Great Plains Natural Science Society


The Prairie Naturalist

Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist 39(2): June 2007, pp 113-114


Copyright © 2007 The Great Plains Natural Science Society


Fifty Common Birds of the Upper Midwest. Watercolors by Dana Gardner; text by Nancy Overcott. 2006. University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, Iowa. 106 pages. $34.95 (cloth).

What's the best way to interest a friend in bird watching? Buy them a field guide, a CD of bird songs, or take them out bird watching? All of these ideas might work, but another approach is to tell personal stories and draw pictures of common birds in yards, parks, and natural areas where they live; help them "get to know their neighbors with feathers." That's exactly what Dana Gardner and Nancy Overcott did in their recent book about common birds of the Upper Midwestern United States. The authors' decision to focus on common birds will be appealing to people who feed or watch birds casually; they will likely be familiar with some of these birds. The book is a self-described set of stories and paintings about birds; the authors express their hope in the introduction that these stories will "inspire interest in habitat preservation."