8 top books on bird behavior, habitat, hummingbirds, and more

The March / April 2021 edition of BirdWatching features reviews of the following eight books, including a new Peterson Reference Guide on Bird Behavior, a Glimpse of the World’s Hummingbirds, and a tour of cities creating safe urban habitats for our feathered friends.

A remarkable creature, by Jonathan Meiburg, Knopf Doubleday, 2021, hardcover, 384 pages, $ 30.

In this book, ornithologist and musician Jonathan Meiburg tells the story of the striped caracara, a bird that fascinated Charles Darwin during his journey through South America. Meiburg, who leads the acclaimed band Shearwater, reveals the wild, fascinating story of the history, origins and possible future of the Caracara. It takes readers from the fog-bound coasts of the Falkland Islands to tropical forests in Guyana to falconry parks in the English countryside, where trapped Caracaras do incredible memory and problem-solving services.

Learn more about A Most Remarkable Creature on Amazon!

Birds of Maine, by Peter D. Vickery, illustrated by Barry Van Dusen and Lars Jonsson, Princeton University Press, 2020, hardcover, 664 pages, $ 45.

This Maine birdlife overview includes all 464 species found in the state. Written by the late Peter Vickery in collaboration with a team of leading ornithologists, the guide provides an in-depth look at the state’s dynamic avifauna – from wild Turkey to the arctic tern – with information on migration patterns and times, current status and changes in birds abundance and distribution and how Maine’s geography and the changing climate shape the bird world. The book was edited by Scott Weidensaul and Barbara Vickery.

Learn more about Birds of Maine at Amazon!

The glitter in the green: In search of hummingbirds, by Jon Dunn, Basic Books, 2021, hardcover, 352 pages, $ 16.99.

In this book, British naturalist, photographer and wildlife tourist Jon Dunn takes readers on a journey through the hummingbirds: from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic Islands. He meets bird watchers, scientists and others as he tells the story of one of the most charismatic bird families on earth. The revered birds live on a knife edge, struggling to survive in boreal forests, dripping cloud forests, and sub-polar islands.

Learn More About The Glitter In The Green: In Search Of Hummingbirds On Amazon!

Peterson Reference Guide to Bird Behavior, by John Kricher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020, hardcover, 360 pages, $ 35.

John Kricher, a professor at Wheaton College who taught ecology, ornithology, and vertebrate evolution for 48 years, has published an important new volume in the Peterson Reference Guide series with this comprehensive look at bird behavior. The easy-to-understand text covers topics such as the annual cycles of birds, feathers and flight, social behavior, couple bonding and nesting, and much more. If you have any questions about why birds do what they do, this book has the answers.

Learn more about the Peterson Bird Behavior Reference Guide on Amazon!

Strange bird, by Lee Farnsworth, Farrago Books, 2020, Paperback, 320 pages, $ 12.99.

If you like fiction that includes bird watching and ornithology, check out this romantic comedy by British author Lee Farnsworth. The main character, Simon Selwood, studies the courtship behavior of birds but is hopeless when it comes to finding human love. Then comes Kim, who has no interest in birds and doesn’t seem too interested in Simon either, but he’s keen on her. The Pied Piper and other species student uses his knowledge of how birds attract mates, as well as some advice from his best friend Phil, to help establish a relationship with Kim.

Learn more about Strange bird at Amazon!

The love life of birds: courtship and mating rituals, by Laura Erickson, Storey Publishing, 2020 hardback, 152 pages, $ 19.95.

The latest book by our friend and editor Laura Erickson is an overview of the breeding behavior of 35 bird species, including Greater Prairie Chicken, Satin Bowerbird and Great Horned Owl. Erickson’s short and informative prose about the diverse ways in which birds mate and breed is complemented by breathtaking illustrations by artist Veronica B. Lilja. For example, we learn that for a female Limpkin apple snails brought in by a man “reinforce her romantic impulses” and that Adélie penguin pairs spend six weeks building a stone platform on which the woman then has hers Lays eggs.

Learn more about The love life of birds: courtship and mating rituals at Amazon!

The bird-friendly city: creating safe urban habitats, by Timothy Beatley, Island Press, 2020, Paperback, 272 pages, $ 35.

The author of this book is an expert in environmental planning and policy at the University of Virginia and a long-time advocate of the intertwining of the built and natural environment. Here he takes readers on a global tour of cities that are reducing the risk to birds in urban areas. We visit Phoenix, New York, Toronto and many others. Beatley argues that simply minimizing the harm to birds is not enough: we need to design cities so that birds are actively included as part of the urban fabric.

Learn more about The bird-friendly city: creating safe urban habitats at Amazon!

When birds are around: programs from contemporary writers, edited by Susan Fox Rogers, Cornell University Press, 2020, Paperback, 304 pages, $ 22.95.

In this dazzling collection of literature, writers explore and celebrate their lives with and their love for birds – and describe experiences from Alaska to Bermuda, South Dakota to Panama. The book gives us the opportunity to walk alongside lights like J. Drew Lanham, Jonathan Rosen, Rachel Dickinson, Katie Fallon, Jonathan Franzen and Donald Kroodsma and read their field notes as well as their reflections on life, love, loss and living the wonder of the Birds.

Learn more about When birds are around: programs from contemporary writers at Amazon!

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