Are you gift shopping for a nature-loving friend or family member? If so, adding a field guide to a naturalist’s home library is a great match. Locally, good places to shop for books about native plants and animals include all of the U.S. Forest Service ranger stations in Leavenworth, Chelan, Withrop, and the Regional Supervisor’s Office in north Wenatchee. Each offers a wide array of field guides, books for children, hiking guidebooks and maps. I appreciate the extensive collection of natural history books keep in stock at our locally owned independent book stores in Leavenworth, A Book For All Season’s and at Winthrop’s Trail’s End Bookstore. The booksellers are happy to order titles not on the shelf.
Here are a few natural history books I’ve recently acquired that you too might be good gift-giving match for someone on your list:
- The Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd Edition by David Allen Sibley. The first edition is now ten years old, so many of us local “birders” anxiously awaited the March 2014 release of this updated field guide to all U.S. birds, amazingly filled with artwork and text by a single artist/author. The improvements in this edition include larger illustrations, higher quality digital reproductions of the original art, and more than 600 new paintings. The expanded text includes habitat and voice descriptions for every species and >700 maps have been updated. I like using the new family pages with detailed text and all species displayed on the page. It still is a bit too big to easily carry in the field, but I’m giving it a try!
- Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest: Tracking and Identifying Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, and invertebrates by David Moskowitz. Moskowitz s is a Western Washington wildlife biologist, expert animal tracker, and a gifted writer. This book is designed to help us read the stories that animals leave behind, in form of tracks, scat, and signs. For each species, Moskowitz provides detailed life history narratives, range maps, and photos , all selected to help sharpen the reader’s field skills and understand of our local wildlife. Check out his website to learn about upcoming field workshops and his other publications:
- Trees and Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner and Ellen Kuhlmann. My copy already has a worn spine after just one field season. It is now much easier to identify a Northwest shrub or tree thanks to great photos, range maps, and narrative text that points out key field characters. Expert Washington photographer Turner and plant ecologist Kuhlmann have both spent many years exploring our region’s botany, enabling them to select the most important plant characteristics to feature in the guide.
- Living with Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest by Russell Link. This book was written for us: people interested in knowing more about the wildlife occupying areas around their homes or properties. Would you like to know how to deter northern flickers from pecking holes in your house? Would you like to find landscaping plants that mule deer wouldn’t as a cafeteria? For each species, Link artfully weaves together facts about each animal’s life history including its feeding, reproductive, and nesting habits. Tips about how to safely view the animal and ways to prevent human/animal conflicts follow, along with public health concerns and legal issues. Some parts of this book are available on the Washington Department of Wildlife’s website under “Living with Wildlife” at http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/ .
- The Northwest Nature Guide: Where to go and What to see, month by month, in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia by James Luther Davis. This is a great book to keep in your car as you travel our region. Want to know where to go to see wintering swans, or a million shorebirds, or rough-skinned newts? This book has detailed driving directions along with nice natural history narratives.
Susan Ballinger teaches a 12-week Wenatchee Naturalist course every fall at Wenatchee Valley College. This winter, Susan will offer a conifer ID workshop and 2 birding short courses through WVC Continuing Education.