Thursday, September 6, 2007

I Judged The Book By It's Cover

I just finished reading a book titled "Red-Tails In Love" by Marie Winn. I've noticed this book many times over the years, during my visits to the Town library. I never really considered reading the book, because I didn't like the title. I wondered what could be of interest to me, in a book with a title like that-it's just too sappy sounding .

Recently, I overheard a couple of birders talking about the book. I could tell by their conversation, that there was more to the book than I had previously thought. I finally decided to check the book out, and give it a chance. I say give it a chance, because I won't read a book unless it has something to capture my interest within the first 20 pages.

I read the book-in one sitting. It gave a background history about the birding and birders of Central Park. The author did a nice job of showing the connection that many of these birders shared. I really enjoyed hearing the details that various birders included in the Central Park Birder's logbook. It was also interesting to learn a little bit about the personalities of the birders themselves.

Reading about the struggles of Pale Male ( the male Red-tail), and the females he attempted to reproduce with was at times both compelling and sad. In the end, it made for a good story. I have to admit, that I judged this book by it's cover-literally.
It was brought to my attention by Laura, from Somewhere In New Jersey ,that the Marie Winn has a website which icludes additional information on the topic.
Here is the link: Marie Winn's Website.

Here are a few other birding books that I own, or have read before. I'll just make a quick comment on each, because it's been a long time since I've read some of them.

Kingbird Highway by Ken Kaufmann-This is my favorite birding book so far. It is a book about Kaufmann's adventures as a young birder, traveling across the country. I was glued to the book from start to finish.

Going Wild-Adventures With Birds In The Suburban Wilderness by Robert Winkler.-This writer is from Connecticut. I was really able to draw a connection with the type of birding he was doing. It was easy to read and it included a bit of humor. I remember him describing his experience with being dive-bombed by a Northern Goshawk near a nesting site.

How To Be A Bad Birdwatcher-by Simon Barnes-This book included a lot of humour mixed with the joys of birding.

Sibley's Birding Basics-by David Sibley-This is a small book that is what the title says. It's not very exciting, but does contain worthy information for a beginning birder. Sibley seems more like a scientist, than a writer. I've gone back to this book several times to slowly digest the information.

The Sibley guide To Bird Life And Behavior-by David Sibley-This book disappointed me. I was hoping that it would give some secret insight to the life of birds. It lumps families of birds together in it's descriptions instead of giving details of each individual species. Again, I do go back to this book for reference. It does contain good information, but I was hoping for more.

The Complete Birder-A Guide To Better Birding -by Jack Connor-Loved this book! I read this when first developed an interest in birds. After reading this, I was pumped up to go look for birds! The author gives his own personal take on the ins and outs of birding. He gave good advice on how to tackle identification problems along with other great tidbits of information. Some of the information in the book is outdated, but it is still definitely worth reading if you are fairly new to birding.(Someone was just raving about this book-who was it?)

Pete Dunne On Birdwatching-by Pete Dunne-Ditto on this book. Pete Dunne includes lots of his personal birding experiences and advice which made this a pleasure to read.

Birding Western Massachusetts-A Habitat Guide to 26 Great Birding Sites from the Berkshires to the Quabbin-by Robert Tougias-If you are planning a trip to The Berkshires, or are interested in doing some birding in Western Massachusetts, this would make a great companion guide. It also includes a lot of information for someone that is just getting started.Some of the sites listed caught my attention. I plan to take a day trip to check out one or more of the listed locations very soon. Here is the author's e-mail if you would like a copy of the book:

Good Birders Don't Wear White-50 Tips From North America's Top Birders-The title says it all. This contains nice tidbits of information from several top birders in a very entertaining way. It is light reading, but a fun little book.

There are more detailed reviews of most of these books on Amazon.

Have you read any of these books? Which ones did you enjoy or not enjoy?


Anonymous said...

the Kenn Kaufman - Kingbird Highway is my favorite also but I have not had a chance to read the Red Tails in Love!

