For the Birds Stars

Nonfiction & Fiction titles about birds and birdwatching.

Annotations are from Advance, the Ingram Book Magazine, unless noted.


  • Darwin's Wink: A Novel of Nature and Love
    Author: Anderson, Alison
    Publisher: St Martins $ 23.95 ISBN: 0312331991 Date: 2004
    star LJ
    An exquisite story of two naturalists who find unexpected love as they work to save a rare bird species on an island off the coast of Mauritius. "An exquisitely written, deeply felt novel."--Alev Little Croutier (Seven Houses).
    Updated 8.16.04
  • Creation
    Author: Govier, Katherine
    Publisher: Overlook $ 24.95 ISBN: 1585674109 Date: 2003
    star Booklist
    In this atmospheric and enthralling novel, Govier tells the story of John James Audubon, a man torn between the lies he has lived by and the truth he now needs. Her novel recreates the summer in which "the world's greatest living bird artist" finally understood the paradox embedded in his art: that the act of creation is also an act of destruction.
    Suggested Reading: Biographical Fiction
    Updated 4.28.03
  • Nonfiction

  • The Parrot Who Owns Me: The Story of a Relationship
    by Burger, Joanna
    Publisher: Villard $ 23.95 ISBN: 0679463305 Date: 2001
    star LJ star PW
    An internationally renowned ornithologist tells the extraordinary story of the parrot who took over her life, revealing fascinating parallels between humans and birds.
    Suggested Reading: Nature
  • Fledgling Days: Memoir of a Falconer
    by Ford, Emma
    Publisher: Overlook Press ISBN: 0-87951-947-9 $ 25.95
    star Booklist
    Falconry has been historically the sport of royalty and traditionally a pursuit of men. Emma Ford is neither royal nor a man, yet she is one of the most acclaimed falconers in the world today. Fledgling Days, her powerful memoir of life in the Kent countryside, where she learned from girlhood the art of falconry, is both a tale of personal discovery and a heart-warming and funny account of a country childhood.
    Suggested Reading: Nature
  • The Grail Bird: Hot on the Trail of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
    Author: Gallagher, Tim
    Publisher: Houghton $ 25 ISBN: 0618456937 Date: 2005
    star LJ
    The author takes up the chase of an extinct--or at least elusive--bird heading deep into the trackless Southern swamps and bayous to determine once and for all if the Ivory-billed Woodpecker still lives.
    Suggested Reading: Nature
    Updated 6.29.05
  • My Fine Feathered Friend
    Author: Grimes, William
    Publisher: North Point $ 15 ISBN: 0865476322 Date: 2002
    star Kirkus star PW
    One day in the dead of winter, New York Times restaurant critic William Grimes looked out the window into his backyard in Queens and saw a chicken, jet black with a crimson comb. His relationship with the hen eventually left him with a funny, enlightening, and heartwarming tale to tell.
    Suggested Reading: Nature
    Updated 2.18.02
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Heinrich, Bernd
    Publisher: Cliff Street Books ISBN: 0-06-017447-1 $ 25
    star PW star LJ
    A scientific investigation into the mind of the raven which lyrically addresses the existence of intelligence in a bird that has had an extraordinary relationship with humans throughout history
    Suggested Reading: Nature
  • Spix's Macaw: The Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird
    Author: Juniper, Tony
    Publisher: Atria $ 25 ISBN: 074347550x Date: 2003
    star LJ
    Tony Juniper's heart-stopping inside account of the race to save a rare blue parrot, the last of its species, is a priceless addition to nature literature -- and a timely portrait of Earth's endangered wildlife. - Publisher Marketing
    Suggested Reading: Nature
    Updated 9.08.03
  • To See Every Bird on Earth: A Father, a Son, and a Lifelong Obsession
    Author: Koeppel, Dan
    Publisher: Hudson $ 24.95 ISBN: 1594630011 Date: 2005
    star LJ
    From a well-known outdoors and nature writer comes a narrative that explores a lifelong obsession with competitive birding.
    Suggested Reading: Nature
    Updated 5.18.05
  • The Birds of Heaven: Travels with Cranes
    by Matthiessen, Peter
    Publisher: FSG/North Point $ 27 ISBN: 0374199442 Date: 2001
    star Publishers Weekly star Booklist
    Sacred to many cultures and considered a bellwether by environmentalists, cranes have an important place in this world, here a leading naturalist and writer travels the globe in search of this prized--and vanishing--bird.
    Suggested Reading: Nature
  • Waiting to Fly: My Escapades with the Penguins of Antarctica
    by Naveen, Ron
    Publisher: Morrow ISBN: 0688158943 $ 26
    star Booklist
    In Waiting to Fly, Naveen, who fell in love with penguins 16 years ago, describes these creatures at work and at play, in love and in death, interweaving stories of his own experiences as a field scientist in Antarctica.
  • Dreambirds
    by Nixon, Rob
    Publisher: Picador $ 23 ISBN: 0312245408 Date: 2000
    starBooklist starLibrary Journal
    Dreambirds is a quirky memoir of the author's upbringing on an ostrich farm and a delightful history of that prehistoric bird's unlikely role in fashion and food.
    Suggested Reading: Memoir Stars
  • Audubon: The Making of an American
    Author: Rhodes, Richard
    Publisher: Knopf $ 28.95 ISBN: 0375414126 Date: 2004
    star Kirkusstar PWstar Bookliststar LJ
    From the Pulitzer Prize—winning historian Richard Rhodes, the first major biography of John James Audubon in forty years, and the first to illuminate fully the private and family life of the master illustrator of the natural world.

