Sibley’s Birding Basics

Terrific primer for beginners and enthusiasts alike. Covers everything from vocalization of birds (go out and listen, if you don’t recognize a call at least you’ll know where the bird is), monitoring behavior (a bird that sits for a few minutes is not likely to be a warbler), basics like keeping records of birds seen where and when, and a helpful section on feathers. Strange to say, I’d not really considered the wonder of feathers until reading that chapter. These lightweight feathers are what provide the mechanism to allow birds to fly, using muscles at the base of the feathers. They can puff up the feathers to provide a layer of insulation, or sleek them down, at will. Is this a good time to mention/brag that I saw the much anticipated grey catbird and black-and-white warbler in the botanical garden on Sunday (amongst 50+ other species).