Get Into Nature: Summer reading for the amateur naturalist
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Whether your summer leisure time is spent on the beach, in the mountains or on the back porch, a good book is a great companion. Here are a few recent titles that I recommend.
The only work of fiction on the list, "Anthill: A Novel" by E.O. Wilson, (Norton & Co.) is a semi-autobiographical tale of boy who grows up in the deep South and becomes an internationally acclaimed naturalist. About a quarter of the book is devoted to the natural history of mound ants and how their lives parallel those of humans.
"Birdology: Adventures with a Pack of Hens, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip-hop parrots, Baby Hummingbirds and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur" by Sy Montgomery (Free Press) recounts a series of encounters the author has had with various birds. The title is self-explanatory.
"The Eagle Watchers: Observing and Conserving Raptors Around the World," (Cornell University Press), edited by Ruth E. Tingay and Todd E. Katzner, are the tales of 29 eagle researchers from around the world. Kaztner, director of conservation and field research at the National Aviary, describes his work with eastern imperial eagles in Kazakhstan.
"Peterson Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America" (Houghton Mifflin) is the latest edition of Roger Tory Peterson's classic field guide to birds. This sixth edition finally includes a thumbnail range map of the facing page of each species account. It can now be considered among the best field guides on the market.
"Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming" (Bloomsbury Press) by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway is the disturbing tale of how some scientists sell their souls to advance political and economic agendas.
"Being with Animals: Why We are Obsessed with the Furry, Scaly, Feathered Creatures Who Populate our World" (Doubleday) by Barbara J. King is an anthropologist's view of how and why humans love animals.
"Molt in North American Birds" (Houghton Mifflin) by Steve N.G. Howell explains how and why birds replace worn feathers, sometimes resulting in a complete change in appearance. Every serious birder should study this book.
First Published June 6, 2010 12:00 am