Learning the Birds: A Midlife Adventure

Susan Fox Rogers. Three Hills, $28.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5017-6224-6
“When I bird, life is bigger, more vibrant,” asserts Rogers (My Reach), an editor and teacher at Bard College, in these quietly arresting essays. Her story begins in 2009 when, at age 49, a “hollow and holy” birdcall “converted” her “to the tribe of binocular-toting people in hats and practical pants.” From here, she recounts the next three years she spent birding, transporting readers with lush prose from her home in New York to Florida, Alaska, and a snowy Paris. In “Don’t Move,” she admires the “red underpants” of a great spotted woodpecker in the Bois de Vincennes, while “Good Bird” captures her joy at hearing the “cascading song” of a ruby-crowned kinglet in the Arizona desert. Meanwhile, a search for flamingos in the Everglades prompts her to consider how the proliferation of plume hunters diminished Florida’s once thriving “perfect cloud of birds.” Deepening these sparkling meditations on life, nature, and “the spirit of exploration” are Rogers’s musings on the writings of naturalists John Burroughs, Roger Tory Peterson, and pioneering ornithologist Florence Merriam Bailey, whose “life flowed with birds and with an intimacy with the natural world.” With its whimsy and discerning intellect, this radiates beauty. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 12/16/2021
Release date: 04/01/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-5017-6225-3
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-5017-6226-0
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