John Nichols knows his New Mexico birds. There’s a good list of birds seen in The Milagro Beanfield War, starting with the flock of nesting killdeer that feature in the opening scene of the book with one of the town’s historic figures, Cleofes Apodaca. There are both literal and figurative buzzards (turkey vultures) and zopilotes (black […]

There are very few birds in Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac. I got a little bit excited when, on the first page of Chapter 1 the narrator and main character says, “I hoped I would see an eagle, for that would be a good sign.” […]

There aren’t very many birds in So Far From God by Ana Castillo, but the ones that are mentioned are more than just background fluff. Around the time Sofi decides to run for la mayor of Tome, it’s mentioned that a gringo has bought some land nearby and is raising peacocks. One of the things […]

I was a bit torn in my reaction to the bird aspects of The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church. The author acknowledges that while she is a birder she is more interested in behavior than species identification and that certainly comes through in Meridian’s character as well. There are occasional comments about […]

Since one of the main characters – that of Sophie, Colonel Allen Forrester’s wife – is an amateur naturalist and interested in birds in particular, To the Bright Edge of the World is a treasure trove of bird sightings. Moreover, there are a number of birds that play important roles in the story, both recurring […]

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Hummingbirds are pure motion. In the spring and summer, my yard is full of the buzz and whirr of Allen’s hummingbirds (which looks very similar to the rufous that Sophie sees). I have failed miserably in my attempts to photograph them. In To the Bright Edge of the World, Sophie Forrester becomes a bird photographer, […]

The Camp Robber – What a great name! This is one of the first birds that plays an important role in To the Bright Edge of the World, by Eowyn Ivey, and it’s one I hadn’t heard of before – at least not with that particular common name. When I started looking into this bird I […]

As I tried to decide how to handle the multiple bird sightings in the books, I chuckled to myself that I could compile a “life list.” And then I stopped chuckling and realized that was actually ideal. Birding life lists are often broken down by geographic regions such as state. The table below can be […]

Aleutian Sparrow by Karen Hesse was my first book choice for Alaska, and its eponymous bird was the reason for these parallel posts on bird sightings in my book choices. The Aleutian sparrow is a variety of Song Sparrow, which is described as a larger, darker variety according to the Audubon online bird guide. I […]

I have a confession to make – I’m a birder. I keep a life list of all the birds I’ve seen. When I visit someplace new, my first purchase is usually a local bird book. I get excited about seeing a “lifer” – a bird I’ve never seen before. This hobby started rather haphazardly when […]