Small-Headed Flycatcher. Seen Yesterday. He Didn'T Leave His Name.

Overview

Pete Dunne has been watching birds since he was seven years old. But not just watching-deeply absorbing every nuance of color, markings, shape, flight, and song; all the subtle clues that can identify a bird barely glimpsed among the highest branches in fading twilight. With the same skill, he has been observing and writing about birding and birders for over twenty years, using humor, sentiment, occasional sarcasm, and unashamed passion for his chosen profession to explore why ...

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Overview

Pete Dunne has been watching birds since he was seven years old. But not just watching-deeply absorbing every nuance of color, markings, shape, flight, and song; all the subtle clues that can identify a bird barely glimpsed among the highest branches in fading twilight. With the same skill, he has been observing and writing about birding and birders for over twenty years, using humor, sentiment, occasional sarcasm, and unashamed passion for his chosen profession to explore why birdwatching is so irresistibly compelling to so many people.

This book brings together thirty-two vintage essays that Dunne originally wrote for publications such as American Birds, Bird Watcher's Digest, Birder's World, Birding, Living Bird, the New Jersey edition of the Sunday New York Times, WildBird, and Wild Bird News. Encounters with birds rare and common is their shared theme, through which Dunne weaves stories of his family and friends, reflections on the cycles of nature, and portraits of unforgettable birders whose paths have crossed his, ranging from Roger Tory Peterson to a life-battered friend who finds solace in birding. A cliff-hanger story of the bird that got away gives this book its title.

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Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal
Mr. Dunne . . . is one of the country's most-respected birders, a self-taught authority whose exuberant, almost-poetic approach to the pastime has won him many followers among the growing legions of birders.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Friends and relatives, birds and birders, life as he sees it--Dunne covers all these topics, moving easily from humor and poignance to reflective wisdom in these 30-odd essays and stories gathered from such magazines as Audubon, American Birds and Bird Watcher's Digest. Both novice and full-fledged birders will get that special insiders' glow from reading essays like "Getting a Leg Up on Bird-Sighting Sheets," in which Dunne parallels the behavior of his dog, Moose, with that of dedicated birders: Moose sniffs, ponders, then makes his mark. Birders check the bird-sighting lists, review the good birds listed, then "raid a pen and sprinkle the page with hot new entries." Dunne is as well attuned to people as he is to birds. He understands when his brother, Mike, eschews the sport after observing the obsessive rituals of birding enthusiasts. He appreciates his wife's West-of-the-Rockies sensibilities: "To her mind, every day she wakes in the East is a day begun with compromise." Many times Dunne mentions the solace people find in nature when all else fails, while several essays outline the development of Dunne's attitude toward nature and its exigencies. He struggles with the concept of nature as "a regular killing field" and concludes, "I have chosen instead to accept life's pattern as it has evolved and hope, even if I sometimes find it hard to believe, that there is a reason." His book should not be hidden in the birding section of bookstores, for these stories show us that Dunne is as striking a storyteller as he is a naturalist. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292716001
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface

Part 1: STORIES ABOUT FAMILY
Gift of Seed
Brother Mike's Retreat from Birding
The Wisdom of Sisters
Kaleidoscope Eyes
The Birdin' of Kindness
Judgment Day

Part 2: STORIES ABOUT FRIENDS
The Soldier
R.
Harold
Colville Diary
The Last Big Day

Part3:STORIES ABOUT BIRDS . . .
In Praise of Jays
Small-Headed Flycatcher. Seen Yesterday. He Didn't Leave His Name.
Deep Pockets
Embers of Spring

Part 4: . . . AND BIRDING

Getting a Leg Up on Bird-Sighting Sheets
Confessions of a Listing Heretic
Formula for a White-Winged Tern
The Price of Respectability
Eternal Errors
Passing Sights and Sounds
Made in Heaven
For Melinda with Love and Squalor
The Old Man and the Plover
Separating Hoagies
Nosing Out an Identification. Taking It with Salt.

Part 5: REFLECTIONS
The Fox and the Harrier
Vespers for a Fallout
After the Cold Front
Bonded to the West Wind
My Perfect Universe
Spring of Wonder, Autumn of Mastery
River Dipping

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