|3 out of 5 stars|
If you are a back yard bird watcher who keeps a nature journal, you might well take inspiration from Bernd Heinrich. He takes it a step further than most of us would, I suspect, because of his background as a biology professor. For instance, I don’t know how many people would be willing to thaw, count, and examine grouse scat in order to prove a theory!
The writing certainly reminded me that the author has an academic background. It is not as stiff as a professional paper, but neither is it as conversational as I would prefer for such a work. Having said that, it is inspirational in the level of observation and effort that Heinrich was willing to put into his record. A birder doesn’t have to travel to the far-flung places on the map in order to have a satisfactory birding life—looking deep into the world just outside the window has its rewards. His illustrations are admirable (much superior to anything in my field notebook) although certainly not up to field guide quality, encouraging to those of us who will never be professional artists.
I would imagine that this book would have a limited audience of those who are devoted birders or nature enthusiasts, but I think such people would find it a worthwhile read. Definitely an stimulus to me to spend more time in the outdoors and in the environments right around my own city and to take more time to watch each bird and its behaviour.