Newly Noted Books

Creatures of the City

Creatures of the City

From domestic livestock to the exotic subjects of popular entertainment and amusement to the “wee beasties” that cohabited with and plagued its human residents, London teemed with a variety of life.

Recent Natural History Book Reviews

The New Stokes Field Guides to Birds

The New Stokes Field Guides to Birds

When it comes to American bird watching, few names are better known or more widely respected than those of Donald and Lillian Stokes. For decades the couple have worked together to write and publish more than thirty books on bird watching and nature study – many specifically directed toward the beginner and backyard segments of the bird watching community. Indeed, the Stokes have achieved such a level of renown from their dedication to producing helpful books and other bird watching related items popular with the widest swath of the North American bird watching population that they are some of the few people ever to have had a widely viewed bird watching series broadcast on American television. Keep reading…

Marginalia

Daniel Duzdevich on His Modernized “Origin”

Daniel Duzdevich on His Modernized “Origin”

No one, other than perhaps a specialist in the literature of the period, who has read Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection would likely ever say that its rich Victorian English prose was “an easy read.” However few would ever think to revise it into a more present-day form(…)

Born Again Bird Watcher

Downloading for Improved Mental Health

Downloading for Improved Mental Health

Ordinarily, one of my favorite passive activities during the day involves listening to National Public Radio programming. From Morning Edition to All Things Considered, I formerly enjoyed keeping up to date on what was happening around the world. However with the state of the economy continuing to exhibit a negative atmospheric pressure in a vacuum (i.e., it sucks), and war, pestilence, and politicians continuing to run amok the world over, I have recently frequently chosen to turn off the radio (please don’t misunderstand; I continue to be an ardent supporter of public broadcasting in its many formats; they just don’t have a very nice world to tell us about right now, that’s all) and tap into the more emotionally and psychologically edifying topics to be found in the world of podcasting. Keep reading…

Tools for Naturalists

The Wingscapes AutoFeeder

The Wingscapes AutoFeeder

When I first learned of the Wingscapes AutoFeeder, I’ll admit – I was a bit skeptical. After all, I’d fed birds in my back garden for years using traditional feeders and, aside from having to refill them a bit too often when the winter irruptions of Pine Siskins came through and cleaning the gunk out of the bottom of the seed chamber when the rains beat down heavy enough for water to get into them, they worked as well as I would have expected. So what possible benefits could a time-based dispensing feeder give me? As it turns out, quite a lot of them actually. Keep reading…

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Unnatural(ist) Interests

A Better Way to Honor U.S. Presidents

Back when I was a schoolboy, we took a bit of time each February to remember the lives and deeds of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. That was the idea, at least; most of what we came away with however was little more than myth and triviality. Washington was scrupulously honest and had a youthful penchant for amateur small-scale logging; Lincoln wore an unusually tall hat and had a beard (I seem to recall something about slavery being mentioned as well). Keep reading…

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