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Private Lives of Garden Birds Hardcover – September 16, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; 3rd edition (September 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580174701
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580174701
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,842,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Calvin Simonds has spent a lifetime learning to see the world as birds see it. And all those years of patient study have paid off: Private Lives of Garden Birds is the classic introduction to the most intimate, engaging secrets of eleven common backyard birds -- ones most often seen in gardens, yards, and parks.

Simonds conducts a kind of backyard safari where you'll witness the singular behavior of already-familiar birds. You'll learn how to distinguish different types of swallows by their flight patterns and how to recognize individual blue jays by their distinctive facial markings. You'll listen in on a song sparrow jam session where the lead bird tries out new songs and teaches his repertoire to the rest of his flock. And you'll learn why the power mower and the lawn sprinkler have become the robin's best friends.

Brimming with practical wisdom, charming personal stories, and genuine scientific insight, this updated and expanded third edition is essential reading for bird lovers, nature lovers, and especially familes who want to know their feathered neighbors better.
--This text refers to the Digital edition.

From the Back Cover

The best thing to happen to bird lovers since binoculars!

Have you ever seen a mockingbird do its dance of defiance inches away from a cat? Or watched a wintering flock of chickadees claim a backyard bird feeder as their own? In Private Lives of Garden Birds, Calvin Simonds teaches you how to become a silent observer of the extraordinary habits of birds. You'll learn to interpret the different caws of crows, you'll discover how to tell which red-winged blackbird is likely to have a single mate and which one will have a harem, and if you're really lucky, you may even witness an aerial dogfight between two male hummingbirds. 

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When I discovered and read the book "Private Lives of Garden Birds" I felt as if I had been given a very special gift that enhanced and broaden my understanding of the nature that surrounds my everyday life. Like many, I love birds and enjoy observing them in my back yard and have often wondered what is really going on with all the fluttering and chattering. With this book, Calvin Simons has given everyone who enjoys birds a head start in understanding the dynamics that are being played out between the birds. All the social interaction, the whys and wherefore, and even the "hootenanny" is explained in a way that make you feel as if Calvin Simons is sitting with you in your back yard having a conversation about your birds.
I especially enjoy the layout of the book which gives each of the several birds described an entire chapter, allowing the reader to become very familiar with that species. After reading about a particular bird it is easy to focus on that bird alone and understand more clearly the dynamics and social interactions that are going on in your back yard.
After reading this book one cannot help but discover all sorts of secrets about the bird activities going on in the neighborhood. I learned that I had a Phoebe living near me that had previously gone unnoticed. This is a wonderful book to give as a gift to anyone who has a bird feeder because the fluid style of writing and clarity with which a complicated topic is explained, makes this book a pleasure to read.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan S. Barker on October 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am not a birder nor much of a gardner, but I love this book. Birders and gardners I know also love it. The woman in the campsite next to mine in a Maine campground explained to me the lives of the osprey nesting nearby. When I tried to show her that I knew a thing or two about birds that I had gleaned from Calvin Symonds, she came back with "Oh yes, I have that book at home and enjoy rereading it." My mother who at 97 can still tell you the names of all the birds at her many birdfeeders keeps a copy of Symonds on the crowded table next to the recliner where she spends her days.
To understand what the birds around you are doing you need to see them, identify them, observe them over a period of time, and know how to interpret what you see. I often fail steps one and two and do even worse on steps three and four. Calvin Symonds moves through all four steps with grace and humor. He regards the everyday birds of his New England farm with such affection that he cedes his garage to swallows for four months every summer. He makes out the cacaphony of the blue jays as an animated assertion of family ties and draws useful life lessons from activity that many find annoying and even criminal.
The gentle expressive essays repeatedly surprise and intrigue me as they explore benieath the surface of what eleven familiar birds - from mockingbirds to crows - do. Symonds shows the reasons for their actions and describes the debates among scientists about how to explain what they observe. I hope one day he will extend the list of birds he has made familiar and fascinating to at least one non-birder.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joni on May 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting insights from a birder. The book includes scientific information as well as observations.
I really liked it, and would recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lots of insights into bird behavior and song, good simple and usable advice. And, his style of writing is very relaxing and rhythmic. Perfect book to read while sitting under a tree listening to the birds.
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