This Little Book is Big on Birds

Carmichael, CA  |  Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner
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American River Natural History Association recently launched “150 Frequently Seen Birds of California’s Great Valley.” Authors and photographers include Molly Keller, Kari Bauer, James Scott, Peggy Kennedy, Guy Galante, Ed Harper, Bob McLeary and Rich Howard.

Carmichael, CA (MPG) - Quail not if you don’t know a goose from a grebe. The American River Natural History Association's new bird guide flies to the aid of people who love birds but can’t always name them. Launched in time for Christmas gift-buying -- and small enough for a stocking or pocket – “150 Frequently Seen Birds of California's Great Valley” identifies species common to our local wildernesses, suburbs or riversides.

Non-profit ARHNA called upon seven wildlife photographers to donate more than 300 snaps. Molly Keller and Peggy Keller did research and writing. Each of the featured birds gets a double-page picture spread a description of its plumage, habitat and habits.

The spiral-bound guide is recommended as a companion for birders of any age or expertise. While most people can all spot a common sparrow, few could name the seven (or more) sparrow species flitting around our yards and parks. In the book’s close studies, they’re all different and uncommonly beautiful. It’s also fascinating the see nocturnal birds and their babies beautifully detailed by dedicated photographers who go to work when most mortals are in bed.

Carmichael naturalist Guy Galante (also known for decades-long observation of American River Parkway coyotes) contributed more than avian 30 studies for the tome. “Birds are the newspaper of the natural world,” he told supporters at the book launch. “They tell you what’s happening in the environment. I’m really grateful for what I’ve learned from them.”

To purchase the $14.95 book, duck into the Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Ancil Hoffman Park. Or visit  Sales support ARHNA and the Nature Center.