Into the Nest: Intimate Views of the Courting, Parenting, and Family Lives of Familiar Birds

By laura Erickson & Marie Read | Oriolus Forläg | Paperback | April 2015 | I 208 Pages | Colour Photographs | ISBN: 9781612122298

The Publisher’s View: The intimate lives of familiar birds as never before seen! Spectacular, stunning, and beautiful close-up photography documents the family lives of more than 30 birds, from the first song of the courting male to the first flight of the fledglings. You’ll find images of the male and female, nest construction, the eggs, the parents on the nest, nestlings, feeding time, fledglings taking their first leap, and more. The featured birds include songbirds, urban birds such as raptors and pigeons, water birds, and owls, all of them common to North America.


From grand flight displays to the quiet pipping of an egg, this intimately photographed book offers a rare glimpse into the breeding and nesting cycles of birds, including the fascinating details of courtship, mating, and parenting that are so often hidden from view. With the support of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, authors Laura Erickson and Marie Read bring the diverse personal lives of raptors and hummingbirds, woodpeckers and wrens, into stunning focus.

The Authors: Laura Erickson is the author of seven bird books, including Storey’s The Bird Watching Answer Book. She has served as an editor of Bird Scope magazine and a columnist and contributing editor for Birdwatching magazine and she contributed editorial content for the All About Birds website. She also writes and produces a daily radio segment about birds. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota. Marie (pronounced ‘Maury’) Read’s photographs and articles have been featured in numerous magazines, including National Geographic, Bird Watching, Birds & Blooms, and Bird Watcher’s Digest. Marie previously worked at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as photo/illustrations editor for the Home Study Course in Bird Biology, and later as photo editor/content developer for the All About Birds website. She lives in Freeville, New York.

Fatbirder View: I have to say I found the first 25 pages of this book of most interest… as it gives an overview of the pairing, mating, nesting and parenting of North American birds with some fascinating facts. What follows are some examples of other species. This is clearly specific to the North American market, which is OK but misses the opportunity to look at some of the strangest behaviour from species in the tropics, Australasia and so forth. I also find it odd that it looks at some individual species and at some parts of some families… I guess I would expect either all species covered or all families represented by just one example. I assume that the format was chosen to allow for large photos and I can understand that but it is an awkward shape for the shelves, especially as it becomes a rather floppy tome in paperback.

Nevertheless, there is much to admire and recommend. The layout is ‘clean’ and fresh with very many truly excellent photos, especially the portraits of the adult birds. I’m less keen on the nestlings, which are all rather similar and less appealing in their featherless and blind state. The text is also crisp and simple while being jammed packed with facts, no mean achievement. While there will be much to be learned from the pages the book still looks more designed for the top of a coffee table rather than a place among the field guides on a birders bookshelves.

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