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Birdwatching Guides

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  1. 5.0 hrs • 6/16/2015 • Unabridged

    The predecessor to Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk, T. H. White’s nature-writing classic, The Goshawk, asks the age-old question: What is it that binds human beings to other animals? White, author of The Once and Future King and Mistress Masham’s Repose, was a young writer who found himself rifling through old handbooks of falconry. A particular sentence—“the bird reverted to a feral state”—seized his imagination, and, White later wrote, “A longing came to my mind that I should be able to do this myself. The word ‘feral’ has a kind of magical potency which allied itself to two other words, ‘ferocious’ and ‘free.’” Immediately White wrote to Germany to acquire a young goshawk. Gos, as White named the bird, was ferocious and Gos was free, and White had no idea how to break him in beyond the ancient (and, as it happened, long superseded) practice of depriving him of sleep, which meant that he, White, also went without rest. Slowly man and bird entered a state of delirium and intoxication, of attraction and repulsion that looks very much like love. White kept a daybook describing his volatile relationship with Gos—at once a tale of obsession, a comedy of errors, and a hymn to the hawk. It was this that became The Goshawk, one of modern literature’s most memorable and surprising encounters with the wilderness—as it exists both within us and without.

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    The Goshawk by T. H. White

    The Goshawk

    5.0 hrs • 6/16/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 3 reviews 0 5 4.4 4 out of 5 stars 4.4/5 (3)
    11.1 hrs • 3/3/2015 • Unabridged

    When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer captivated by hawks since childhood, she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators: the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral anger mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T. H. White’s chronicle The Goshawk to begin her journey into Mabel’s world. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement, a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, and the story of an eccentric falconer and legendary writer. Weaving together obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history, H Is for Hawk is a distinctive, surprising blend of nature writing and memoir from a very gifted writer.

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    H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

    H Is for Hawk

    11.1 hrs • 3/3/15 • Unabridged
    3 reviews 0 5 4.4 4 out of 5 stars 4.4/5 (3)
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  3. 7.4 hrs • 12/12/2014 • Unabridged

    William Henry Hudson was a founding member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Though born in Argentina, Hudson came to England in 1874, where he remained until his death in 1922. Absorbed by nature, and in particular by the lives and activities of birds, his acute observations on wildlife led to a series of charming books which helped establish the pastime of bird watching. Birds in Town and Village is one of his classics—a truly engaging rumination on birds as he watched them go about their daily lives.

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    Birds in Town and Village

    7.4 hrs • 12/12/14 • Unabridged
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  4. 4.8 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Unabridged

    Simon Barnes is one of Britain’s leading bird writers and humorists. His weekly column in the Times, his essays for the RSPB magazine, and his two books on bad bird-watching have made him one of the characters of the bird world. In A Bad Birdwatcher’s Companion, Barnes reads his own illuminating introductions to the fifty main birds of Britain, supported by the distinguishing bird song of each species. He not only gives helpful identifying features, but enriches them with whimsical observations on their characters and tendencies. This delightful text is superbly presented by the author himself.

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    A Bad Birdwatcher’s Companion

    4.8 hrs • 8/21/14 • Unabridged
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  5. 10.7 hrs • 2/12/2014 • Unabridged

    More than any other writer, Gilbert White helped shape the relationship between man and nature. A hundred years before Darwin, White realized the crucial role of worms in the formation of soil and understood the significance of territory and song in birds. His precise, scrupulously honest, and unaffectedly witty observations led him to interpret animals’ behavior in a unique manner. This collection of his letters to the explorer and naturalist Daines Barrington and the eminent zoologist Thomas Pennant—White’s intellectual lifelines from his country-village home—are a beautifully written, detailed evocation of the lives of the flora and fauna of eighteenth-century England.

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    Natural History of Selborne

    10.7 hrs • 2/12/14 • Unabridged
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  6. 3.4 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Abridged

    The Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs: Eastern Region offers you the very best sound recordings available for the birds of eastern North America. It includes more species (nearly four hundred), more time per species, and more sounds per species than any other audio guide to Eastern bird songs. This is a marvelous companion to the book The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America and the audiobook The Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs: Western Region.

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  7. 8.3 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    For the first time ever, Eastern and Western Bird Song audio guides from the famed team of Donald and Lillian Stokes will be available in one comprehensive box set with new premium packaging. An incredible nine hundred twenty-three species from all of North America are included in this marvelous audio companion to the bestselling Stokes Field Guides.

