5 1/4" x 7 1/2"
An Enchantment of Birds
Memories from a Birder's Life
Richard Cannings reminisces about encounters with his favorite birds and describes the wonders of bird life.
In these delightful meditations, biologist and bird lover Richard Cannings weaves stories of his personal encounters with his favorite birds into fascinating descriptions of their behavior, anatomy, and evolution. When Cannings was a boy, the songs of the meadowlarks rang through his bedroom window as the morning sky brightened, and the young rode on the back of the tractor as it mowed the long grass in summer; now meadowlark songs mean home. Cannings also describes how meadowlarks tuck their nests deep into a hollow beside a clump of grass, where they are so completely hidden that he has seen only two in his entire life, despite many days of searching for them.
Other birds described include the northern gannet, with its snow-white plumage, jet-black wingtips, saffron-tinted head, and silver-blue eyes; the little saw-whet owl, which regularly flirts with bigamy-and even trigamy; and the trumpeter swan, which is partial to potatoes and carrots but turns up its beak at brussels sprouts. These nuggets of bird life cover the continent, from the cacophony of a seabird colony on the shores of the Atlantic to a symphony of snow geese on the autumn plains and songbird courtship in the alpine tundra of the Rocky Mountains.
Richard Cannings works as a consulting biologist in Naramata, British Columbia, assessing endangered species and organizing broad-scale bird population surveys, among many other projects. He teaches field ecology at the University of British Columbia and was curator of the Cowan Vertebrate Museum at the university for fifteen years. He is the author of The Rockies: A Natural History and, with Sydney Cannings, of British Columbia: A Natural History and The B.C. Roadside Naturalist.
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