Like those steadfast souls who love cats, bird fanciers understand that the objects of their fascination can be both awe-inspiring and intensely aggravating. There is no one on this earth who has not been woken up prematurely by the twittering of birds outside their window, especially when trying to sleep in. One can both love the beauty and majesty of birds while occasionally wanting to wring their cute little necks. Matt Kracht perfectly captures this love-hate relationship in his snarky new book, The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America.
Kracht’s book is a guide to a small selection of common North American birds, with hand-drawn images of each bird, plus scathing reviews of their appearance, behavior, and other habits. For example, Kracht states about the robin: ‘You can see them pretty much everywhere … and they’re easy to spot because you can’t miss their dumb rust-red breast … Good food source for cats.’ On the other hand, while you may think Kracht hates birds, the depth of research, and the useful tips on birding, journaling, and ethics show that this book was clearly written by someone with a great fondness for our avian friends. However, any bird-watcher reading this field guide should have a good sense of humor, as Kracht does not hold back with his opinions. The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America is an entertaining, humorous read for anyone who loves birds – and perhaps even those who hate them.
Review by Shannon Wood
Adult Services Librarian
Nordonia Hills Branch Library