How to Know the Birds: The Art and Adventure of Birding

Ted Floyd. National Geographic, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4262-2003-6
Birding magazine editor Floyd (Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America) plays teacher in an informative volume aimed at both beginning and more experienced avian enthusiasts, offering brief and accessible accounts of “200 bird species, one bird at a time, one day at a time, one lesson at a time.” An introductory section touches on the common and recognizable species, such as American robins and mallards, which often get people initially hooked; subsequent sections deal with basic topics such as bird naming, bird sizes and shapes, and migration. Floyd, a birder for close to four decades, also explores how ornithology has changed over the years, “especially in the past 10 to 15.” Once upon a time, for instance, he “could get by” with binoculars, a field guide, and a notebook. Back then, “going to the library was common, taking photos was rare, and recording birdsong was practically unheard of,” in contrast to today, when digital tools have made birding newly easy, popular, and more concerned with documenting experience. That said, Floyd shows that the attraction to and general interest in the field has remained the same: to learn as much as possible about and appreciate the natural world. This book helps greatly with that endeavor. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2018
Release date: 03/12/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-4262-2035-7
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