Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Captivating Bluebirds - A Book Review

The bluebird carries the sky on his back.
Henry David Thoreau ~ 1852

Romie and I saw our first bluebird last spring. We were working in the garden, near an ornamental birdhouse, and I saw a flash of brilliant blue out of the corner of my eye. I looked up and saw the bluebird perched atop the birdhouse. I whispered to Romie, "Look!"

We stood for a moment, in awe of the beauty of this rufous-chested bird and we knew we were in the presence of something special. Neither of us had ever seen one before. It took a look into the small hole of the birdhouse, and then it flew away.

The very next day, we bought a bluebird house and mounted it on the back side of a tall shagbark hickory at just about eye level, hoping the bluebird would return and make its home there. It didn't, but a small wren decided it was just right.

From this point on, we both were fascinated with bluebirds, which recently led me to discover a great new book about them. Captivating Bluebirds: Exceptional Images and Observations is written by Stan Tekiela. It's a treasure of a book, chock full of just about anything you'd want to know about bluebirds and amazing intimate photos of them.

We were familiar with Stan's work because we turn to his Birds of Ohio field guide time and time again to identify the various birds that visit the feeders and gardens at Our Little Acre. Just last night we looked up the Belted Kingfisher because we were sure we had seen one down by the creek that runs near our house. Stan's information confirmed it for us.

But back to this bluebird book he's written... All of the stunning photographs (more than 100) were taken by Stan and feature every aspect of a bluebird's fascinating life. Each is accompanied by text containing facts that confirm that this bird is truly special and unique among songbirds. For example, did you know that a bluebird's feathers don't contain blue pigment? Did you know that a female bluebird sometimes has three broods in a season?

Captivating Bluebirds
is written in an easy-to-browse format and can easily be read in one sitting, if you so choose. But why do that, when there's so much to look at and savor? I've read and reread this book several times already and will no doubt turn to it again and again. In fact, we plan to place another bluebird house and Stan has included suggestions for purchase, construction, and placement of houses, at the back of the book.

The 9 x 7-inch book is softcover, but it's a "Perfect Paperback," meaning it's bound somewhat like a hardcover in the way its pages are grouped together. The front and back covers have a wrap-around section like a dustjacket has, and these add stability and strength to the edges of the softcover as well as being handy to use as a bookmark.

Captivating Bluebirds: Exceptional Images and Observations by Stan Tekiela, Adventures Publications, March 5, 2008. 144 pages. List price $14.95. (Amazon price $11.51.)


Stan Tekiela is an award winning author, naturalist, columnist, wildlife photographer and radio personality. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural History Interpretation (Naturalist) from the University of Minnesota. He has been a professional naturalist for over 20 years and is a member of the Minnesota Naturalist Association, the Outdoor Writers Association of America, North American Nature Photography Association, and Canon Professional Services.

Stan actively studies and photographs nature throughout the U.S. You can visit his website at www.naturesmart.com.

The product or merchandise being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for testing and reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine, with no suggestions whatsoever by the manufacturer or distributor. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that, too.


Rose said...

I have never seen a bluebird either and would be thrilled if one visited my yard.

I like the seed packet gift card you showed Saturday. Like you, I buy the cards at Walmart to save 3 cents a gallon (wish it was 3%!). With gas prices what they are a packet of seeds is the least they can give us:)

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Oh... you are so fortunate to have bluebirds in your region! Unfortunately, bluebirds aren't native to our part of the U.S. The only blue we see on a bird is on the Scrub Jay's.

You are so fortunate!

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Nancy J. Bond said...

I've never seen a bluebird, either, though I'm told we have them here. They must be elusive. :) I hope one decides to settle into the nest box when the current tenants vacate.

Bob said...

I'd trade ya some bluebirds for some of the more northern birds that you have, (i.e. Goldfinches). We have 10 bluebird houses around the farm with 50% occupancy this year. And we have a flock of Kingfishers down at the pond. They are a blast to watch as they dive into the water!!!

Kylee Baumle said...

Rose ~ No bluebirds yet this year. :-(

Aren't gas prices ridiculous? That's sure changed our lives as far as just getting into the car and going places.

Cindy ~ Oh, but Cindy, you DO have bluebirds there! TWO kinds, in fact! The Western Bluebird and the Mountain Bluebird. I learned that from reading this book! ;-)

So, keep your eyes open and might see one sometime! :-)

Nancy ~ I do think they're elusive. Not that many people I know here have ever seen one. Too bad, because they're so pretty!

Bob ~ DEAL!! Now you figure out how to do that and I'm in. LOL.

Now that I know there are some Kingfishers down by Poohsticks Bridge, we'll be watching for them.

Randy said...

Aaaaaaaahhh, where ever there are bluebirds so shall you find happiness. I hope you end up with tons of them. :-)

BTW you looked lovely in your red shoes and dress. Everyone looks so happy in the pictures. :-)

Kylee Baumle said...

Awww, thanks Jamie! We've not seen any yet this year, but I'm hopeful!

And thanks about the wedding! It was such a fun day!

Anonymous said...

I can't seem to attract them, and I have tried everything. The wedding looked like it was a huge success, congratulations!

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