September, 2016

Back from the brink
Author: Darryl McGrath

Review by: Edward Kanze

Book Review By EDWARD KANZE We all see things differently. My distinguished writer friend the late Maurice Kenny and I argued on more than one occasion over what sorts of books we like. I provoked the debate, asserting that given a choice between a brilliantly written book with not much at its core and a book of fabulous material presented in pedestrian prose, I’d choose the fabulous and the pedestrian every time. Maurice, a champion of fine writing and a gifted writer himself, disagreed, vehemently. I wish, when we last crossed swords, I had Darryl McGrath’s Flight Paths to thump >>More


March, 2015

The Sibley Guide to Birds: Second Edition
Author: David Allen Sibley

Review by: John Thaxton

Bird book gets better On one of our semi-annual trips to Cape May, New Jersey, in May of 1998, we saw a report on the Internet of a red phalarope at the municipal gravel dump, which featured a two-acre puddle after three days of hard rain. So on the way to the storied Cape May Hawk Watch Platform we stopped by the gravel dump at 7:30 a.m. and saw David Sibley, all by himself, his spotting scope on a tripod next to his easel, his binoculars around his neck, a camera handy. I literally had to touch him to distract >>More


May, 2014

You can go home again
Author: Bernd Heinrich

Review by: Ed Kanze

MY FIRST MEETING with the nature writer Bernd Heinrich came on a dark, stormy night at the Saranac Lake Free Library. He was reading from a book then in progress, The Snoring Bird, which combines a biography of the author’s entomologist father with Bernd Heinrich’s own life story. Anyone who had the privilege of being in attendance that night will remember the tumultuous weather outside, the gasps for breath, and the tears that ran in rivulets down Heinrich’s face as he spoke about his relationship with a brilliant but ruthless father. The audience glimpsed the intensity and passion that drive >>More


September, 2013

The Crossley ID Guide & Hawks in Flight
Author: Crossley ID Guide: Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori & Brian Sullivan & Hawks in Flight: Pete Dunne, David Allen Sibley & Clay Sutton

Review by: Edward Kanze

There can be no greater thrill on an Adirondack hike in autumn than to stand on a summit and have hawks and falcons stream over your head. Perhaps there’ll be an eagle or two shooting past for good measure, and an osprey or harrier, too. Fall colors and prime hiking weather coincide with migration season for day-flying raptors. What you see on particular hikes is a matter of hit or miss, but if you hit just right, you may get exciting close looks at birds otherwise difficult to admire close up in the wild. While migrating long distances, hawks, eagles, >>More


May, 2012

How to Be a Better Birder
Author: Derek Lovitch

Review by: John Thaxton

My heart leaps when I behold a birder way farther over the top than me, a wonk of such maniacal assiduity that he makes me feel like my commitment to avian studies consists of half-heartedly glancing at one of my bird feeders every now and again, a birder, alas, to whom I can point and announce to friends: “You consider me a crazy birder? Hey, check out this dude.” A birder since elementary school, Derek Lovitch started to get serious early in high school, went nuts in college, and after graduation took a job, or rather a dizzying string of >>More


September, 2011

Hawks at a Distance: Identification of Migrant Raptors
Author: Jerry Liguori

Review by: Ed Kanze

Is there a thrill in birdwatching— and for that matter in hiking and mountaineering— half as electrifying as standing atop a rocky summit on a crisp fall day, watching a hawk, falcon, or eagle shoot low over your head? You peer into the raptor’s keen eyes with awe and a touch of fear. Fear—because you sense that the predator is sizing you up. If it were bigger and you smaller, the encounter might end differently, and both you and the bird know it. Autumn hiking and watching hawks go together like clams and chowder. The reason is practical. Raptors traveling >>More


March, 2009

The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State
Author: Kevin J. McGowan and Kimberly Corwin

Review by: EDWARD KANZE

In 1988, Cornell University Press published The Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State. The book, which sits before me, filled 552 pages with maps, text and elegant line drawings of every bird found courting prospective mates, hatching eggs or raising young in the Empire State. The culmination of more than 200,000 hours of skilled volunteer fieldwork beginning in 1980 and ending at the end of 1985, the book was a knockout. It contained a wealth of information, including first-ever range maps showing the meticulously documented distribution of every grebe, heron, blackbird and sparrow. I still refer to my >>More


November, 2008

Adirondack Birding
Author: John M.C. Peterson & Gary N. Lee

Review by: ALAN PISTORIUS

Adirondack Birding: 60 Great Places to Find Birds is just what the title suggests—a guide to birding hot spots within (in a couple of cases just outside) the Blue Line, written by veteran birder-naturalists John M.C. (“Mike”) Peterson and Gary N. Lee. The selected sites range from the Four Brothers Islands and Ticonderoga Marsh in the Champlain lowlands to the Five Ponds Wilderness and the Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area in the west, from Lyon Mountain and Debar Pond in the north to Powley-Piseco Road and the Washington County Grasslands in the south. Each site treatment features a map and >>More