A book to help the ordinary birdwatcher appreciate the fascinating songs, stories, and science of common birds
Jack Gedney's studies of birds provide resonant, affirming answers to the questions: Who is this bird? In what way is it beautiful? Why does it matter? Masterfully linking an abundance of poetic references with up-to-date biological science, Gedney shares his devotion to everyday Western birds in fifteen essays. Each essay illuminates the life of a single species and its relationship to humans, and how these species can help us understand birds in general. A dedicated birdwatcher and teacher, Gedney finds wonder not only in the speed and glistening beauty of the Anna's hummingbird, but also in her nest building. He acclaims the turkey vulture's and red-tailed hawk's roles in our ecosystem, and he venerates the inimitable California scrub jay's work planting acorns. Knowing that we hear birds much more often than we see them, Gedney offers his expert's ear to help us not only identify bird songs and calls but also understand what the birds are saying. The crowd at the suet feeder will never look quite the same again. Join Gedney in the enchanted world of these not-so-ordinary birds, each enlivened by a hand-drawn portrait by artist Anna Kus Park.
Jack Gedney was born in Marin County, studied literature and natural history at UC Berkeley, and is a co-owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Novato. Jack writes On the Wing, the Marin Independent Journal’s biweekly column on local birds, and has also published a guide to the native trees of the Bay Area.
Jack Gedney photo courtesy of the author