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  8. 8.2 hrs • 6/5/2012 • Unabridged

    New research indicates that crows are among the brightest animals in the world. And professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington John Marzluff has done some of the most extraordinary research on crows, which has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic, and the Chicago Tribune, as well as on NPR and PBS. Now he teams up with artist and fellow naturalist Tony Angell to offer an in-depth look at these incredible creatures—in a book that is brimming with surprises. Redefining the notion of “bird brain,” crows and ravens are often called feathered apes because of their clever tool-making and their ability to respond to environmental challenges, including those posed by humans. Indeed, their long lives, social habits, and large complex brains allow them to observe and learn from us and our social gatherings. Their marvelous brains allow crows to think, plan, and reconsider their actions. In these and other enthralling revelations, Marzluff and Angell portray creatures that are nothing short of amazing: they play, bestow gifts on people who help or feed them, use cars as nutcrackers, seek revenge on animals that harass them, are tricksters that lure birds to their deaths, and dream. The authors marvel at crows’ behavior that we humans would find strangely familiar, from delinquency and risk taking to passion and frolic. A testament to years of painstaking research, this riveting work is a thrilling look at one of nature’s most wondrous creatures.

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    Gifts of the Crow

    8.2 hrs • 6/5/12 • Unabridged
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  9. 1.0 hrs • 6/1/2010 • Unabridged

    Are birds monogamous? Why do kookaburras laugh? Is the ivory-billed woodpecker really extinct? These fascinating stories feature the delightful and exotic sounds of birds, plus astute and informative commentary from bird lovers, bird experts, and sometimes birds themselves. Learn how naturalist F. Schuyler Matthews translated bird song into musical notes. Discover how the city of Chicago has drawn purple martins back to Lake Michigan, their historic habitat. Find out everything you want to know about the lyrebird’s glorious tail. If you’re a bird lover, this is for you. The NPR Sound Treks series brings the outdoors to life with outstanding audio documentaries, stories, and commentary from the NPR archives. Each volume features sounds from nature, insights from experts and others who love the outdoor experience (naturalists, zoologists, biologists, adventurers, even a cowgirl), and vivid storytelling that captures the excitement of the wilderness.

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    NPR Sound Treks: Birds

    Produced by NPR
    Hosted by Jon Hamilton
    1.0 hrs • 6/1/10 • Unabridged
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  10. 5.6 hrs • 9/1/2004 • Abridged

    In this extraordinary narrative, Alan Tennant 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. On the Wing transports us from the windswept flats of the Texas barrier islands—where the tundra falcons pause during their springtime journey north—to the Arctic, and then south, through Mexico, Belize, and into the Caribbean, in a hilariously picaresque and bumpy flight. At the helm is Tennant's partner in falcon-chasing, George Vose, a septuagenarian World War II vet who trusts his instincts as much as his instruments. As the two men nearly lose their lives and run afoul of the law in the race to keep their birds in view and their rattletrap Cessna gassed up and running, Tennant renders with gorgeous precision and skill the landscape and wildlife they pass on the way and the falcons that direct their course. On the Wing is a breathtaking encounter with these majestic birds—the icons of pharaohs, Oriental emperors, and European nobility—whose fierce mien, power, and swiftness have fired the human imagination for centuries. This is an unforgettable tale that speaks to all our dreams of flight.

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    On the Wing

    5.6 hrs • 9/1/04 • Abridged
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  11. 6.2 hrs • 2/3/2004 • Abridged

    A classic in the making—an account of the biggest year in bird-watching history. In the USA, some 50 million people lay claim to being bird-watchers or “birders,” spending billions of dollars on birding-related travel and membership fees every year. A select, and utterly obsessed, few compete in one of the world’s quirkiest contests—the race to spot the most species in North America in a single year. And 1998 wasn’t just a big year. It was the biggest. The Big Year is Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Obmascik’s account of what was to become the greatest birding year of all time. It was freak weather conditions that ensured all previous records were broken, but what becomes clear within the pages of this classic portrait of obsession is that while our feathered friends may be the objective of the Big Year competition, it’s the curious activities and behavioral patterns of the pursuing “homo sapiens” that are the real cause for concern. It is a contest that reveals much of the human character in extremes. Such are the author’s powers of observation that he brilliantly brings to life and gets under the skin of these extraordinary, eccentric, and obsessive birders while empathizing with and eventually succumbing to the all-consuming nature of their obsession. The result is a wonderfully funny, acutely observed classic to rank alongside the best of Bill Bryson.

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    The Big Year

    6.2 hrs • 2/3/04 • Abridged
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  12. 9.8 hrs • 10/15/2003 • Unabridged

    Every January 1, a quirky crowd storms out across North America for a spectacularly competitive event called a Big Year—a grand, expensive, and occasionally vicious 365-day marathon of birdwatching. For three men in particular, 1998 would become a grueling battle for a new North American birding record. Bouncing from coast to coast on frenetic pilgrimages for once-in-a-lifetime rarities, they brave broiling deserts, bug-infested swamps, and some of the lumpiest motel mattresses known to man. This unprecedented year of beat-the-clock adventures ultimately leads one man to a record so gigantic that it is unlikely ever to be bested. Here, prizewinning journalist Mark Obmascik creates a dazzling, fun narrative of the 275,000-mile odyssey of these three obsessives as they fight to win the greatest—or maybe worst—birding contest of all time.

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    The Big Year

    9.8 hrs • 10/15/03 • Unabridged
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