BIRDS IN YOUR BACKYARD: A Bird Lover's Guide to Creating a Garden Sanctuary

Robert J. Dolezal, Author, Digest Editors Reader's, Author . Reader's Digest $26.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7621-0495-6

Would-be birders get solid know-how in this ambitious guidebook for creating a backyard bird garden. Bird-watching, says Dolezal, opens us to "worlds often seen but too seldom appreciated" with our continent's 600-plus varieties alone offering an array of colors, shapes, sounds, plumage and personalities. Furthermore, building suitable habitats for birds—with mixtures of trees, shrubs, fountains and feeders—is a way to combat the trend of human development driving species like the passenger pigeon and the ivory-billed woodpecker to extinction. Here, Dolezal covers a lot of ground, with tips on landscaping, building birdhouses and growing your own bird seed, along with bird-watching basics. Extended narratives allow for in-depth study, while materials lists and step-by-step diagrams will empower eager do-it-yourselfers. The book's last third is a starter field guide to common North American birds, with each listing accompanied by a map of the bird's typical travels—though Dolezal encourages readers to rejoice when they find a bird in the wrong place at the wrong time. The text's organization is sometimes clunky: advice on picking bird-friendly plants appear in three different sections, while similar chapter names ("Creating Bird Gardens in Home Landscapes"; "Bird Gardens at Home") create confusion. But it's a practical, purposeful reference guide with plenty of information that should inspire readers. 600 photos, illus. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/27/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-7621-0747-6
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