Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



R.G. Cortelyou, "Book Reviews," from Nebraska Bird Review (September 1982) 50(3).


Copyright 1982, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


A Twitcher's Diary. The Birdwatching Year of Richard Millington, Richard Millington, 192 pp., 6½ x 9½, Blandford Press, England, Sterling Publishing Co. Inc, New York. Hardbound, indexed, $24.95.

Twitching is the British term for listing, but Mr. Millington is more than just a lister. He made five visits to get "crippling views" of a Scops Owl, which had been heard and poorly seen on previous attempts. Of course, he is a bird artist (a good one) and a "crippling view" of the Owl is one of the over 200 drawings in the book, including 14in color. The text is in the form of a diary of his bird watching days - what he saw and didn't see, often weather comments, descriptions of the more unusual birds as he saw them, and where he was (a map of Great Britain, with places mentioned, marked, is included). The diary is interesting reading, but sometimes confusing because of differences in common names, and sometimes bewildering because of twitchers' jargon. A normal entry has him someplace, looking for an unusual or rare bird, but doesn't tell how he knew about it, although it is evident he is in on a birdwatcher's network. Good pictures, interesting reading, and fun to learn (or try to figure out) how the natives do it.

Birds in the Garden, Mike Mockler, 160 pp., 7½ x 10, Blandford Press, England, Sterling Publishing Co, Inc., New York. Hardbound, indexed, $19.95. This is essentially a treatise on ornithology - the chapter headings are: Day and Night; Courtship and Nesting; Eggs and Young Birds; Seasonal Variations; Death, Danger and Protection; Identifying the Birds - with specific application to the birds found in a British garden. The book has many color photographs, almost half by the author. The basic scientific part is universal, but the examples, and the illustrations (both verbal and pictoral), are of birds to be found in a British garden. So it should be of interest to someone who wants to learn about the hows, whats, and whys of bird life, or in information about and pictures of foreign (to an American) birds.

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book, Lisa Bonoforte, 8¼ x 11, Dover Publications, Inc. New York. Paperbound, $2.25.

This book contains 46 line drawings (four with two species each), with small-size (1.5 inches or more) colored models for the pictures on the cover. A child who is old enough to stay within lines of these moderately intricate pictures, but not too old to think coloring was beneath him, will learn the markings of these birds while completing the book.

Orion Nature Quarterly, 136 East 64th St., New York, N.Y. 10021. 8½ x 11, $3.00 per issue, $10.00 per year

This magazine expects to find its niche by dealing with "a broad philosophy of nature". The first issue (Summer 1982) contains three articles (Man's Search for a Self, Our Unnatural Cities, and Beyond Kindness: Animals and Moral Theory) on 20 pages, a regular column, "The Niche of a Naturalist", on 4 more, 28 pages of book reviews (14 adult books, 7books for children), and a 2 page experience in the Canadian wilds. Time will tell if this general mixture will hold true in the future. There are numerous illustrations.