Thursday, April 23, 2015


One of the more fascinating books on the bestseller lists is about the relationship between an animal and a human. H is for Hawk mixes what seems like two totally different subjects—bereavement and falconry. This is the true story by Helen MacDonald who found solace when her father died by trying to train a goshawk, a fierce variety of hawk. Although Ms. MacDonald had learned the ancient art of falconry from her dad, she had never contemplated working with such a wild predator. Vividly written with depth and humor, this is an exceptional example of nature writing. Mabel the goshawk is an unforgettable character and Ms. MacDonald makes this memoir both inspirational and exciting.

There are other bird books on the shelves of the Monrovia Public Library and they will appeal to both avian fans and readers who just enjoy good books.

In Condor, author John Nielsen tells the story of how the California bird was brought back from near extinction. An admittedly ugly bird that resembles a big vulture, this ancient member of the hawk family with a 10 foot wing span has roots in the Pleistocene era. Nielsen’s book examines the history of the condor and the sometimes controversial efforts to protect it and expand its numbers in California.

Another threatened bird species is the songbird. The Silence of the Songbird is about those magical and musical birds who are disappearing from American skies. Written by biologist Brigid Stutchbury in an easy-to-understand way, this is a compelling look at how pesticides, development, and loss of habitat are killing singing birds. The book has been named a wake-up call to all those who worry that birds are becoming extinct.

YBirds of the Pacific States by Ralph Hoffman and Familiar Birds of the Pacific Southwest by Florence Dickey will get you started in identifying the birds in your neighborhood. You don’t to be an experienced bird watcher to enjoy the birds in your backyard.

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