Monday, December 28, 2009

Backyard Bird Secrets for Every Season by Sally Roth

Backyard Bird Secrets for Every Season, Sally Roth.
New York: Rodale Press, 2009. large paperback, 337 pps. inc. sources and index.

We've had a bit of a cold snap and I found my self wanting to read books that remind me that spring will return. Backyard Bird Secrets for Every Season fits the bill. Sally Roth is an avid birder from Indiana. She knows her stuff and has been widely published. The book itself uses medium thickness glossy pages which pleased my fingers and colored photographs which were a feast for my eyes. Charts and writing style are both clear and precise. I am as pleased with this book as I have been with other things that Roth has written.

The book is divided into sections according to the four seasons with winter being the last. I turned first to Part 4 subtitled Winter: Getting down to Basics. In Part 4, Roth addresses the need for proteinous foods, water, and shelter. The colorful pictures compliment her information rather well. A picture of a hollowed out tree caught my eye. I was pleased to see Part 4 mention the roosting together of birds in nesting boxes and small cavities that we observe here. If I get up early enough in the morning that was preceded by a cold night, I can be rewarded by the sight of a bunch of little birds pouring out of a roosting box, having all shared the box and body heat for the night. Roth suggests putting up birdhouses early, cleaning the feeders once a month in the winter time (with steps included), and providing water via a heated water source or at least special plastic with a dark interior that will delay freezing. I am now actively looking for either a solar water unit or a water heater for my birdbath. Roth also mentions the reliance that buffleheads have on woodpeckers in finding shelter. Buffleheads are considered incidental here along the Mohawk, although I did have the pleasure of watching a female bufflehead one fall down by the locks. Upon spying me and my dog, she dove underwater and came up again 50 feet later. Charts included in Part 4 illustrate which plants and trees attract which birds in the winter landscape.

Sally Roth has once again succeeded in presenting information about birds in an easy-to-read style bound to appeal to people who find pleasure in feeding birds. Although this book is not a scholarly tome, it is worth the look-see for anyone wishing to hone their knowledge about backyard birds.

sapphoq reviews says: break out those suet cakes! A definite plus for the casual birding library.