Book Review: Audubon Eastern Birds
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern Region by John Bull and John Farrand Jr., is a really nice field guide for getting an overview of the kinds of birds you are seeing in your backyard or at parks. There is an explanation of the range maps and types of birds at the beginning, and there are beautiful color pictures of the birds in a special section, organized by type of bird and color. I especially liked the section on owls. They also show both male and female birds when they have different coloring. The next section is a section of bird descriptions and range maps that correspond to the bird photos. There is also a description of their calls, but sometimes it can be a little hard to transcribe bird songs. You just have to make sure that you keep the page numbers straight, because the number of the “plates”, (photos of the birds), are different from the page numbers of the bird descriptions, and you just need to make sure you have the right number, or you’ll turn to the wrong page. All in all, I think this is an excellent book, but I would like it if the descriptions of the birds were more detailed. There is also an Audubon Western Birds book as well.
This is a photo I took last year in Michigan of an Eastern Chipmunk in a Rhododendron bush. They gather many seeds, nuts and fruit in preparation for their winter sleep. It is not a real hibernation though, because they wake up periodically to eat from their store of food. They do have a somewhat lower body temperature when they sleep, however. There are many different regional chipmunks in different areas across the country. It can be rather hard to tell them apart. I reviewed a guidebook last year, The Audubon Guide to Mammals, that has a section that covers different kinds of chipmunks.
Winter World by Bernd Heinrich
Book Review-Winter World by Bernd Heinrich
Winter World by Bernd (not a misspelling) Heinrich is an interesting book written by a wildlife biologist who also does his own drawings. It explains how animals use ingenuity and natural traits to survive the winter. It goes into detail about how field mice, flying squirrels, and other small animals survive the winter by foraging, huddling together, and gathering warm material for their homes. There is a funny story he tells about how some mice got into his cabin in Vermont when he was not there, and started chewing up styrofoam insulation in the ceiling to use as bedding material. He also talks about how animals like turtles hibernate under the mud, and about the complex biological changes that occur during hibernation. All in all this is a great reference book to have around, or to read straight through.
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