Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spring Tune Up Books

Common Raven by Margo Goetschkes
Bernd Heinrich, Mind of the Raven (1999).  Following Heinrich’s earlier work, Ravens in Winter (1989), this book summarizes what this indefatigable researcher has learned about one of the world’s most intelligent birds, whose learning abilities are mind-boggling. Heinrich is an excellent writer, and this book is hard to put down.

Harlequin Duck by Jeremiah Trimble
Christopher Leahy, The Birdwatcher’s Companion to North American Birdlife (2nd ed., 2004). Chris’s first Birdwatcher’s Companion came out in 1982 and was popular enough to warrant a second edition. This is an ornithological encyclopedia with answers to just about any bird-related question, written with style and humor by a Gloucester native and long-time Mass Audubon biologist and ecologist.

Hermit Thrush by Nancy Smith
Donald Kroodsma, The Singing Life of Birds (2005). The definitive work on the study and interpretation of North American bird songs, written with a remarkable combination of scholarship and outright wonder. The author analyzes the songs of a sample of species in detail, preferring depth over breadth and inspiring the reader with his insights. The Hermit Thrush chapter is worth its weight in gold.

Black-capped Chickadee by Nathan Dubrow
Don and Lillian Stokes, A Guide to Bird Behavior, Vols. 1, 2, and 3 (1979, 1983, 1989). The Stokeses live in southern New Hampshire and have long studied and written about bird behavior, among many other subjects. Their goal is public education about birds and wildlife. These three volumes interpret vocalizations, displays, and other behaviors of common eastern birds and are written without jargon for the amateur birdwatcher.

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