2013 May Nature News – Summer Reading List for Wildlife Enthusiasts

Summer reading list for wildlife enthusiasts

Summer reading list for wildlife enthusiasts

Bird Sense by Tim Birkhead
Published 2012 by Walker Publishing
This book closely examines the bird’s recognized five senses as well as magnetic sense and emotions.  The senses of birds and mammals have been studied by scientists for hundreds of years.  Birkhead supplies an overview of historical discoveries along with the latest findings about the wondrous abilities of birds.  Anyone who appreciates birds will enjoy even greater respect after this read.

Fear Falls Away & Other Essays from Hard and Rocky Places by Janice Emily Bowers
Published 1997 by University of Arizona Press
Here is a unique vision of the landscape of the Sonoran desert.  A botanist living in Tucson, Bowers shares intricate nuances of desert nature with crystal-clear descriptions and metaphors you’ll savor.  “The canyon itself is wildly, almost tastelessly romantic, as full of clouds as a teakettle with steam.”  (Available in hardback and paperback.)

The Animal Dialogues by Craig Childs
Published 2007 by Little Brown and Co.
In this ultimate armchair adventure book, Childs brings us along on outlandish journeys through all sorts of wilderness.  In expeditions worthy of Indiana Jones, Childs encounters wildlife from peregrine falcons to jaguars to raccoons, and captures for us the essence of the animals as well as the experience.  Readers will be grateful enough wild still exists for adventures such as these.

The Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich
Published in 1999 by HarperCollins Publishers
This mesmerizing tale chronicles a biologist’s study of ravens.  After obtaining necessary permits, Heinrich captures and raises two generations of baby ravens.  Making detailed studies of these birds, the scientist documents the intelligence and complex social networks of ravens.  Heinrich records his observations with clarity and humor, bringing the magic of his experience to us in full force.

Kingbird Highway by Kenn Kaufman
Published 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company
In 1972 Kaufman dropped out of school and spent a year hitchhiking to birding sites.  This was an era of competitive birding and life lists. Kaufman worked on his Big Year list as a nascent network of birders sent alerts of rare species seen from Florida to California.  Gradually the fixation with quotas and famous birders faded into a genuine appreciation for nature’s wonders, making Kaufman’s coming of age story satisfying and compelling.

Animal Wise by Virginia Morell
Published 2013 by Crown Publishers
Even recently, those who suggested animals experience thoughts and emotions were labeled sentimentalists or anthropomorphists.  But it’s ever more apparent that thinking and emotions are vital to wildlife survival. Researchers have discovered an avalanche of examples.  Read about ant teachers, popular whale songs, bird brains, the laughter of rats and more.  Morell asks, “We live in a world of sentient beings, not one of stimulus response machines…how should we treat these other emotional, thinking creatures?”

The Desert Smells Like Rain  by Gary Paul Nabhan
Published 1982 by University of Arizona Press
This lyrical book has been around a while, but Nabhan is still a great presence in Arizona’s ecological community.  Here he tells stories of the desert from the perspective of the Tohono O’odham people who have lived on this land for centuries.  These tales expressed in the voices of the O’odham will transport you to a time when people thrived in close concert with nature. (Available in hardback and paperback.)


2 Responses to 2013 May Nature News – Summer Reading List for Wildlife Enthusiasts

  1. sandy clark says:

    Thanks for this list of summer reading!

  2. Anne Peyton says:

    Great list Gail! The Mind of the Raven and Kingbird Highway are very good books.

    But while reading Craig Child’s book, The Animal Dialogs, the reader is able to feel the dryness of the summer heat on their skin and tongue, see birds arcing across the sky and feel the little hairs rise on the back of their neck when a mountain lion is discovered. A very gifted writer. I wholeheartedly recommend this book .

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