The feeder: Review of "The Three-Minute Outdoorsman,” by Robert M. Zink

  • Updated: August 19, 2014 - 1:16 PM

The Three-Minute Outdoorsman, Robert M. Zink

“The Three-Minute Outdoorsman,” by Robert M. Zink, University of Minnesota Press, 2014, $17.95

This book’s subtitle, “Wild Science from Magnetic Deer to Mumbling Carp,” hints at the eclectic mix of essays between its covers. A dedicated hunter and bird scientist, author Zink offers a unique perspective in these short takes on the natural world and its denizens.

Carp, as it turns out, truly do mumble as they suck up vegetation on river bottoms. And deer — at least Czechoslovakian deer — tend to orient themselves along magnetic lines as they forage and rest.

Zink ruminates on many other topics, including the possible effects of dog walking on bird life, how very young birds respond to predator threats, the ethics of hunting fenced-in game animals and the impact of free-roaming cats on wildlife.

Who wouldn’t want to read short chapters with titles like “Our chickadees are smarter than theirs,” “Politics and the lead ammo debate,” or even “Neck-deep in guano: A recent history of chimney swifts”?

Often citing scientific studies, Zink has a freewheeling writing style that cuts through the jargon to make their findings meaningful to readers. With humor and a questioning mind, he takes just a few minutes to get us looking at outdoors issues in a new light.

Val Cunningham

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