An Enchantment of Birds
In these delightful meditations, veteran biologist and bird lover Richard Cannings reminisces about encounters with his favorite North American birds and describes the wonders of their behavior, anatomy, and evolution. When Cannings was a boy, the songs of the meadowlark rang through his bedroom window as the morning sky brightened, and the young hitched a ride on the back of the tractor as it mowed the long summer grass. He also describes rescuing an orphan kingbird chick and feeding it mashed bugs, boiled egg, and ground beef; raking leaves one cold November day and being surrounded by a living gray cloud of bohemian waxwings; and being seasick in the swells of the North Pacific and suddenly seeing a huge black-footed albatross sweeping across the sea—among many other evocative anecdotes.
The book is also chock-full of fascinating information about the birds, including 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 calliope hummingbird, which weighs the same as five extra-strength aspirins. 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.
Each piece in the book is enhanced by one of Donald Gunn’s elegant illustrations. Together, text and drawings provide an intimate and enchanting glimpse into the lives of these charming creatures.
Retail price CDN$29.95