and all other colors for that matter. We recently purchased the book, Good Birders Don’t Wear White: 50 Tips From North America’s Top Birders. This book is an quick read and fun for birders of all levels of expertise. It includes 50 short stories from a wide range of birders – photographers, nature writers, tour operators, artists, conservationists, teachers, and students.
Birdfreak and Veery decided to review this book, not so much as to convince you to purchase it (we have no affiliation with anyone in the book), but to talk about some of the issues and non-issues that make us all who we are – birders.
The title stems from an article I read a while back in another publication (and which is in this book). Without giving it away completely, a particular incident involving a birder wearing a white shirt was affecting a rare nesting bird. This led to the idea that white is not a color you should wear when out birding. This may be correct with isolated situations but there are many more in which colors don’t matter. How many birders drive white cars? Kenn Kaufman follows this with somewhat of a rebuttal, saying there are many situations where your birding outfit makes no difference.
I’ve heard a lot of the other tips in the book before but many of the writers are excellent story-tellers so re-reading is not a problem. The book remained fun, although was a bit simplistic and short. I definitely enjoyed the chapters about conservation, as it is important to always make a point to tell people how important conservation is to help our birds. And for some reason, this is a topic that is often under-covered. Too many people want to give you tips on when, where, and how to bird, but not why we should be conservation-minded.
One article that stuck out immediately for me was written by Noah Strycker, self-proclaimed “Bird Boy”. His article was about using the iPod as a birding tool, something I’ve been doing for quite some time now. The funny part though was in the title, where he used the term iBirder. I had never heard anyone use this term before but when I bought the domain “birdfreak.com” I also purchased “ibirder.com”. I have yet to do what I originally wanted with this domain but there are projects in the works. I believe that technology like iPods will help link younger birders (like myself) and veteran birders together. Technology will continue to play a huge role in how we bird in the future.
Overall I would say this book is a good read and one that should be passed around to family, friends, and maybe the neighbor kids. Any book that has articles from Pete Dunne, David Sibley, and Kenn Kaufman should always be read!
8 feathers out of 10
One of the best things about this book is the wide variety of birders who contributed to it. Any birder can appreciate the stories and many of us can relate to them. Did you know that to save birds you are not required to tie yourself to a tree? Conservation does not require one extreme or another, and anyone can be a proactive conservationist, as Paul J. Baicich describes in his article Be a Proactive Conservationist. He includes some of the modest things we can actually do that helps the environment for birds. Now Buy that Duck Stamp!
Another article, called Go Birding With Kids by Alicia Craig, gives the ultimate reason why we should take kids out birding; if at least one child turns into a birder, it is worth the extra effort. We really believe in this!
I think everyone who is remotely interested in birds should read this book. It provides good, common sense combined with some humor and genuinely good advice, no matter what your skill level is.
8 1/2 feathers out of 10
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