RuthieJ said...

Larry, I'm ashamed to say I have not read a single one of these books, so I'd better take your list and visit my local library to get started. Thanks for sharing your recommendations and critiques.

P.S. I did see the Pale Male documentary from was a fascinating story.

LauraHinNJ said...

Redtails in Love is a great book - I guess you've visited the website also?

Larry said...

Monarch-Kingbird Highway is hard not to like.-Red-tails is pretty good though.

ruthiej-The nice thing about the Library is that it's free!

Laura-No-never have-but I will now.

Larry said...

Figures-Their blog has cats in their last post-I'm taking my cat out of the picture-That's my esp for you-good for nothing but strange coincidence!

Patrick B. said...

Kingbird Highway is a classic. Sibley's Birding Basics is mandatory reading for any birder. I share your same opinion about the other Sibley book. Going Wild is great too. I read a lot of Winkler's stuff online before he published that book. There are so many wonderful birding/nature books out there.

dguzman said...

Kingbird Highway is the first thing on my birthday wishlist--one week to go!

Mary said...

I was also disappointed in Birding Basics.

I, however, like the title of Red Tails in Love. I've enjoyed Pale Male, too.

Thanks for your reviews, Larry. I trust you take on the books.

Cathy said...

I guess I better read those tips :0)
There are several times in the Spring when I was the only birder wearing white. Dang. Seems I'm always out of step :0)

I want to read Kaufmann. (I see him on the lake in the Spring and felt a little awkward when introduced and I couldn't say "Love your books!")

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

This is a really neat post Larry. I have read Readtails in Love and enjoyed it alot. Kingbird Highway and Going Wild are on my shelf waiting for winter (when I do tons of reading) I also have the Sibley Guide to BirdLife and Behavior and have the same opinion of it. I'll be checking out the rest of our recommendations! It's great to read others' takes on books. I think I'll steal your post idea some time!

KGMom said...

I haven't read Redtails in Love, but I sure read all about the Central Park fuss. My daughter was living in NYC around that time and made sure I kept up-to-date.
The dumbest move was the super rich folks in their parkside apartment building who had the nest taken down--only to have to relent when birders everywhere protested.

Mary C said...

Larry, I, too, have not read any of these books. But I will certainly consider two or three of them noting your comments on them. I think I'll add them to my wish list in Amazon, or visit my library when I'm ready to start a new book. Thanks for your comments and the list of books.

Patrice said...

I haven't read any of these, but can recommend a nice little collection of short essays, "Rare Encounters With Ordinary Birds," by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. She's from Seattle, I think.

Larry said...

Patrick-That reminds me- I'll have to go to Winkler's website and check it out.-I don't think that all the birding books make it in to the library or bookstore-some are local author's.

dzugman-Hope you enjoy Kingbird Highway!

Mary-It think the title of Red-tails In Love-gave me an impression that it would be a book version of a chick-flick.-Although, I do watch some of those occasionally and enjoy them.

Cathy-You were not wearing whie while birding!-Putting us on a little Cathy?-Kingbird Highway is worthwhile and a quick read.

Lynne-I'll look forward toward your take on books!

kgmom-That part of the book was a bit disturbing!-I'm glad the birders held them responsible!

Mary C-Great Mary-Just don't read them solely based on my opinion(I don't want rotten tomatos thrown at me-if you don't like a book!)-

Patrice-thanks,I'll see if I can get a hold of that one-always liooking for more!

Hanley Family said...

I have the Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior in my stack of reading I just checked out from the library. Does that count?

Have you read Life List? It is one of the few books for more serious birders in our library. I'm not quite at that level, but I was curious about the book.

Larry said...

I have not read life list,but i'll look in to it.-thanks!

Anonymous said...

I don't see a lot of love in the comments for the Simon Barnes book. Larry is absolutely right that there's a lot of humor in this quick, highly enjoyable read. It's a lot of fun.