Ornithologist Noah Strycker Introduces Readers to New Feathered Friends in ‘National Geographic Birding Basics’ [REVIEW]

Northern Saw-whet Owl at Malheur Headquarters, Harney County, 12 October 2003
Northern Saw-whet Owl at Malheur Headquarters, Harney County, 12 October 2003 (Photo by Noah Strycker, Facebook)

I’ve always loved birds. Living in Southern California and coastal Massachusetts, I enjoyed watching big white sea birds like gulls and albatrosses soar overhead anytime we went to the beach. Later, when we relocated to Arkansas, I marveled at the huge blue jays that would dive bomb our cats and dogs and send them scurrying for cover. In New York City, sparrows built a nest on my apartment’s windowsill, and I checked every day to see if their tiny eggs had hatched. And then in Ohio, when we lived in our old farmhouse and owned some land, we watched all kinds of birds make their homes in the trees surrounding our property.

The point is, no matter where we live, birds surround us (although thankfully not in the eerie way Alfred Hitchcock depicted in his classic film The Birds). Even in the most urban areas, these airborne creatures are our constant connection to nature. This is a lesson ornithologist Noah Strycker learned early on in fifth grade when his teacher mounted a bird feeder to the classroom window. The birds he saw sparked his imagination and began a lifelong love affair with his feathered neighbors, and his fascination with them has given him a career and led him around the world. Now, in National Geographic Birding Basics, he shows us how all of us, regardless of where we may live, can become birding enthusiasts too.

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In ‘The Accidentals,’ One Family’s Dark History Won’t Stay Buried [REVIEW]

Bird

Like migratory birds blown off course, sometimes life “jumps the track and crashes.” (Photo courtesy Canva)

A mother who dreams of something more. Two daughters who must live with a terrible secret. The fateful decision that fractures all of their lives for decades to come. In Minrose Gwin’s The Accidentals, one family must carve its way through sixty years of history in the deep South. Read more of this post

National Geographic’s ‘The Splendor of Birds’ Is Simply Breathtaking [REVIEW]

Blue-Footed Booby

The blue-footed booby is only one of the many birds featured in National Geographic’s The Splendor of Birds. (Photo courtesy National Geographic)

Birds. There is something truly special about these creatures that captures the imaginations of all of us. Whether we’re feeding ducks at a park or hummingbirds nectar outside our window, watching predatory hawks soar high in the sky or an ominous flock of grackles loom overhead on power lines like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock film, or laughing at the antics of waddling penguins and precariously poised flamingoes, these winged animals are everywhere and yet each is stunning in its own way. Over the years, National Geographic has shared our fascination with them, and now they are revealing all their hard-won wisdom and stellar photographs and artistry in one incomparable volume, The Splendor of Birds: Art and Photographs from National Geographic.  Read more of this post