"Birder on Berry Lane"

Birder Robert Tougias chronicles his year-long observations of the birdlife at his backyard feeders and 3-acre woodlot on Berry Lane in southeastern Connecticut. “It is an account of my awareness—seeing, thinking about, and appreciating the living habitat, nature, and most specifically birds....”

Tougias shares what he learns as he watches, listens, and monitors the changing of the seasons through the multidimensional and enchanting lives of the avian visitors as they wing in and out of his yard.

The diary-style book also prompts the reader to be more alert to nearby birds, their interactions with their habitat and the hidden meanings of the sparrow’s trills, the catbird’s meow, and the owl’s hoot. Tougias notes “birding isn’t just a matter of ticking off species one by one but the source of “a great feeling of peace” as the coming and going of different species marking the passing months of each year.

Tougias juxtaposes his fascination with bird activity against the perils of encroaching subdivision development, light and noise pollution and climate change. These new environmental circumstances have made native birds refugees who must adapt to the altered conditions or decline and die.

General observers and skilled birders alike will appreciate this nature writer’s upbeat love song to birds and the ways they can and should become an important part of daily life. This is a quiet, poetic, charming book, yet scientific enough for the most seasoned birder.

“Birder on Berry Lane” includes 23 drawings of birds by Mark Szantyr, an appendix detailing the unique characteristics of the birds that come and go on Berry Lane, and a complete index. In addition, several diary pages are printed at the back of the book to guide readers who want to record their own bird sightings.