Good Birders Don’t Wear White: 50 Tips From North America’s Top Birders edited by Pete Dunne. First published 2007.
I was reminded to write this short review from a recent Facebook meme, whereby one takes a certain line from a certain page from the nearest book and posts it as a status update. Mine was “Never go out with someone who has been looking for the Mangrove Cuckoo for twenty years with no success.” This line is from Don and Lillian Stokes’ hilarious essay Follow These Rules to See a Mangrove Cuckoo.
Good Birders Don’t Wear White is a fun collection of short essays on birding by some of the top names in the field. I’m still a new birder so I kind of expected to pick up some tips reading these essays, but many of the pieces are more humor oriented than practical. I should have realized – a blurb on the back reads “In these 50 light and fun original essays…” I found most of the more practical tips kind of obvious, but the essays are all very well written and in fact birding humor is great, too. I enjoyed this book as a very light, easy read.
The fifty essays are grouped into categories including backyard birding, listing, and identification. My favorite ones usually included a bit of practical advice told in an engaging way, like Bill Thompson III’s piece on keeping optics clean. Even if I couldn’t relate to or benefit from the advice in every article, it was still interesting to read what were very often personal birding anecdotes from well-known names in the birding community like Clay Sutton, Sheri Williamson, Ted Floyd, Lang Elliott, and Julie Zickefoose.
I give Good Birders Don’t Wear White 3 and a half Goldfinches out of five.