The Birds and the Bees… and Gardening

Gardening, for me, can be an interest that waxes and wanes. I usually get excited about flowers in the spring, and then get tired of it all by the parched days of August, when all I can do is keep plants watered enough so they don’t die. This past winter on a very cold day, I noticed a large flock of birds, mostly American Robins and Ceder Waxwings, descend on my cotoneaster shrub and start eating berries like mad. Usually birds leave these berries alone, so I knew they were a bit desperate. That started me thinking about deliberately landscaping with plants that birds can use for food and shelter, and those that provide for bees and other pollinators. What can we do to help? Luckily, the library has some books on the topic, because I have a lot to learn. Most are available in ebook format, as well.

A Cedar Waxwing joins a mob of berry seeking birds in my backyard cotoneaster tree (a non-native plant, that does attract bees, and on occasion, birds).

Douglas Tallamy, an ecologist who teaches at the University of Delaware, has been a trailblazer behind the research that proves we must plant native trees, shrubs, and flowers in order for butterflies and other pollinators to survive, and we must do it now. The decline in bird populations is believed to be partly caused by lack of food for their young; almost all birds exclusively feed their offspring caterpillars and insects. The sterile landscapes that dominate our neighborhoods do not support enough insects to feed birds, but if enough of us plant native plants, we can make a difference together. Even those of us with tiny yards can contribute in this way. Learn more by watching this talk given by Tallamy to WWF-Canada.

Books by Douglas Tallamy
Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants was Tallamy’s first book about planting natives to regain the biodiversity we’ve lost. Check out the audiobook and listen while you garden!
Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard describes Tallamy and others quest to start a national movement to enlist homeowners everywhere to help create conservation corridors. You will learn specific tips on how to add native plants to your yard.
The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden by Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy
This book, full of photos by Darke, will help you create a beautiful, natural, and diverse garden that will work for both your family and wildlife.

Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest by Arthur R. Kruckeberg
This is an older book but it’s still useful – after all, native plants aren’t new varieties created by humans, but the original species that have been around for thousands of years. The Garden Uses section after each plant’s description gives a lot of detail on growing needs and habits. Also useful are the plant lists in the back for specific settings such as shady dry, shady wet, maritime sun, etc. These are excellent lists for planning a native garden.

Real Gardens Grow Natives: Design, Plant, and Grow a Healthy Northwest Garden by Eileen M. Stark is another PNW guide, but this one is packed with color photos of plants, and includes many of our best native species. The usual garden book tips on soil, location, and landscape design are there, but this time with the focus on our beautiful Northwest native plants.

Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be a Source of Environmental Change by Larry Weaner The author wants us to plant native, but instead of focusing only on the environmental benefits, he makes the point that it’s much easier and more rewarding to garden with native plants; they have evolved right here so are perfectly suited for the conditions. His ‘design’ method is much more natural – let the plants choose their place. Your garden can be “…a sanctuary for indigenous wildlife, and a protector of biodiversity.”

New Naturalism: Designing and Planting a Resilient, Ecologically Vibrant Home Garden by Kelly D. Norris explores the elements needed to create the natural looking outdoor spaces that we crave, rather than the tightly controlled and difficult to maintain landscapes that do nothing for the soul, or the environment. You can build your own meadow or prairie even in urban or suburban yards, and help increase biodiversity, while increasing your peace of mind.

The Pollinator Victory Garden: Win the War on Pollinator Decline with Ecological Gardening by Kim Eierman shows us how we can help pollinators, which are so important to our own food supply, to increase in number by making a change from “vast green pollinator deserts” (lawns) to pollinator havens. Pollinators, not just bees but many other insects, are in a steep decline. We can all help to win the war against pollinator decline by following the suggestions in The Pollinator Victory Garden.


Gardening with native plants feels rewarding. I have just started, and now have about 20 different species planted in pots. I have plans to turn a mostly empty garden bed into a natives only section. It feels like maybe I can make a difference.

A note about finding native plants at nurseries – it’s difficult. Consider telling your favorite nurseries that you want them to carry native plants. There are some native plant nurseries in our area, but don’t expect to find the plants you want in your usual shopping spots.

Douglas Tallamy and others have started Homegrown National Park, a way to promote the native plant movement and track the progress nationwide. After you start your garden, you can get on the map! Currently there is only one garden listed in Snohomish County – let’s create more, and help our birds, bees, and ourselves survive.


