Subtitled True Encounters with Avian Spirits, this book is a wonderful collection of meetings with birds.
From Ron Naveen's descriptions of visits to a chinstrap penguin colony to Terry Tempest Williams meditation on whimbrels, the shrinking of Great Salt Lake and her mother's illness these are beautiful moving stories of human encournters with birds.
It is largely a north American collection, so I'm unfamiliar with many of the species described. However the closing piece Kenn Kaufmann's Skylark sees the author travelling to San Juan Island odd the Pacific West Coast to visit the colony of introduced skylarks, one of my favourite birds.
'Once more I walked down to the edge of the tall grass, to the border of the larks' world, and stood looking upward. A single skylark was up there now, rowering on quivered wings, high above the earth. The song that came rippling and running and trilling down spoke defiance to raging seas and rockbound coasts, to the wintry cast of the sky, to the spirits of this northwestern island. It seemed then that even the elements must acknowledge this singer for the eloquence of his futile challenge. At last another skylark cane up to the west, and another off to the east; the voices rang down the sky, on and on, as if the song would go on forever. '
A beautiful collection of essays that any birder will enjoy and may well introduce a few non-birders to the joys of our feathered friends.
The Gift of Birds, true Encounters with Avian Spirits edited by Larry Habegger and Amy G Carlson, published by Traveler's Tales
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