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Birder on Berry Lane

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Birder on Berry Lane by Robert Tougias
Hardcover $19.99
Mar 17, 2020 | ISBN 9781623545413

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  • Mar 17, 2020 | ISBN 9781623545413

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  • Mar 17, 2020 | ISBN 9781632892287

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Praise

Nature writer Tougias (Birding Western Massachusetts) celebrates the avian visitors to his suburban Connecticut backyard in this affecting chronicle. He dispenses scientific information about birds’ life cycles, habitats sometimes imperiled by development, and identifying features, such as their distinctive calls—the sparrow’s trills, catbird’s meow, and owl’s hoots. However, for him, “birding isn’t just a matter of ticking off species one by one” but the source of “a great feeling of peace,” with the appearance of different species marking the passing of the year. He associates January with owls, and the red-shouldered hawk with March, a month he savors for the many signs of migration. April is “a waiting game” for the turn toward warm weather that will bring songbirds, but May goes quickly, “as if, in the single beat of my heart, the entire spring has slipped away,” while he observes new hatchlings quickly maturing to be ready to fly south with their parents at summer’s end. For November, he spotlights turkeys and grosbeaks as heralds of winter, while December allows Tougias to discuss bird survival strategies—huddling, fluffing, shivering—and also human cohabitation, as with the Carolina wren he discovered in his garage. Bird-loving readers will adore Tougias’s celebratory account of how wild animals can become an intrinsic part of one’s daily life.
Publishers Weekly
 
“Birder on Berry Lane is structured much like a bird creates a nest, using the seasons to create a foundation and intricate life histories of bird species to provide nesting material – a practical reference that both novice and avid birders can use to follow the seasonal ebb and flow of birds in the eastern US.”
Michael Gregonis
Wildlife Biologist, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
 
“Tougias takes us on a year long journey through his yard and surrounds with an important message: The wonders of nature are right in our backyards if we just take time to notice and observe.  Szantyr’s illustrations really bring the tales to life!”
Patrick Comins
Executive Director, Connecticut Audubon Society
 
“What a delight. If you’ve ever stood in your yard staring at the treetops or hooting for owls, or have questioned the sanity of those who do, this is the book for you.”
Chris Elphick 
Ornithologist, Dept of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut
 
“In the expectant, highly attentive passages of Birder on Berry Lane, Robert Tougias takes great care in sharing his joy, engaging all of our senses as he brings us through a year of watching the birds in his neighborhood. He reminds us of what it means to really pay attention, to open up to the incredibly vibrant lives all around us, calling, fluttering, hopping, and wheeling above. And he reminds us of what it means to really know where we are, a knowledge that must be embraced if we intend to save this place, and ourselves.”
Jonathan Andersen
Author of Augur, recipient of David Martinson-Meadowhawk Poetry Award, (Red Dragonfly Press 2018)

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