Thursday, January 14, 2021

Book Review of What It's Like to Be a Bird

robin perched on a bird bath
Robin in my Backyard

 Are you ever curious about the habits of birds?  Did you realize that a bird's senses of vision, hearing, touch and smell many times surpass the same senses in humans?  Did you know that if you "ate like a bird" you might eat more than twenty-five pizzas each day?  These are just a few of the many things you'll learn about birds in the book What It's Like to Be a Bird.  

I received a copy of this book as a Christmas gift and have found it fascinating.  It is a rather large, coffee table type book that is full of information on the birds of North America.

The book is divided into three sections.  In this review, I will give you some insight into each of the sections.  The photographs I am including in this review are birds that I photographed in my backyard.

First Section: Introduction

Female Downy Woodpecker
Female Downy Woodpecker

  • The introduction section of the book is 32 pages full of information on birds in general.  This section talks about the feathers on birds, the senses of birds and how they relate to human senses.  There are sections on 
  • Food
  • Survival
  • Social Behavior
  • Movement
  • Physiology
  • Migration
an much more.  This area is full of interesting information.  Some examples include:
  • There are 11 thousand species of birds today and 800 are regularly found in North America.
  • Birds visual ability varies greatly between species.  Owls have great night vision  and Eagles see five times more details than humans and 16 times the colors.
  • Some birds spend their entire winter in the air, even sleeping while they fly.

Second Section: Main Body of Book

In this section of the book the author tells us about over 200 different species of birds.  The author has two pages for most species and they include beautiful colored illustrations of the birds and are full of interesting facts about each type of bird.
finch perched on a railing in light snow

One good example is the section on Finches.  The first page shows a beautiful illustration of a male and female House Finch building a nest.  The information says that these finches are aptly named because they have adapted to living around houses and often make their nests on items around the houses such as hanging plants and window ledges.  On the page with Goldfinches we are told that they travel in flocks almost all year and it is believed that some birds stay together in small groups for months or even years.

Third Section: Listing of Birds in this Book

In this last section of the book you find a list of all the birds that have been covered in the book.  It includes the page number for more information along with a paragraph summarizing that particular bird.
Northern Cardinal resting on the branch of a tree

Here is some of the information included on the Northern Cardinal.  It tells that the bird is named for its bright red color which is like the cardinals in the Roman Catholic church.  The paragraph goes on to say that the Northern Cardinal is one of the most widely recognized birds in North America.  It adds a couple of interesting facts such as that it is common for male cardinals to feed the adult females.  In this way they are signaling their ability to find food.

This is a book I would highly recommend for anyone interested in finding out more about birds.
Here is a calendar I made of my backyard bird photos.  It is offered on Zazzle.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Mary Beth, I can't think of a better gift for you or for any others who share your interest and fascination with birds. This sounds like a very comprehensive bird book with fascinating facts.

  2. Oh this sounds like a really nice book Mary Beth. I love that it gives you detailed as well as some general information. I would imagine it would be a great book to share with the grandchildren too. Thanks for posting this and for the incredible pictures you take that make me smile all day long.

  3. Your calendar is gorgeous! I do love birds. It has been so cold here lately that I haven't seen many birds, but I was greeted just this morning by a family of robins when I opened my blinds. One was even bathing in the birdbath! I always fell like I have received a gift when they allow me to photograph them. I am fascinated by the facts you shared above, therefore it is clear I would love this book as well. I must admit, I assumed the "Cardinals" in the Catholic church were named after the birds, not the other way around.

    1. Oh, and I meant to say 25 pizzas each day sounds good to me! Pizza is one of my all time favorite meals :)

  4. Whoever gave you this thoughtful gift obviously knows how much you love birds! I always enjoy your beautiful nature photography, and loved seeing photos you took of birds in your own backyard to illustrate sections of this review. The facts you shared from the book were all new to me (and I have to agree with Sylvestermouse, a 25-pizzas-a-day diet sounds pretty good to me, too, lol!). I can see this being a great book to share with kids, too. My husband’s parents instilled a love and appreciation of nature and of “all God’s creatures, great and small,” and it has enriched his life immeasurably.

  5. As always your photos are amazing and so is the calendar. The facts on these different birds are fascinating. I especially found the eagles vision and some birds spend the entire winter in the air very interesting. This would be a wonderful gift for anybody who loves birds.

  6. I have friends that are crazy bird fans, lol. Anything to do with birds, and they are all in. What a great heads-up with this review for a gift idea for them! I'm going to send them this book when a special occasion dictates.

  7. Oh I love the sound of this book! I love birds and bird watching. I think this is a perfect gift for anyone who loves birds and nature. Love your beautiful photos and your calendar.Thank you :)


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