Cover image for The gift of birds : true encounters with avian spirits
The gift of birds : true encounters with avian spirits
Habegger, Larry.
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Travelers' Tales, [1999]

Physical Description:
xviii, 322 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL677.5 .G54 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Whether it roots us in our own backyard or takes us across continents, watching birds calls us to stillness and demands our keen attention to the details that flicker around us. This collection of stories will appeal to bird lovers everywhere.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Louise Erdrich, Alice Walker, Peter Matthiessen, and Diane Ackerman are among the authors offering stories (28 of them) of their remarkable encounters with birds. Erdrich witnessed a blue jay dancing in front of a hawk that had just attacked it, "hornpiping up and down with tiny leaps, all of its feathers on end to increase its size." In "The Balinese Chicken," Walker recognizes her kinship with a mother hen. Matthiessen tells of his sighting of four rare red-crowned cranes--two adults and two chicks--in Siberia. Ackerman recalls the time she discovered two bustling colonies of short-tailed albatrosses, "nesting, romancing, and bickering," in New Zealand. Pamela Conley is happily caught in the middle of a pelican feeding frenzy at a Mexican beach resort, and Robert Boyle gathers roadkill to feed his turkey vultures. These are all wonderful, entertaining stories offering a--bird's-eye view!--of our avian friends. --George Cohen

Library Journal Review

This anthology of 28 essays (five are original but most are excerpted from books) by 26 authors deals with how birds have affected people, primarily in a spiritual manner. The writers are for the most part naturalists but include such well-known disparate personalities as Peter Matthiessen and Alice Walker, as well as top birding gurus Kenn Kaufman and Pete Dunne. These thoughtful, entertaining essays range from Central Park to Australia, from the Himalayas, Bali, and Africa to Utah. Dunne writes about how watching a birdfeeder brought joy to his ill father, Walker about how she was inspired by the maternal devotions of a hen in Bali. Others tell of encounters with birds of prey, rare cranes, and albatrosses; a person who gathers roadkills to feed vultures; or watching the antics of loons and pelicans. A stimulating collection of nature writing from an unusual perspective; for most collections.ÄHenry T. Armistead, Free Lib. of Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Larry HabeggerPete DunneDavid AbramPamela ConleyRon NaveenJim NollmanSigurd F. OlsonAmy Greimann CarlsonMonica WoodDiane AckermanLouise ErdrichBarbara Earl ThomasDavid James DuncanAlice WalkerMark BittnerH. V. MortonBernd HeinrichPete DunnePippa StuartRobert H. BoyleKenn KaufmanPeter DavisMarie WinnJames KilgoBuddy LevyTerry Tempest WilliamsJake PagePeter MatthiessenJon YoungJon CarrollLeonard NathanKenn Kaufman
Introduction: Mockingbird Summerp. XIII
Part I Vivid Encounters
Gift of Seedp. 3
Stripped Nakedp. 6
A Pelican Frenzyp. 10
Hardwiredp. 13
What the Raven Saidp. 27
Laughing Loonp. 40
Without a Ripplep. 49
Stop the Carp. 55
Short-tailed Albatrossesp. 59
Part II Kindred Spirits
Crazy Couragep. 81
Sweet Hope Waitingp. 84
Bird-Watching as a Blood Sportp. 94
The Balinese Chickenp. 120
The Parrots of Telegraph Hillp. 124
Honey Guidep. 138
Wild Owlsp. 141
Part III Odd Ducks
The Legend of Jesse Mewp. 163
How the Pimpernel Saved His Pigeonsp. 174
Nothing Tastes Like Roadkillp. 179
Close to the Endp. 185
After the Firesp. 199
The Ramble of Central Parkp. 204
Part IV Brushes with Divinity
Actual Field Conditionsp. 227
The Setting of Wingsp. 241
Whimbrelsp. 246
Redbirdp. 268
The Last Cranes of Siberiap. 275
Invisibilityp. 287
With No Direction Homep. 293
Epiphanyp. 296
Part V Ascending Song
Sky Larkp. 305
Recommended Readingp. 313
Indexp. 315
Acknowledgementsp. 318