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Eastern Birds' Nests by Hal H. Harrison

Eastern Birds' Nests (1975)

by Hal H. Harrison

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Series: Peterson Field Guides (21)

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220186,516 (3.72)None
This guide includes the nest and eggs of 285 species found in the 26 states east of the Mississippi River. Descriptions of breeding range and time, habitat, and nests and eggs are enhanced by 222 color photographs.



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Bought this in Orleans, MA, as I was writing my own book on Birdtalk (which I woud speak on 80 times, including twice in the UK and once in Milano, in Italian). Harrison's greatest gift to my own writing was five years after that book, a verse I wrote nearing retirement as a professor, in favor of Deadwood, the metaphor for old profs. Turns out, many of the birds at my house nest in deadwood: Chickadees, Titmouses, Bluebirds, Hairy and Downy woodpeckers (both with striking, white eggs), Nuthatches, Red-bellied woodpeckers, most owls, even Starlings...
The gender-specific nestbuilding--say, females alone build Bluebird nests, and beautiful Oriole pouches, while male Cardinals occasionally assist--break human conventions in construction, where males dominate. The stunning variety of nests, from flat Mourning Doves' to cupped Warblers' to covered, protective Carolina Wrens', to no nest at all for Cowbirds, Nighthawks, and Whip-Poor-Wills.
Some birds, certain warblers or vireos, use their guano to seal the edge of the nestcup.
Others like Cormorants deposit freely and unintentionally.
Much can be learned about bird behavior by studying their nests, for instance, Phoebes'
brilliant fly-catching, in the air, takes help from their partners to feed growing broods. (I must check if I have this right.)
Occasional mistaken photos, like the one for Orioles,' not showing the characteristic pendulous pouch that I only see in the Fall, once leaves have left the trees overhanging our two-lane roads, where they often build. I suppose the motorway forbids enemies from glancing up at the inviting nest, having to find it from an angle, as I do--or, usually fail to do until empty.
In Richmond, MA, we had nesting Pileated Woodpecker--impressive, resonant pecking--about one hundred feet away in a partly dead tree. Our house had a second-floor deck on two sides that gave us visual access to the Pileateds. ( )
  AlanWPowers | Apr 26, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hal H. Harrisonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Harrison, MadaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, NedIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For MADA from Doolin's Run to Eternity
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Preface (p. ix): Probably no face of bird watching will replace the sport of "listing" as the most popular activity of avian devotees throughout the world.
About This Book (p. xvii): Included in this Field Guide are descriptions of range, habitat, nest, and eggs, with miscellaneous notes for 285 species of birds that breed regularly in all or some of the 26 states lying entirely east of the Mississippi River.
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