“All my life I have been fascinated and thrilled by the nesting of birds, the songs, courtship rituals, nest building…” In these spirited essays Gladys Black, dean of Iowa ornithologists, presents the results of years of painstaking observation of the haunts and habits of Iowa birds. By distilling her exacting fieldwork into the columns that held a devoted readership in the Des Moines Register from 1969 to 1987, she motivated a generation of birdwatchers to help preserve Iowa's endangered natural heritage. This expanded edition of her 1979 book reprints more than a hundred of her lively columns, supplemented by a new checklist of Iowa species and a description of Iowa habitats.
From robins nesting on window ledges to short-eared owls sailing low over snowy fields, pied-billed grebes diving for fish to catbirds singing on moonlit nights, Black introduces us to the birds of field and forest, prairie and pond. Whether describing red-breasted nuthatches gorging on suet at her feeder after a snowstorm or a flock of American goldfinches “all balancing gracefully on ripening oats,” she reminds us of the natural sights and sounds that we must appreciate and protect. Humorous, personal, engaging, and instructive, her essays provide a readily accessible body of information about Iowa's birdlife for both amateur and professional naturalist of every interest level.
The Nature Conservancy
Checklist of Iowa Birds
Index to Species Accounts