Get Into Nature: Books for the holidays
If you've got some avid readers on your holiday gift, list, here are some titles I enthusiastically recommend:
• "The Owl and the Woodpecker: Encounters with America's Most Iconic Birds" (2008, $24.95, Mountaineers Books) by Paul Bannick is my book of the year. Stunningly illustrated with more than 130 color photographs by the author, this book is perfect for everyone who loves these two groups of birds. Plus, "The Owl and the Woodpecker" comes with a CD of the calls and drums of all 41 species of North American owls and woodpeckers.
• "Milkweed, Monarchs, and More: A Field Guide to the Invertebrate Community in the Milkweed Patch" by Ba Rea, Karen Oberhauser and Michael Quinn (2003, $9, basrelief.org ) is a terrific field guide that had escaped my attention until recently. If you love monarch butterflies, and especially if you raise their caterpillars and release them after they transform into adults, this book should be part of your library.
• "The Gulf Stream: Tiny Plankton, Giant Bluefin and the Amazing Story of the Powerful River in the Atlantic" (2008, $28, University of North Carolina Press) by Stan Ulanski is as much a cultural history of the Gulf Stream as it is a study of its natural history. You'll discover that the Gulf Stream is an amazing intersection of slavery, pirates, tourism, sport fishing, plankton and ocean trade.
• "A Spring without Bees: How Colony Collapse Disorder has Endangered our Food Supply" (2008, Lyons Press, $24.95) by Michael Stacker delves into the disturbing decline of honey bees and offers compelling evidence that the problem is man-made. You'll discover that it was first observed in France ... in 1994. And disturbingly, you'll learn how politics and industry can influence "objective" scientific research.
• "Bringing Home Nature: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in our Gardens" (2007, Timber Press, $27.95) by Doug Tallamy makes the case that "going native" means more than just planting native vegetation. Native insects are inextricably bound to native plants; when native plants disappear, so do the native insects that depend on them.
First Published December 7, 2008 12:00 am