    Rhodes shows us young Audubon arriving in New York from France in 1803, his illegitimacy a painful secret, speaking no English but already drawing and observing birds. We see him falling in love, marrying the wellborn English girl next door, crossing the Appalachians to frontier Kentucky to start a new life, fashioning himself into an American just as his adopted country was finding its identity.

    Here is Audubon exploring the wilderness of birds–pelicans wading the shallows of interior rivers, songbirds flocking, passenger pigeons darkening the skies–and teaching himself to revivify them in glorious life-size images. Now he finds his calling: to take his hundreds of watercolor drawings to England to be engraved in a great multivolume work called The Birds of America. Within weeks of his arrival there in 1826, he achieves remarkable celebrity as “the American Woodsman.” He publishes his major work as well as five volumes of bird biographies enhanced by his authentic descriptions of pioneer American life.

    Audubon’s story is an artist’s story but also a moving love story. In his day, communications by letter across the ocean were so slow and uncertain that John James and his wife, Lucy, almost lost each other in the three years when the Atlantic separated themuntil he crossed the Atlantic and half the American continent to claim her. Their letters during this time are intimate, moving, and painful, and they attest to an enduring love.

    We examine Audubon’s legacy of inspired observation–the sonorities of a wilderness now lost, the brash life of a new nation just inventing itself–precisely, truthfully, lyrically captured. And we see Audubon in the fullness of his years, made rich by his magnificent work, winning public honor: embraced by writers and scientists, fêted by presidents and royalty.

    Here is a revelation of Audubon as the major American artist he is. And here he emerges for the first time in his full humanity–handsome, charming, volatile, ambitious, loving, canny, immensely energetic. Richard Rhodes has given us an indispensable portrait of a true American icon. - Publisher Marketing
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
    Updated 9.22.04
  • Watching Birds: Reflections on the Wing
    by Taylor, Ann
    Publisher: McGraw-Hill Book Company ISBN: 0-07-134866-2 $ 19.95
    star Booklist
    Taylor chronicles her fascinating life as a curious and devoted amateur bird-watcher and nature-lover who has traveled the world in pursuit of her passion.
    Suggested Reading: Nature
  • On the Wing: To the Edge of the Earth With the Peregrine Falcon
    Author: Tennant, Alan
    Publisher: Knopf $ 25 ISBN: 0375415513 Date: 2004
    star Bookliststar LJ
    In this extraordinary narrative, a passionate observer of nature recounts his all-out effort to radio-track the transcontinental migration of the peregrine falcon--an investigation no one before him had ever taken to such lengths.
    Suggested Reading: Nature | Adult Books for Teens
    Updated 9.20.04
  • The Condor's Shadow: The Loss and Recovery of Wildlife in America
    by Wilcove, David S.
    Publisher: Freeman ISBN: 0716731150 $ 24.95
    star PW star LJ
    A comprehensive overview of where we stand today ecologically and how we got there, Condor's Shadow describes how nature has responded to the forces human beings have unleashed upon it.
    Suggested Reading: Nature

Seeing Stars

Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW.

2012 Lists

more stars lists...

Hotlists@ Google Docs

Crime Fiction... 2012 | 2011

Fiction... 2012 | 2011

(lists of new and notable books - lists are sortable and can be downloaded)


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