I’ve made a 2018 resolution to read more books about birding. Unlike a traditional “big year” this isn’t going to be about reading as many books as possible. Rather, I’m setting a simple and achievable goal of reading 12 books about birding during the year. Why don’t you join me?
Here are the ground rules:
- At least 12 books, one book per month of 2018
- Books must be about birding or birds (a broader topic of the natural world is okay as long as there is a connection with birds or birding)
- Field guides don’t count
- Choose authors you haven’t read before
- At least three must be written by women
- At least three must be written by an author from a country (or about a country) you haven’t read about before
My 12 Books About Birding
You can choose any books you want (as long as you follow the rules!). Here are my choices with links to Amazon:
Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird – Katie Fallon
Life List: A Woman’s Quest for the World’s Most Amazing Birds – Olivia Gentile
When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer – James Alexander Currie
Wild America: The Record of a 30,000 Mile Journey Around the Continent by a Distinguished Naturalist and His British Colleague – Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher
Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds – Lynda Lynn Haupt
The Genius of Birds – Jennifer Ackerman
I have been thrilled by the response I’ve gotten to the reading challenge on social media. Everyone has been amazing at providing book suggestions!
Here is a list of what people are reading:
The Running Hare: The Secret Life of Farmland (UK)
H Is for Hawk (Female author)
Rosalie Edge, Hawk of Mercy: The Activist Who Saved Nature from the Conservationists (Female author)
Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 (Multiple countries)
The Peregrine (UK)
Findings (UK, female author)
Meadowland: the private life of an English field (UK)
Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place (Female author)
Extreme Birder: One Woman’s Big Year (Female author)
A Rant Of Ravens (Birdwatcher Mystery) (Female author)
A Siege of Bitterns: Birder Murder Mystery 1 (UK)
Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation (Female author)
Birding on Borrowed Time (Female author)
A Bird in the Hand (George and Molly Palmer-Jones) (Female author)
A Guide to the Birds of East Africa (East Africa)
One More Warbler: A Life with Birds (US)
The Reluctant Twitcher: A Quite Truthful Account of My Big Birding Year (Canada)
I Came, I Saw, I Counted (North America)
The Birds of Brewery Creek (Canada)
The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession (North America)
Imperial Dreams: Tracking the Imperial Woodpecker Through the Wild Sierra Madre (US)
The Birds of Pandemonium (Female author)
Birders: Tales of a Tribe (Multiple countries)
Big Twitch: One Man, One Continent, a Race Against Time—A True Story about Birdwatching (Australia)
The Biggest Twitch: Around the World in 4,000 birds (Multiple countries)
How to Be a (Bad) Birdwatcher (UK)
Words in Our Beak, Volume One (US)
Bird Sense: What It’s Like to Be a Bird
To See Every Bird on Earth: A Father, a Son, and a Lifelong Obsession (Multiple countries)
Under the Sea-Wind (Female author)
Ravens in Winter (US)
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World (Female author, Germany)
Concerned about the cost of purchasing 12 books? Get a library membership! I plan to make use of mine as much as I can for this challenge.
Why Read Books About Birding?
I recently read Noah Stryker’s Birding Without Borders and I discovered the joy of reading about birding. Prior to this, most of my bird-related reading was limited to studying field guides. This book inspired me to continue broadening my “bird reading” horizons. I realized you can learn a lot from following along on other people’s birding adventures, especially if they share some facts and history along the way. This type of reading goes above and beyond what you can get from a field guide. I also felt a sense of a community from reading this book – apparently there are other people in the world who are as crazy (if not crazier) about birds as I am!
The reason I set ground rules for the challenge is I believe the greater the diversity, the greater the learning. It’s easy to find books written by American men about their birding experiences, but what do women or people from other countries have to say? I’m excited to find out.
Let’s Start Reading!
I’ll post updates on social media during the year about how the challenge is going. I would also love to hear from you if you decide to join me! Let’s use #bigyearbirdreading for discussions on social media. You can also leave a comment below with updates on how your reading is going – I will do the same.
Do you have a favourite book about birding? Please share in the comments below ↓
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