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The National Wildlife Federation's Guide to Gardening for Wildlife: How to Create a Beautiful Backyard Habitat for Birds, Butterflies and Other Wild Hardcover – August, 1995
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From Library Journal
Landscaping to attract wildlife has become a popular gardening activity, not only in rural settings but also in suburbia and even in cities. Here are three titles showing the way, each with a different focus and varying success rate. All are profusely illustrated with excellent color photographs. Kress, a highly accomplished naturalist and the author of two top-quality Audubon Society guides on birding and attracting birds, presents informative chapters on landscaping, plantings, nesting structures, feeding, use of water, and a regional reference to plants and birds. This is an excellent guide to attracting birds but suffers slightly from a plethora of sidebars and columns on individual birds and plants, although there is no discussion of hummingbird feeding. One wishes for more of Kress's fine, overarching, generalized text. Nevertheless, The Bird Garden can be highly recommended for all gardening collections. Tufts, the chief naturalist and manager of the National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program, and noted garden writer Loewer, offer a guide that is less compartmentalized with a more cohesive, expository text. The emphasis is more on the use of vegetation, natural shelter, and water to attract a broad spectrum of animals, not just birds. Although the approach is less cookbook and more conceptual, the book still has many practical qualities, but specifics on feeders and nesting boxes are not included. Chapters discuss creating a habitat; getting the garden ready; creating woodland gardens; meadow and prairie gardens; water gardens; gardening for birds, butterflies, and nightlife; and profiles of 15 NWF backyard habitats. This is an excellent overview of of how to garden for wildlife. Needham's Beastly Abodes tries a more direct, nuts-and-bolts approach with 74 sections written by 17 authors on how to build boxes, feeders, rafts, etc., for a variety of wildlife such as bats, butterflies, birds, as well as such as toads, mice, squirrels, turtles, bees, et al. There is much useful information but also an unfortunate emphasis on artistic, even garish, houses. A birdhouse that looks as if it were painted by Piet Mondrian, one that resembles a chrome diner, or a squirrel house with an elaborate acorn design may appeal to many people but the creatures for which they were intended are better served by abodes that are natural and unembellished. Because of such fanciful airs and in the face of an abundance of well-crafted current books on attracting wildlife, Beastly Abodes is not recommended. These new books add considerably to our knowledge of attracting wildlife but the bedrock?established by earlier titles by Kress, such John V. Dennis works as The Complete Guide to Bird Feeding (Knopf, 1994), and the excellent Ortho Books series?still remains vital.?Henry T. Armistead, Free Lib. of Philadelphia
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.