Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Online Bookshelf - Fifty Birds Of Town And City


Published by the US Dept of the Interior, with full-color illustrations.  No date, but the foreword reads:

Early in this century, the old Bureau of Biological Survey put out a booklet called “Fifty Common Birds of Farm and Orchard,” with paintings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes.

In 1962, a former Fish and Wildlife Service staffer named Rachael Carson wrote “Silent Spring,” a book that changed American thinking about birds—and pesticides.

That first volume is out of date because of our great population shifts in six decades. And I hope that “Silent Spring” will be out of date some day; that our birds will live with us in an unpoisoned environment of cities and towns that are cleaner, healthier, greener.

So here is a new “bird book” from the Department of the Interior, geared to the 50 birds you might see in your city, with paintings done by a man who picked up the fallen Fuertes brush, Bob Hines. These are not endangered birds, except as all living things are endangered; some of them are living in or passing through your backyard or city park right now. Look well at Bob’s art; he is not commemorating the passenger pigeon but trying to open your eyes to the world about you.

And he is trying to suggest that these birds can live in our towns and cities so long as you help provide the healthy habitat they need, habitat that is healthy not just for them but for you.

Enjoy this little book, learn from it, and take a vow that our springs will not be silent of bird calls—and will be more silent of human clatter.

Free download at Project Gutenberg.

8 comments:

Sharon K said...

nice. not all the birds, but a handy little guide to some of the most common. we have fun speculating on the interactions at the feeders. do the red wings really intimidate the collared doves, or do they just have different working hours - and boy, does everyone scurry when a swainsons hawk drops by.

Bunnykins said...

Thanks for the tip. We're in suburban Hamilton, Ontario now (near Toronto), up on the so-called Mountain, on the end of the Niagara Escarpment. We have jays, bunnies, chipmunks, hawks, cardinals, and robins by the dozen and others in our garden. I grew up in the Beaches in Toronto where we had foxes, pheasant, rabbits, the odd coyote, and all manner of birds as there are parks, ravines left wild, and large street trees. The new garden will be for wildlife, 99% native food and shelter plants. We provide year round water.
Industrialized farming and the removal of barrier tree lines between fields wiped out a lot of birds as most birds won't fly too far without a roost. Old farms had them; new ones, not so much. Man the builder/destroyer.

Lady Anne said...

Our property is surrounded on three sides by a state park. We have foxes and raccoons, for the most part, although we do have an occasional deer wander through. The feeders are warming with yellow finches, as well as towhees, buntings, titmice, cardinals, and jays. There is at least one jay that has learned to imitate the cry of a red-tail hawk, which empties the area of squirrels as well as birds. Sneaky little devil.

Red winged blackbirds will be the death of me. Those, the starlings and the grackles will clean out a feeder in nothing flat. They won't eat any of the seeds that are in the finch feeders, but will throw everything on the ground, and the finches won't eat there. Even my dad, who was as mild mannered a man who ever preached a sermon, would drag out the BB gun and pop off a few 'vultures'. "I know they're God's creatures, but they just don't know when to quit."

Bunnykins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy said...

Unexpectedly wonderful writing in a government document.

Sharon K said...

lady anne, do you think they keep the robins away, too?
i have fond memories of the sounds of red wings from a stint as an undergrad research assistant gravity surveying along the mississippi river, but hubby has noticed we don't seem to have as many robins in our backyard here in wyoming -- there are plenty or robins around in other yards and parks near us, just not our yard. i always think of robins going for worms more than seeds, but maybe the red wings are pushing them out anyway?

Jackie said...

Thanks for the recommendation and the link. Too bad the artwork isn't from Fuertes, he was wonderful.

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