I have been fascinated by the birds for quite some time so when given the chance to review How to Know the Birds by Ted Floyd I chirped with joy!
About How To Know the Birds:
Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (March 12, 2019)
Become a better birder with brief portraits of 200 top North American birds. This friendly, relatable book is a celebration of the art, science, and delights of bird-watching.
How to Know the Birds introduces a new, holistic approach to bird-watching, by noting how behaviors, settings, and seasonal cycles connect with shape, song, color, gender, age distinctions, and other features traditionally used to identify species. With short essays on 200 observable species, expert author Ted Floyd guides us through a year of becoming a better birder, each species representing another useful lesson: from explaining scientific nomenclature to noting how plumage changes with age, from chronicling migration patterns to noting hatchling habits. Dozens of endearing pencil sketches accompany Floyd’s charming prose, making this book a unique blend of narrative and field guide. A pleasure for birders of all ages, this witty book promises solid lessons for the beginner and smiles of recognition for the seasoned nature lover.
About Ted Floyd:
Ted Floyd is the Editor of Birding magazine, the award-winning flagship publication of the American Birding Association. He has written five bird books, including the Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America (HarperCollins, 2008) and How to Know the Birds (National Geographic, 2019). Ted is also the author of more than 200 popular articles, technical papers, and book chapters on birds and nature. He is especially interested in analyzing bird vocalizations, in interpreting birds and nature for children and beginners, and in applying new media and emerging technologies toward the appreciation of nature. A graduate of Princeton University (A.B., 1990) and Penn State University (Ph.D., 1995), Ted has taught biology, math, and statistics to everyone from second graders to advanced graduate students. He and his family live in Lafayette, Colorado.
Follow Ted Floyd on Twitter and on The ABA Blog.
This is a delightful book to keep by your side for a quick read when you have 5 or 10 minutes here or there. To me, it wasn’t the kind of book you sat down and read from cover to cover. It is comprised of a series of essays taken from Birding Magazine.
This is not a bird identification book, it offers insights into bird behaviors and into the birding world. The reader will learn about migration patterns, how bird classifications work, why birds came to be named what they are named; I was fascinated to learn that the pileated woodpecker got his name from a Latin word that means felt hat.
There are many more interesting tidbits to learn about our avian friends in this handy book. It’s the kind of book you keep by the bed to read a few essays before you go to sleep. As it has no plot there is nothing to keep you from stopping after an essay finishing and you end on a learning note.