BIRD BOOK LIST
Zen Birding by David M. White and Susan M. Guyette (O Books, 2010). This slim volume is an eclectic mix of personal anecdotes of birding encounters interspersed with philosophical musings on more gentle ways to encounter birds. A porridge of two styles, but charming nevertheless.
A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of The World's Smartest Birdsof Prey by Jonathan Meiburg (Knopf, 2021). Striated caracaras have been dubbed "flying monkeys" because of their bizarre behavior. Instead of flying away from humans like other raptors, this caracara walks up and snatches items from them. A fascinating account of a unique falcon that, like other caracaras, have an affinity for people and a playfulness reminiscent of parrots or ravens.
Mozart's Starling by Kyanda Lynn Haupt (Back Bay Books, 2017). Did you know that musical genius Mozart took a pet store European Starling home because it sang part of a theme from his piano concerto? The author, following her own fascination, raised up a rescued starling in her own home, giving us a fresh perspective on this species. For lovers of Mozart, those who raise birds at home, and even for American birders who customarily disdain starlings.
Great Gray Owl in California, Oregon and Washington by Peter J. Thiemann and Harry Fuller (Nebulosa Press, 2015). The "Great Gray Ghost" of the Cascades and Sierra Mountains is rare all over its breeding range and rarely seen. Harry Fuller is the preeminent expert on the Great Gray Owl, and he will enable you to know and to understand the hidden life cycle of this elusive species. The book is beautifully enhanced by stunning photos of these birds.
The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in our Time by Jonathan Weiner (Alfred A. Knopf, 1994). We usually think the shaping of species by evolution takes many millennia, too long to be observed during a human lifetime. But as evolutionary biologists Pete and Rosemary Grant studied generations of finches on one of the Galapagos Islands over decades, they were able to see this force of nature occur in real time, as the finches' beaks adapted due to climatic events and molecular changes. This is a detailed, fascinating work, one of the best on evolutionary biology. Its findings seem more relevant today, as humanity re-shapes the climate of the planet and the fate of all living things.
Halcyon Journey: In Search of the Belted Kingfisher by Marina Richie (Oregon State University Press, 2022). The author is an excellent nature writer who tells compelling stories of her curiosity and kinship with this charismatic bird along the creeks of Missoula, Montana. Her quest includes visiting kingfishers in other continents and exploring tribal stories of the kingfisher as messenger and helper. Fans of the Belted Kingfisher will thoroughly enjoy this first book that takes a deep dive into the lifestyle of this charismatic bird of the waterways.