Sunday, September 4, 2011

Naturally Curious -- Book Review

There's only a limited number of books you can keep in an Airstream library but here's one to carry, especially if you spend time in New England.

Naturally Curious is a wonderful book given to me for Father's Day upon the recommendation of the owner of a local birding supply store.  It is set up by month so I started in June but then realized that the warblers were in May so I backtracked.  I then read July and August and loved the detail and all the factoids on a variety of natural items.  Naturally (pardon the pun), I gravitated to the birding sections but learned a lot from the insect and plant sections as well.

This is not a book you can't put down -- I took a break for a few months and started again in late August, re-reading August and then doing September.  I kind of savor the content -- not wanting to get too far ahead but rather following the months as they occur.

Let me give you example of the type of information I just find fascinating, this from a writeup on yellow-bellied sapsuckers:
"By far the most frequent visitor to sapsucker wells, other than sapsuckers, is the ruby-throated hummingbird. Like the sapsucker, it is in search of sap as well as insects that are attracted to the sap, and has been seen following sapsuckers as they visit their wells. Tree sap is similar to flower nectar in the amount of sugar and nutrients it contains.  When hummingbirds first return to New England in early May, flowers are few and far between, so tree sap, available to hummingbirds thanks to yellow-bellied sapsuckers, is a lifesaving substitute. It seems more than coincidental that the spring arrival of the ruby-throated hummingbird and the height of yellow-bellied sapsucker drilling occur at the same time."
This is one of those "read a little, absorb, read some more" type of book.  It's focused on New England but has a lot of information that is applicable in other sections of the U.S.  It's one of those books I'll go back to, time and time again once I finish it.  I'll likely read it monthly next year as well.  I highly recommend it as a book to have on your Airstream bookshelf.  What a perfect gift from a wonderful daughter.

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