveling around the planet in Woodpeckers of the World by Gerard Gorman. Woodpeckers can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. South America has the most, some of which have very small ranges. Many do not migrate, so they won't be coming up my way this spring or ever. Gorman explains that little is known about some of the more remote species and that there is disagreement about which ones should be certified as species. He profiles 239 woodpeckers, identifying ranges, habitats, behaviors, and population status; the photos he includes are gorgeous. This recent guide is hefty. The author put many years into its making.

Sweep Up the Sun by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder is a children's book that brings me home. I have seen every bird in this book already this year, either in our yard or at one of the nearby preserves. The text is a poem about flying by Frost set into amazing photos by Lieder, each showing a familiar bird in flight. Sweep Up the Sun is a great addition to any young ornithologist's collection.

I also just read a book about hummingbird rescue for Booklist. Watch there for a review.

Thurston, Harry. The World of Shorebirds. Sierra Club Books, 1996. 117p. ISBN 0871569019.

Gorman, Gerard. Woodpeckers of the World: A Photographic Guide. Firefly Books, 2014. 528p. ISBN 9781770853096.

Frost, Helen and Rick Lieder. Sweep Up the Sun. Candlewick Press, 2015. ISBN 9780763669041.

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