Birding Book Club: Best of 2020
December 10, 2020
It’s finally December of 2020, the month of annual superlatives. It was a pretty interesting year for bird books and we convene the Birding Book Club crew to talk about them. 10,000 Birds book review columnist Donna Schulman and Birding media review editor Frank Izaguirre join host Nate Swick to run down our favorites for 2020, including new field guides, books on bird behavior, and lots of fantastic narrative prose in both memoire and essay form.
Thanks to our friends at Buteo Books for sponsoring this episode!
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Nate’s Top 5
1) Peterson Reference Guide to Bird Behavior – John Kricher
2) Birdsong for the Curious Naturalist – Donald Kroodsma
3) ABA Field Guide to Birds of Hawaii – Helen & André Raine
4) Peterson Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 2nd ed – R.T. Peterson, et al
5) All the Birds of the World – Josep del Hoyo
Donna’s Top 5
1) The Bird Way – Jennifer Ackerman
2) Birds of Paradise and Bowerbirds – Philip Gregory & Richard Allen
3) All the Birds of the World – Josep del Hoyo
4) Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern & Central North America, 7th ed/Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America, 5th ed – R.T. Peterson, et al
5) When Birds are Near: Dispatches from Contemporary Writers – Susan Fox Rogers, editor
Frank’s Top 5
1) Vesper Flights – Helen McDonald
2) All the Birds of the World – Josep del Hoyo
3) Owls of the Eastern Ice – Jonathan Slaght
4) Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America, 2nd ed – R.T. Peterson, et al
5) Field Notes From an Unintentional Birder – Julia Zarankin
The American Birding Podcast brings together staff and friends of the American Birding Association as we talk about birds, birding, travel and conservation in North America and beyond.
Join host Nate Swick every other Thursday for news and happenings, recent rarities, guests from around the birding world, and features of interest to every birder.
I look forward to this episode every year, when my eBird species counts drop from upper thirties to eight, and I’m feeling a little glum. Donna and Nate are great enough, but Frank’s picks are excellent–I urge you all to check out Jonathan Slaght’s book. We edited his first book and he is a great naturalist and travel-adventure writer in the best sense of the word. And he loves his owls. :) Well worth a follow on social media. Love Jennifer Ackerman’s book, and she’s not a bad reader for those of you who travel to bird and like audio… Read more »
Thanks so much, Nancy! What is Slaght’s first book you are referring to, his translation of Across the Ussuri Kray? I recently got that and look forward to reading.
Thank you, Frank! Yes, Across the Ussuri Kray! I may be biased because we’re both owl people and Jonathan is great–and works for the WCS!–but I really like that book as well. It’s an interesting history, of course, but I also love to read about truly wild places, and getting lost with the wild things in bad weather, swamps, and thick underbrush. Especially when work keeps me from doing so myself. I hope you enjoy and thanks so much for your wonderful picks and reviews.