It's a good year for bird-loving bookworms
A roundup of bird books, from "Birds of the Inland Northwest and Northern Rockies" to "For the Birds: A Month-by-Month Guide to Attracting Birds to Your Backyard."
Books about birds are a perennial favorite for avid bird lovers, and several published this year combine art, science and how-to advice in equal measure. Besides Paul Bannick's "The Owl and the Woodpecker," here's a quick roundup:
"Birds of the Inland Northwest and Northern Rockies" by Harry Nehls, Mike Denny and Dave Trochlell (R.W. Morse Company, $18.95). Handy, pocket-size bird guide focusing on birds east of the Cascades. The westside version, 2003's "Birds of the Puget Sound Region," has sold 53,000 copies, according to its publisher.
"Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America" by Roger Tory Peterson (Houghton Mifflin, $26). The latest repackaging of the canon of Peterson, perhaps the best American bird artist when it comes to field identification, it combines Peterson's "Field Guide to Eastern Birds" and "Field Guide to Western Birds" into one volume. Peterson died in 1996; this volume includes updated range maps and digitally enhanced versions of some of his paintings, in the service of conforming them with the latest in bird knowledge.
"The Backyard Birdsong Guide: A Cornell Lab of Ornithology Audio Field Guide" by Donald Kroodsma (Chronicle Books, $24.95). A scaled-down version of the popular "Bird Songs" published a couple of years ago, it's an easy, touch-button guide to birdcalls. Available in both eastern-central North American and western North American versions.
"Falcons of North America" by Kate Davis, photographs by Rob Palmer and Nick Dunlop (Mountain Press Publishing, $22). All about falcons, in words and pictures. Fun fact: Falcons have from 2 ½ to eight times the visual acuity of humans — possibly the sharpest vision in the animal world. A peregrine falcon can eyeball its prey while hovering 3,000 feet above the Earth.
"The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology" by Tim Birkhead (Bloomsbury, $45). A sweeping look at the life cycle of birds and the history of how naturalists and ornithologists have discovered their secrets. Fun fact: The humble Seychelles bush warbler can control the sex of its offspring — before conception. How cool is that?
"Flights of Fancy: Birds in Myth, Legend, and Superstition" by Peter Tate (Delacorte Press, $20). An elegant, compact volume about birds and the folklore they've inspired throughout history. Owls are the Darth Vader of the bird kingdom; three Roman emperors (Augustus, Valentinian and Commodus Antonius) were thought to have died after owls landed on their roofs. On the other hand, robins are so well thought of there are taboos in many cultures against killing them.
"Best-Ever Backyard Birding Tips: Hundreds of Easy Ways to Attract the Birds You Love to Watch" by Deborah L. Martin and the editors of Rodale Garden Books (Rodale, $19.95), and "For the Birds: A Month-by-Month Guide to Attracting Birds to Your Backyard" by Anne Schmauss, Mary Schmauss and Geni Krolick (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $19.95). Practical advice for attracting more birds to your yard. If you are a lazy or time-pressed gardener, you will be cheered to learn that skipping the fall garden cleanup can help attract birds and get them through the winter.
Mary Ann Gwinn
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.