MAKE AN EXCELLENT HOLIDAY GIFT
Looking for a holiday gift for that hard-to-please someone? I have a suggestion that should delight anyone. "Anyone," that is, who enjoys fascinating nature facts, spectacular nature photographs, or both. "Owls of the United States and Canada: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behavior" (2007, Johns Hopkins University Press, $39.95) by Wayne Lynch is beautiful, readable, and affordable. It should be well received by a whole spectrum of friends and relatives.
Owls are fascinating creatures, and this brand new book (published November 30) provides a wealth of information about them. Lynch is not only a superb nature writer but also a world-class photographer. His numerous captivating color photographs of owls augment the absorbing text. This book would complement any coffee table. But unlike many such books, it is likely to be pored over rather than merely glanced at. The writing would stand alone with no pictures, offering facts about owls that are fascinating, positions about environmental impacts on owls that are compelling, and personal accounts that are inspiring.
And then there are the photographs.
Most of the pictures are of owls themselves--flying, perching, eating, and doing other things owls do--but some are habitat shots that tell their own story. A full-page glossy photograph showing the breath-taking beauty of an Oregon old-growth forest with moss-draped trees has a fairy tale look about it.
which discusses the controversy and clashes between environmentalists
and loggers, is told within the context of the northern spotted owl. Lynch
points out that 17 years ago, across the border from Oregon's old-growth
forests, an estimated 100 pairs of spotted owls were "lurking in
the shadowed coastal forests." Today, only 6 pairs are left in British
Columbia. "In Canada, the owl is doomed--the result of greed and
the irresponsible logging . . . of old-growth forests." Lynch's words
coupled with a look at the primeval forest and the solemn looking spotted
owl on a following page make for a simple decision--we should vigorously
protect the forest and the owl.
feature of the book for those who think categorically is a 10-page section
in which each species is identified by photograph, distribution map, and
basic natural history information.
As I said,
"Owls" is beautiful, readable, and affordable. So if you plan
to give it as a gift, I suggest you buy a copy for yourself as well. Otherwise,
you'll get it home, start flipping through the pages, fall in love with
text and pictures, and decide that it will look just perfect on your own
coffee table. And then there you'll be still looking for a present for
that hard-to-please person.