Did You Know? (Pearl Edition)

The world’s largest pearl weighing in at 14.1 pounds was discovered in a giant clam off the coast of the Philippines in 1939?

I found this on page 46 of The Secret Life of Clams by Anthony D. Fredericks. I always thought that only oysters made pearls.

But the author tells us about a kind of giant clam, Tridacna gigas, that grew the largest pearl: “The Pearl of Lao Tzu” which is privately owned and valued at $93 Million! He also tells us that clams were on earth about 510 million years ago and some of these oldest clam fossils were found in late Cretaceous rock in Kansas and had actually grown pearls.

Razor clams are native to the Pacific Northwest. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times we dug clams when I was a child. My family loves clams and my mom cooked them so many ways. Razor Clams: Buried Treasure of the Pacific Northwest by David Berger shares similar stories of clamming with the family. He also shares many recipes that highlight these tasty critters. David doesn’t mention pearls, but I know in all of my time clamming, we never found any!

Many famous people loved pearls. Elizabeth Taylor owned a fantastic pearl, but it came from an oyster and previously belonged to Mary I of England, and then Elisabeth of France. Eleanor Roosevelt was famous for wearing her pearl necklaces as well. They were as smart looking on her as she was, and she was a strong and accomplished first lady. Eleanor Roosevelt: Fighter for Justice by Ilene Cooper has great stories about all the things she accomplished.

A completely different take on pearls are the Pearls Before Swine comics by Stephen Pastis. They are quite humorous, but not what one would necessarily call “pearls of wisdom.”

There are lots of mystery stories of stolen pearls and pearl necklaces. Geronimo Stilton stars in a fun series of books for kids. Cavemice, Paws off the Pearl is just one of many adventures that Geronimo and Thea Stilton have. Nancy Drew, The Thirteenth Pearl by Carolyn Keene has Nancy and her friends trying to find a stolen necklace.

Oysters: A Celebration in the Raw by Jeremy Sewall and Marion Lear Swaybill have done for the oyster what Anthony D Fredricks did for the clam. They show different varieties and explain the characteristics of each kind. If you are a fan of oysters, this will make you want to travel the world and try them all! They describe oysters like a fine wine with different hints of flavor depending on where they are from.

Lastly, don’t forget the rule of only eating oysters during a month with a “R” (September to April). This helps replenish oyster supplies by allowing their breeding in the summer and eating them in the cooler months gives them better flavor as well. But you can enjoy clams all year long!

Mushrooms of the PNW

Attention all fungi enthusiasts and budding mycophiles, a must see virtual program is headed your way. You definitely need to check out Introduction to Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest this Tuesday, April 13th at 6 pm on the library’s Crowdcast channel.

Join Jeremy Collison, founder of Salish Mushrooms, for an introduction to mushrooming in the Pacific Northwest. This program is perfect for anyone curious about mushrooms. No mycology knowledge or previous foraging experience necessary. Learn about the basics of mushrooming in the Pacific Northwest, find out about native mushrooms, review basic safety concerns, and learn how to identify mushrooms using the inaturalist.org website.

Rest assured that we have plenty of resources and materials to support your mushroom enthusiasm, before and after the program. From books on mushroom identification, cultivation and just plain fungi fascination the library has got you covered.

So join us this Tuesday for a great program and think of Everett Public as your source for all things mushroom.

Did You Know? (Moon Edition)

In 1609 the Italian astronomer Galileo first pointed a telescope at the moon and noted that the orb had terrain including mountains, flat plains and craters? Therefore the moon was solid and it’s surface might be walked upon.

Galileo’s discovery is talked about on page 10 in the book Space Stations: the Art, Science and Reality of Working in Space by Gary Kitmacher, Ron Miller and Robert Pearlman.

Galileo is known as the father of modern physics – indeed, of modern science altogether. His discoveries were based on careful observations and ingenious experiments that contradicted conventional wisdom and the views of the church at the time. The new book Galileo and the Science Deniers by Mario Livio looks at Galileo’s theories and accomplishments, and how he arrived at them – as well as why they are relevant now. This is a must read if you love science!

Astronauts by Thomas K Adamson is a book for children that shows how astronauts work in space on a space station and walk on the moon. I used to imagine what it would be like to walk in space and now you can see exactly how it would be.

