During the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in birds and birdwatching soared. One of the highlights of my family's quarantine were the walks we took at the local cemetery to visit a family of Great Horned Owls with three juveniles. As more of us got outdoors to observe our feathered friends, many of us also picked up bird-related books. If you're a bird lover, we recommend you check out these recent books.
The new book by David Sibley (yes, that Sibley) What It's Like to Be A Bird is a large-format guide, filled with Sibley's beautifully-detailed illustrations explaining what birds are doing and why and will appeal to beginning birders and experts alike.
Another book exploring bird behavior is Jennifer Ackerman's The Bird Way. Grouped in five parts (talk, work, play, love, parent), Ackerman covers new research and provides vivid anecdotes in this engaging and insightful narrative.
For readers inclined to take a deeper dive into specific species, there are two excellent books about rare raptors. The striated caracara captured the attention of Darwin during his voyage on Beagle and has equally intrigued Jonathan Meiburg. A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life And Epic Journey Of The World's Smartest Birds Of Prey is Meiburg's fascinating book about this mischievous, smart, oddly social and little-known bird of prey found in South America.
In Owls of the Eastern Ice, author Johnathan Slaght spends four seasons in the forests of Primoye in Russia in search of the elusive Blakiston's fish owl, the largest living species of owl. Not only is this fascinating and adventurous nature writing, but Slaght also provides a strong sense of place and a compelling portrait of Primoye.
If literary is more your thing, check out Vesper Flights, the latest book of essays from Helen McDonald, author of H is for Hawk. These essays, while not exclusively about birds, will provoke a sense of wonder about the natural world.
Birds have made their way into fiction, too. In Migrations, Franny is following the last flock of Arctic terns on what may be their final migration in this emotionally powerful work of ecofiction.