Tuesday 24 October 2023

Getting to Know the Birds in Your Neighborhood by Darryl Jones (New South Head) PB RRP $34.99 ISBN9781742238050

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Although written most likely for an adult market, this comprehensive and accessible book is ideal for young readers who are curious about birds they see in their garden, school, and local district. It’s easy to understand and packed full of information about urban birds, and offers suggestions on how to enjoy, protect, and encourage birds into your area.

A university professor of ecology, Jones obviously is interested in the way people and birds interact and has written three other books about urban birds.

This book is so well designed! It shows the family to which each bird belongs, its common name, its scientific name, its distribution, its home and active zone, its food, and, most importantly, how to identify it. Each page shows a clear photograph of the bird (sometimes of both male and female, if they are differently coloured), a written description to also help with identification, similar species, the bird’s ecology, its breeding, and how (and if) it interacts with people.

The reader can also get some idea of its size in a ‘table’ of sizes, and there’s a map of Australia showing its distribution. There is also at the foot of the page, a ‘Did you know?’ fact. Under the page about the Silver Gull (which everyone on the coast is familiar with), is written the following: ‘Unlike most animals, gulls can drink sea water safely. They have evolved special glands above their eyes which extract the salt and flush it out through their nostrils.’ There’s also a table showing food which it eats, and where it’s active.

In the back of the book there’s a comprehensive index with both common and Latin names of birds. Also of interest is a list of other field guides, and websites. Of particular interest to those who are enthusiastic about birds, Jones has included ways in which birders can encourage different species to their local environment, from planting to feeding (though he urges people to not overfeed birds, and to never feed them mince).

One of the best features is the book works just as well in Cairns, Perth and Hobart, as it does in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Buzz Words Books would love to hear what you think.