Warblers & Woodpeckers: A Father-Son Big Year of Birding
Well-known author Sneed Collard and Braden, his 13-year-old son, devoted a year criss-crossing the United States from their home in Montana southward to Texas and to both coasts, adding a week’s spree to the Galapagos. With cameras and binoculars at the ready they spotted dozens of familiar and rare birds, capturing memories and images as their quarry winged across the sky, perched on trees, on lakes or at the seashore. Together, they added to their bird Life List savoring their intense hobby together. Scores advanced as they took to meta-birding when they traveled, watching out for groups with similar equipment, knowing a bird of a certain feather must be at hand.
The Greater Roadrunner and the Phainopepla, Northern-Pygmy-Owl and Hooded Merganser, to say nothing of the Magnificent Hummingbird and the Painted Redstart, voted a favorite in Arizona, among numerous others formed a brilliant kaleidoscope. Bird species were mysteriously translated into acronyms an ‘in’ code almost like computer-speak: a WEKI and a BAOW and a SAPH.
The year was gratifying for father and son as they took advantage of weekends, of Braden’s school breaks and Sneed’s conferences and commitments to meet publishers’ deadlines. The accounts are humorous and enlightening, written briskly and clearly so even readers who usually skip will find themselves taking in every page. Those whose recognition is limited to grackles and LBBs (little brown birds) will enjoy the repartee between father and son and find Warblers and Woodpeckers a delightful book.
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