Nature Books As Christmas Gifts

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go.” I have visited three local book stores to see what is available. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Tee, hee, hee.

I’m only visiting local Chautauqua County book stores. It’s the least that I can do for our economy. First, Jamestown Audubon book store. It has the biggest selection of bird books.

Besides the Audubon Field Guides and Peterson guides, you travelers should check out “Birds of Britain and Europe” by Peterson, Mounfort and Hollom. In the “Field Guide for Young Naturalists” series is “Birds of Prey” by Jonathan P. Latimer. These birds always seem to be a favorite of all ages. A group of books by Donald and Lillian Stokes include one on feeders, bird gardening, purple martins and bluebirds.

At the top of my personal collection is “The Crossley ID Guide, Eastern Guide.” Crossley doesn’t provide drawings, but photographs and charts including the largest swimming waterbirds to the smallest, upland gamebirds, raptors, larger and aerial landbirds, and songbirds. Following these, for each species, is one page showing closeups, views of their being farther away, and flying up close and farther away. My only problem with this volume is its size. I can’t put it in my pocket. That’s a very small complaint.

More books include “What’s that Bird? – Getting to Know the Birds around you, Coast to Coast” by Joseph Chaoiniers and Claire Golding, a field guide by Ken and Kimberly Kaufman, and “Birds of Field & Shore” by John Eastman.

Owl lovers will like “Owls of the North,” by David Benson and “Owls of North America” by David Allen Sibley. Books for children include “Baby Owl’s Rescue,” by Jennifer Keats Curtis, “Birds of Prey” by Jonathan P. Latimer, “Waterfowl Coloring Book,” and “For the Birds, the Life of Roger Tory Peterson,” by Peggy Thomas. There are books by Laurence Pringle. “Glitter tattoos of flowers and birds” would make great stocking stuffers.

There are squirrel baffles for the feeders, and all different sizes of bird houses. Last, but not least, is a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of a great horned owl. It makes me think of Smith Library in Chautauqua, where one table is dedicated to a puzzle during the winter. Maybe one of the winter people over there would donate that puzzle to the library.

How’s that for variety. Bravo, Pat Spicer, for this fabulous selection of books.

When I visited the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, I hit the jackpot. Tina Scherman, a longtime birding friend who just happens to work at the welcoming desk, gave me a tour of the book store. She stocks books of the many wonderful guest birding authors who visit them and give talks. Julie Zickefoose, a frequent guest of the Bird and Garden Club at Chautauqua Institution, has two books there. “Letters from Eden” is a diary-like book of the wildlife, especially bird, on her property in Ohio. Her newest book is “The Bluebird Effect.” Another visiting author was Robert Bateman whose book of art included an introduction by Roger Tory Peterson.

A great book for toddlers, or any folks, is Carl Sams “Babies of the Wild.” There are very few words, just fabulous photographs.

Finally, for Chautauqua Institution. This terrific book store carries different books from the other stores. There is Norman Wolfe’s “Birding in Central and Western New York,” David Sibley’s “Birding Basics,” Chris Santella’s “Fifty Places to Go Birding Before you Die,” Graeme Gibson’s “The Bedside Book of Birds,” National Geographic’s Guide to Birding Hot Spots,” Tikcelo’s “Birds of Pennsylvania, Stephen R. Swinburne’s “Swallows in the Birdhouse” and Sarah Orne Jewett’s “A White Heron” for children. The “2014 Engagement Planner of the Lang Songbirds” is very timely.

Don’t worry about fees to get on the grounds. It is free during this off season. Also, you can drive your car right down to the store, off of Bestor Plaza, and park right there. How’s that for easy?

I give you special wishes for a memorable holiday season. If you show your relatives and friends this article, maybe you’ll receive a nature book under the tree.