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Book Reviews




By Lynn E. Barber

Published by: Texas A&M University Press


Clearly, if there were individuals interested it the wellbeing of our avian friends it would be those who consider themselves birders.  I have considered myself a member of that group for over fifty-five years.  My first inclination when I saw the title of this book was why would anyone want to read a depressing book.  But then, the adult in me said I needed to know more.  I wondered where the author would go with this book.  I am here to answer that question.

But first let me say I was most impressed with the book.  I marveled at the research done by Mrs. Barber to gather not only information about each of the birds discussed but also to provide information about who is working to help each of the species addressed, what they are doing and, maybe most importantly, how each reader can get involved in all sorts of ways you may not have thought about.  She provides contact information to groups and organizations that are focused on the various individual species.  This was particularly impressive to me.  I had no idea there are so many groups that are specifically focused on individual species.

The book brings to the reader’s attention the enormous work being done following the birds to where they migrate, not only here in the U.S. but internationally.  Not all is doom and gloom.  She reports some bright spots when it comes to certain species.  I, for one, wish there were more.

There is not a (true) birder who would not benefit from knowing what work and achievements are effectively being accomplished behind the scenes and what work just might be accomplished if you were so inclined to help.  For those of you who have birded for a few decades, you must be painfully aware that the numbers of individual birds of so many species have plummeted over the years.  Doing nothing but watching the dwindling numbers is no longer an option.  Many of us only wished there was something we could do to turn the situation around but sit back rationalizing that we each are just one person.  The author will guide you to ways you can help and feel good that you are part of the potential solutions to save these beautiful creatures who deserve to be allowed to stay around.

She provides “A personal note” regarding each bird discussed.  She takes you along with her on her various trips to some of the remotest locations and describes her attempts to see each of the birds in the book.

I strongly urge my fellow birders to read this book. It would also be a great gift for birding friends and relatives.


Reviewed by Bill Karnofsky




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