When spring arrives, we feel a renewed interest in the world outside. We can hear birds singing in the morning, there's a bit more sunshine and evidence of all those wonderful green things sprouting.
Birds of British Columbia by R. Wayne Campbell and Gregory Kennedy is a must-have for all bird watchers. The reference guide is colour-coded to make finding information about each type of bird easy. Along with techniques and tips, the book also lists the top birding sites in British Columbia, suggested birding activities and lists of birding groups.
The Enchantment of Birds: Memoirs from a Birder's Life by Richard Cannings, who teaches field ecology at UBC and is a consulting biologist in Naramata as well as a regular contributor to CBC radio, is full of great information provided in an anecdotal storytelling style. The author takes the reader on a sentimental journey across North America and the book is enhanced by illustrator Donald Gunn's beautiful drawings.
The Bird Watching Answer Book by Laura Erickson is a must-have for bird lovers. It answers those important questions: Why do blue-footed boobies have blue feet? How often should you clean your bird bath? Why would a woodpecker pound on a stop sign? Included with some great questions and answers are a full list of scientific bird names and useful glossary.
Another great book that answers many common questions about birds is The Birder's Companion by Stephen Moss. Moss is the author of several bird books and produces a wildlife series for BBC radio in London, England. Moss has collected questions from novice and expert birders to include in this book. The use of font colour, spacing and illustrations by Clive Dobson make this an easy -to-read book.
Birds as liars, cheats and bullies? The Bird Detective: Investigating the Secret Lives of Birds by Bridget Stutchbury book takes a unique look at the relationships between birds and the formation of bird families. Stutchbury's investigation explains the concerns about how birds are coping with the environmental changes around them.
The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology by Tim Birkhead, one of Britain's leading ornithologists follows the lives and migration of birds with great entertaining detail and magnificent illustrations.
And now for something completely different
Down & Dirty Birding by Joey Slinger approaches North American bird watching with great humour and wit. Slinger is perhaps better known as the author of No Axe Too Small to Grind as well as being a columnist for the Toronto Star and fill-in host of CBC Radio's As it Happens. In this book, he shares not just his passion for bird-watching but, also, his humour, as you will note in the section titled "Cannibalism, Bird Barf and Other Disturbing Matters."
If you like a bit of exercise and being outdoors, this is a great pursuit to engage in. Fly into your local library and pick up one of these great books and start adding a bit of birding to your life.
A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published every Wednesday. Irene Jakse is program and services co-ordinator at Port Moody Public Library.