It’s hard for me to find a birding book that I can read – read like in story. I don’t “read” identification books or biology books or books that tell me where to go birding. Pete Dunne, however, is one author who reliably fills that gap. Director of Cape May Bird Observatory in New Jersey, Dunne goes birding looking for stories as much as he looks for birds. He finds good ones. His latest are collected in “Bayshore Summer,” to be published in July by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The book describes his adventures in what he describes as a most unlikely place: New Jersey’s Delaware Bay shore. It’s a fine book to have handy for a day when birding inside is the best bet. Dunne is on the light side of birding literature. Another new book, “All About Birds: a Short Illustrated History of Ornithology,” is on the heavy side, not that depth is a handicap. The book covers in detail ornithology in word and illustration from Aristotle to Sibley. I found the first 100 pages or so most interesting because I had no knowledge of this subject as it existed prior to the 19th century. Birds were a more popular subject for books than you might imagine, with illustrations leading the way. Aristotle, by the way, described 140 species of birds in his work “History of Animals.” Author Valerie Chansigaud tells us, however, that when it came to accurate descriptions he was no Sibley. He was the first ornithologist, however. The book is published by Princeton University Press.
That Wild Turkey hen with the nest of eggs that I wrote about a couple of days ago is gone, along with her 10 eggs. There's no clue as to what happened. I assume predation, but can't picture a predator removing the eggs whole. I would have guessed they' be consumed on site, with shell fragments left to tell the story.