Imagine winning a chance to go to space! 172 hours on the Moon is a novel by Johan Harsted. Mia, Antoine, and Midori are selected by lottery to join experienced astronauts on a NASA mission to the once top-secret moon base, while an old astronaut in a nursing home tries to warn them of the danger there. Perhaps it will be a trip in a lifetime, literally.

There is a little treat we had while I was growing up nicknamed Moon Pies, but they were actually Whoopy Pies. Whoopie Pies by Viola Goren is full of recipes for a variety of flavors of these delicious snacks. They look like little planets on a platter!

We have all heard that the moon is made of cheese, but it is unknown where this saying started. There is a really cute song on the children’s CD Inside I Shine by Danny Weinkauf called “The Moon is Made of cheese.”

Moon is also a company that publishes travel guides. While you may not be able to take a vacation right now, you can plan a trip or watch a travel show and take a virtual trip… of course, you probably won’t need a guide if you are sitting in your living room. 

Finally, how can you talk about the moon without mentioning stars? Paper Stars by Karen-Marie Fabricius gives directions for origami, quilled and folded stars. You can make these and turn your house into the great outdoors on a starry night. The directions are well laid out and easy to follow. Enjoy!

Did You Know? (Newt Edition)

That all newts are salamanders but not all salamanders are newts?

I found this information on the Facts About Newts page from the Live Science website.

Tree Frogs, Mud Puppies and other Amphibians by Daniel Gilpin is a good book for beginners interested in amphibians. It has a lot of very detailed pictures and fun ‘gross’ information.

The California newt and the rough-skinned newt excrete a toxin from their skin that can be deadly to humans or other animals. The toxin excreted by the California newt (Taricha torosa) is known as tetrodotoxin (TTX), the same neurotoxin found in pufferfish.

Pufferfish, also called blowfish, live in tropical waters. They are prepared as a delicacy called fugu in Japan. You need to have a special permit and training to prepare this potentially deadly dish. It is also illegal to serve to the Emperor of Japan, as one fish has enough poison to kill 30 adults. The Puffer Fish by Alicia Z. Klepeis tells us there are about 120 different kinds of pufferfish.

There are many other animals that can be toxic: spiders, snakes, jellyfish, bees, wasps, scorpions and even the platypus!  They can use their teeth, fangs, stingers, spines or spurs to introduce their venom into you. The book Venom by Marilyn Singer tells all about them.

Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog, Adder’s Fork and Lizard’s Leg by Marty Crump gives the lore and mythology of amphibians and reptiles. One well known example is the snake in the garden of Eden. Other examples would be the rod of Asclepius (the snake on a rod) used to represent the Western medical profession and the Caduceus (2 snakes entwined on a staff with wings) for commerce and negotiation and also used by the U.S. Army and some other medical organizations. For the play Macbeth Shakespeare wrote of three witches around a cauldron using animal parts as ingredients (see the title of this book) which spurred the world’s imagination.

If eye of newt and toe of frog are basic ingredients for witch’s brew, it makes me wonder where they get their ingredients? And what do they do with the rest of the newt? We have spell books at the library, to help you find out: Spells for Peace of Mind: How to Conjure Calm and Overcome Stress, Worry, and Anxiety by Cerridwen Greenleafor and The Big Book of Practical Spells: Everyday Magic that Works by Judika Illes use ingredients such as salt, candles, crystals, and a whole list of herbs.

Of course, stories about witches and wizards make for popular fiction reading as well. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is a prime example of that!  Another fun series is Bella Broomstick by Lou Kuenzler.

Newts make me think of Newton. Isaac Newton discovered the first law of motion: an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids by Kerry Logan Hollihan tells about Isaac Newtons’ life and discoveries with twenty-one science experiments kids can recreate. We have many other books about him such as Isaac Newton: The Asshole who Reinvented the Universe by Florian Freistetter who tells us that Newton wasn’t always a nice guy.

And while we are talking about Newton, THAT reminds me of Fig Newtons! They are a favorite “healthy” cookie. I mean, they have fruit, right? How bad can they be for you? A Fistful of Fig Newtons by Jean Shepherd – best known for his story/movie A Christmas Story where Ralphie Parker wants a BB gun – is a collection of short stories based on his life…. Like the cookies, just one won’t be enough. You’ll want to read the whole book!

