As one who has travelled widely around the world, I have in the course of my journeys discovered many places that I found beautiful, fascinating, relaxing, or pure and simply enjoyable; however of all the corners of the globe into which my adventures have taken me, none has lodged itself in my heart the way that the Canadian province of British Columbia has. Having visited both its countryside as well as its cities and towns more times than I can recall, each and every trip there merely makes me that much more eager to return the next time.
Of course, while my British Columbian excursions have been variously for family vacations as well as for business, each one has always included at least a bit of bird watching. Being the most amenable of all my natural history passions to every form of travel, so long as I have an optic somewhere about my person (which I generally do), I have been able to observe the feathered fauna of the seacoasts, the cities, and the mountain passes with ease; however I have not yet made a dedicated expedition whilst there solely for the purpose of watching birds. When I do, however, I’ll be sure to thoroughly plan my trip with they guidance to be found in Russell and Richard Cannings’ new Best Places to Bird in British Columbia from Greystone Books.
The Cannings’ – father and son – provide the interested bird watcher with all the information necessary to locate the very best bird watching spots the province has to offer. Beginning with the admittedly tricky-to-reach Triangle Island and ending with the northwestern most location in the province, the Haines Triangle, the Cannings’ point out thirty of what they have found to be the premiere locations in which to see the fascinating variety of birds to be found in the province.
Far from being one of the all-too-common “great places to see birds but to which no reasonable person would ever otherwise willingly go and certainly not to which you’ll ever be able to convince the spouse and offspring to accompany you” sort of guidebooks that litter the birding lit shelves, Best Places to Bird in British Columbia includes details about many of its featured locations’ respective histories as well as information about what birds are potentially to be seen there and how to find the spots where one is most likely to see them. As such, it could as easily be used as an “interesting places to visit” as well as “best places to bird” in British Columbia.
However birding is what the Cannings’ book is about and birding is where the central focus of each chapter is fixed. Each chapter is both very well-written (a refreshing quality indeed for this genre of book) and neatly organized so that that those seeking information can locate it quickly and refer back to it with ease. Maps are plentiful and clear in their depictions of the respective areas, and the tips are concise and useful. No “recipes” for locating birds here (thank heavens!); casual but effective directions to promising spots are the order of the day – or more appropriately, page.
Indeed, giving the entire book a complete read from beginning to end is highly recommended, for in doing so the reader will very likely discover a number of locations wholly outside of her or his experience into which further investigation then will become desirable. Were it for this quality alone – engaging readability – Best Places to Bird in British Columbia would be commendable and worthy of note to those interested in exploring the area. However when added to the rich body of information about where to reasonably search for a generous selection of the area’s birdlife, the quality of the Cannings’ writing is indeed a welcome addition to the book, and makes me that much more enthusiastic to recommend it.
Authors: Russell Cannings and Richard Cannings
Publisher: Greystone Books
Pages: 224 pp.
Published: April 2017
In accordance with Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR Part 255, it is disclosed that the copy of the book read in order to produce this review was provided gratis to the reviewer by the publisher.