Great Plains Natural Science Society


The Prairie Naturalist

Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist • 51(2): December 2019, p 82


Copyright © 2019 The Great Plains Natural Science Society


Biologists who live in the Great Plains of North America know well the general aspersion cast toward our regional home by those unfamiliar with the region and its natural treasures. Larkin Powell alludes to this all-too-common aspersion and diplomatically dispels it in his ornithological showcase of the Great Plains, simply titled Great Plains Birds. The book is a nice, quick read and a well-composed profile of the region’s avian biogeographical history, its disruptions, conservation remedies, examples of basic bird biology, and tips on how to enjoy the bird life on display in this dynamic region. Having been an ornithologist and birder in the greater Great Plains region for many years, upon receiving the book, I was mildly interested in the title, thinking of what the work might offer to birders from afar visiting the Great Plains, and perhaps other outdoor enthusiasts. I was pleased to find that Powell does a fine job of catching and maintaining interest (even for my old bird brain) with his light-hearted prose and personal reflections on becoming enchanted with birds of the midcontinent. I expect his approach to be accessible by youngsters (importantly!), layman naturalists, and bird fanciers among the general public, and the book should maintain the interest of diehard birders. For the few of us academic and conservation professionals who digest bird science, it was nice to see profiles of research by fellow ornithologists in the region presented in a popular literature-style format outside of peer-reviewed scientific journals.