Keeping it Local

With the current restrictions on social gatherings, as well as the return of the November rainy season, you might find yourself spending a lot of time indoors and at home. If, like me, you have caught yourself analyzing the animal residents of your backyard or scrutinizing the behavior of your beloved pet, it may be time to just lean into the situation. Why not declare your immediate home environment a new obsession and give your curiosity free reign?  

Luckily, the library has a lot of great new books to help you investigate your local surroundings and find out what makes its inhabitants tick. Here are a few excellent examples. 

Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy by Zazie Todd

Whether you dog follows you around all day, barks at a leaf falling on the roof, or likes to take 8 hour power naps, spending so much time with them begs the question: Are they happy? Zazie Todd sets out to not only answer that question, but to also find out ways to make their lives markedly better. She interviews a broad range of experts, including veterinarians, behaviorists, shelter managers and trainers to gain insight into the dog mindset. Equally important, she asks the reader to examine their own expectations when it comes to living with, or even getting, a canine companion. 

Decoding Your Cat: the Ultimate Experts Explain Common Cat Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones

Ah the inscrutable feline. Even with extra hours of observation at home, is it possible to understand what makes yours tick? This book, from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists no less, believes you can understand your feline companion and learn to cohabitate better. They even provide a handy chart of common behavioral cues, like the set of their ears, to help you interpret your cat’s changing temperament. This book is also full of practical advice (cats like to observe from above so providing a perch to view all the human action below is ideal) and DIY cat toy ideas. 

Peterson Guide to Bird Behavior by John Kricher

Birds, aka avian dinosaurs, are another set of creatures you have probably had more time to observe lately. While your backyard feathered friends might not belong to any unusual species, their behaviors are definitely exotic and fascinating. This Peterson guide is not about bird identification but instead delves into the many aspects of bird behaviors: social interaction, nesting, migration, feeding and many more that you can observe. Best of all, this guide is written in an easy to understand style, which ditches obscure and technical jargon in favor of ease of understanding.  

A Cloud a Day by Gavin Pretor-Pinney

Even if you don’t have a pet or local fauna to observe, there is one sure fire way to connect with your local surroundings: simply look up. Clouds are easily taken for granted, but are actually pretty amazing, and come in a dazzling array of shapes and sizes. Put together by the Cloud Appreciation Society (yes, it is a real organization) this book provides you with 365 cloud formations to contemplate and appreciate. Each entry is gorgeous in its own way, with photographs and famous illustrations of each formation. A detailed, but easy to understand, scientific explanation of each cloud is provided as well. 

So get out of your headspace and observe some of the fascinating, complex and beautiful creatures and phenomena that surround you. Library books included.  

Did You Know? (Owl and Snake Edition)

Eastern Screech Owls will keep blind snakes in their nests to ‘babysit’ while parents are away gathering food?

The owls in these nests with snakes seem to be healthier than owls from non-snake nests; it is believed this is because the snakes eat insects in the nest that may harm the babies. I found this information on page 88 of North American Owls by Paul A. Johnsgard. What a highly detailed book! It tells about the many different kinds of owls, their sizes, territories, nesting habits, where to find them and on and on.

There are two families of blind snakes: the Leptotyphlops with about 80 species that have teeth only on the lower jaw and have un-toothed maxillary bones fused solidly to their head, and the Typhlopidae with maxillary bones that are toothed and not fused to the skull with about 160 species. I doubt the owls care which of the families of snakes they have. Guide and Reference to the Snakes of Western North America by R. D. Bartlett and Patricia P. Bartlett has pictures of many of these blind snakes. They spend most of their time underground and look remarkably like worms.

This type of mutually beneficial interaction is called a symbiotic relationship. There are many types of these relationships. Mycorrhizal Planet by Michael Phillips tells how plants have photosynthate sugars to offer mycorrhizal fungi, which can’t access carbon. The fungi in turn assists the plant by facilitating the uptake of mineral nutrients and water.

Weird Friends: Unlikely Allies in the Animal Kingdom by Jose Aruego and Arianne Dewey is an excellent book for children explaining symbiosis and has many examples of different animals helping each other. Natural Attraction: a Field Guide to Friends, Frenemies, and Other Symbiotic Animal Relationships by Iris Gottlieb goes one step further and shows not only symbiosis, but parasitism and commensalism as well. This book has nice pictures of animal pairs along with explanations of who is gaining what in each relationship.

