BOOKS: The Backyard Bird Lover’s How-to-guide

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2010:
(Actual press date November 3.)

The backyard bird lover’s ultimate how-to-guide
by Sally Roth
(Rodale Press, 33 East Minor Street, Emmaus, PA 18098), 2010.
316 pages, paperback. $21.99.

I know very little about birds except that the feeder outside
my trailer needs refilling every few days and I hear lots of
chirping. After reviewing Sally Roth’s new book, The Backyard Bird
Lover’s Ultimate How-to-Guide, I know a lot more about my feathery
friends. Roth knows birds and shares her vast experience as a
naturalist, writer and gardener. Roth introduces species including
the scarlett tanager, indigo bunting, and gray catbird, describes
what they eat, and offers recipes for birdseed mixes. “Catbirds get
corny,” for example, is a blend of suet, peanut butter, cornmeal,
wheat flour, apples, and sunflower chips.

An informative discussion of feeders considers when to feed,
where to locate a feed, and what kind to buy. Roth also explains
the ins and outs of bird baths, bird houses, and nesting. She
recommends plants, especially berry bushes, that provide the
preferred foods and nesting locations for the species one wishes to
encourage. But Roth emphasizes the importance of allowing nesting
birds to keep their privacy. If you see a bird carrying nesting
material, Roth says, watch where the bird goes, and then stay away
from that area. Privacy, to a bird, means security from predators,
including free-roaming pet cats, who outnumber feral cats in the
U.S. by about three to one. Roth recommends keeping pet cats
indoors, which ensures that both cats and birds will live longer.
–Debra J. White

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