The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear is not about a symbiotic relationship, but true love! They sail away together and get married on a tropical beach. It was originally published in 1871. It is truly an example of how love stories never go out of style. We have many other book series with pairs of animals. A few of them are The Elephant and Piggy books, Hondo and Fabian and Frog and Toad series. While symbiosis is a mutual benefit, friendship is probably the best benefit anyone can ever have!

Did You Know? (Cashew Edition)

That cashews grow on the bottom of a cashew apple, and are related to poison ivy?

Cashew nuts are actually the seeds of the ‘cashew apple’ – a Brazilian evergreen tree with bright orange fruit. I found this on page 405 of 1900 Ingredients by Christine Ingram. Cashews are never sold in the shell because they have to undergo extensive heating to remove them from their shells.

Wikipedia tells us that “the seed (drupe) is surrounded by a double shell containing an allergenic phenolic resin, anacardic acid, a potent skin irritant chemically related to the better-known allergenic oil urushiol which is also a toxin found in the related poison ivy.”

Fancy Nancy: Poison Ivy Expert by Jane O’Connor is a darling story about poor Nancy getting into poison ivy while picking flowers. Nancy’s neighbor gives her a cream made from jewelweed to help soothe her itch. Jewelweed has long been used for this as a natural cure.

The Quick Guide to Wild Edible Plants by Lytton John Musselman and Harold J. Wiggins has a chapter about identifying poison oak, ivy and sumac along with pictures so you DON’T end up eating or touching them! It also tells us that mangoes and pistachios are related to cashews.

Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins is a fun tale told to a man in the park (eating a peanut butter sandwich: chunky peanut butter, by the way) by a very old squirrel that can speak! He tells the stories of squirrels travelling on the buzz paths, and having great adventures. He states that ‘nuts to you’ is a classic squirrel greeting, meaning all manner of things, but mostly good luck.

As vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise, cooking with cashews and other nuts is getting more and more popular. VBQ the Ultimate Vegan Barbecue by Nadine Horn and Jorg Mayer has recipes using cashews for a pesto, sour cream and an aioli spread. This Cheese is Nuts by Julie Piatt has lots of cashew cheese choices. So, go nuts with these recipes, and “nuts to you!”

Introducing Books for You

The Everett Public Library is happy to be launching a new service during Phase 2 of the ongoing pandemic. For the past month we have been offering curbside service in which we bring to your vehicle the materials you have requested once they are ready for pick-up.

Now, with our Books for You project we’ll surprise you with 3-5 books that are similar to popular authors or titles you may have liked or that are focused on a variety of popular genres and subjects of interest.

Do you like true crime, or alternate histories, or mysteries featuring amateur sleuths?  We’ve got you covered. Maybe you loved Delia Owens’ bestseller Where the Crawdads Sing – we’ll bring you 3-5 similar books that you might also enjoy. Or say you’re waiting to read Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist or Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility – we’ll bring you some titles that also address racial equity and systemic racism in America.

Take a look through the Books for You categories below and give us a call at 425-257-8000 so we can surprise you with some handpicked read-alikes.

Books for You categories

While you wait for:
How to Be an Antiracist or White Fragility

If you liked:
A Gentleman in Moscow
The Handmaid’s Tale
Little Fires Everywhere
Where the Crawdads Sing

If you like:
Clive Cussler
David Baldacci

If you’re interested in:
Alternate Histories
Amateur Sleuths
Best Sellers from Around the World
The Black American Experience in Fiction
Books set in the Pacific Northwest
Culinary Mysteries
Debut Fiction
Diverse Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Everett History 101
Heartwarming Reads
Inspirational Fiction
The Latinx Experience
Pandemic Apocalypse Fiction
Science Books for Curious Minds
Short (but not so sweet) Stories
Small Press Fiction Sampler
True Crime
What They Didn’t Teach in History Class

Simply give us a call at 425-257-8000 or reach us at Ask a Librarian regarding the Books for You category you are interested in and we’ll contact you when they are ready for curbside pick-up.

Visit epls.org/bfy to see the current list of Books for You categories.

Of course, you’re not limited to the categories above – we’re here to help you discover good reading, whatever your areas of interest, so give us a call.

And for kids materials, click here to browse reading suggestions or to have our Youth Services librarians gather some Personal Picks for you.

We look forward to surprising you with some great reads!

Birding from Home

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Photo by JoAnna Thomas of me and my camera, seeking Lazuli Buntings near Snohomish one spring.

A few years ago I became one of those (some may say) weird people who are fascinated with birds. You know, the kind that you see pulled over on a country road gawking at something in a field, or in a big group of blandly dressed folks all wearing binoculars, or stopped in the middle of a trail pointing a camera with a giant lens up at the trees.

When COVID took over our lives it was necessary to stay home, and stay healthy, but it’s been a good time to keep birding, too. It seems we had an amazing spring in terms of ‘good’ birds in our fairly urban area close to downtown Everett, from what I could see and what others reported as well. I spent a lot of time taking photos and recording birdsongs in my own backyard, and in the parks close to home.

I also listened to a really interesting and accessible book about birds by author Jennifer Ackerman, who has been writing about science and nature for 30 years. The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think is available as an e-audiobook which is read by the author, and it is thoroughly enjoyable.

The book contains lots of new scientific discoveries about how smart birds actually are; now it’s known that their tiny brains, previously assumed to be mostly operating on instinct, are capable of astonishing feats. How birds use intelligence and ingenuity in their daily activities is explored in separate chapters in the areas listed in the subtitle.

The section about bird songs and calls was really mind blowing. Birds can and do understand ‘foreign languages’ – they quickly learn to decipher an incredible amount of detailed information in other species vocalizations. Other chapters feature raptors who spread fire to increase their hunting success, hummingbirds who know how long a flower takes to replenish nectar, cooperative nesters who aren’t even related, and crows and parrots who solve puzzles, sometimes as a team. Ackerman says this is really a thrilling time in bird science. I agree!

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New Holland Honeyeater, an Australian bird that conveys super-detailed information about predators in its calls. Photo from Wikipedia.

If you haven’t heard of Ackerman, you’ve probably heard of David Sibley. For any fellow birders out there, check out this video that features the two of them in a virtual program on World Migratory Bird Day.


The library has a hundreds of books about birds for adults and youth. Below are a few recent additions to the collection to check out.

John Marzluff, probably best know for his work with crows at the University of Washington, as well as his talks at EPL, has published a new book, In Search of Meadowlarks. This book looks at sustainable food production methods that are compatible with bird and wildlife conservation. Meadowlarks live in most areas of the country, yet their numbers, like many birds, are in decline. Marzluff examines the reasons and ends with a chapter on what we can do to help.

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Hopefully you have been lucky enough to see a Meadowlark, and to hear its beautiful song.

What It’s Like to be a Bird, by David Allen Sibley, who’s famous for his illustrated bird guides which are favorites of many birders, is a bit of a departure for the author. Like The Bird Way mentioned above, Sibley takes a look at questions such as: “Can birds smell?” “Is this the same cardinal that was at my feeder last year?” and “Do robins ‘hear’ worms?” He says that he first planned this book many years ago as a children’s book. With two starred reviews, it sounds like it was worth the years of effort.

If birds themselves aren’t interesting enough, check out the bird related The Falcon Thief by Joshua Hammer. This is the story of Jeffrey Lendrum, who for two decades had a lucrative business of stealing, smuggling, and selling endangered falcon’s eggs to wealthy clients who were involved in falcon racing. Part true-crime narrative, part epic adventure, this book is hard to put down.

If gardening comes first for you, but you’d like to learn more about birds, try out Attracting Birds and Butterflies by Barbara Ellis. Planting for wildlife will certainly increase your chances of seeing some of our amazing local birds in your yard, acreage, or balcony. Even if you have little experience or time, you can make some changes that will help birds and butterflies survive.

Pacific Flyway by Audrey Benedict is a gorgeous photographic collection of images of the Pacific Flyway, the 10,000 mile stretch from the Arctic to southern South America, which is traveled by many bird species on their seasonal migrations. Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California coasts are crucial to support these birds on their journeys.

Close to Birds: an Intimate Look at Our Feathered Friends by Roine Magnusson is another photographic examination of the wonder of birds which features close up, super detailed photos of birds, all the work of the author.

So take a look at these great bird books, look around your yard and neighborhood, and discover the joys of birding, if you haven’t already. It is simultaneously challenging, relaxing, exciting, healthy, and just plain therapeutic!


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Chestnut-backed Chickadee in my backyard with a grub for its babies. It was a great joy to watch the progress of the family without leaving my yard.