Heinrich is sparked one early spring day by a question: Why does a pair of swallows in a nest-box close to his Maine cabin show an unvarying preference for white feathers—not easily available nearby—as nest lining? And he wonders, given swallows’ reputation for feistiness, at the extraordinary tameness and close contact he experiences with his nesting birds.
The engaging work is enhanced by the author’s own drawings and photographs as well as a survey of scientific literature. The detailed, inviting prose contains precise dates and times, forming a diary of Heinrich’s own observations, which also include thoughts on birdwatching and biology in general. Heinrich is a prolific, wide-ranging author who always finds nature compelling and makes it accessible for others ... This inviting work will draw in naturalists and birders, along with anyone wishing to learn more about animal behavior from a trusted guide.
... reveals much about the nesting behavior of these wild birds but even more about the lifestyle of a dedicated scientist ...
The author provides more information about the nesting behavior of tree swallows than most general readers will want to know, but the picture that emerges of a naturalist at work is impressive. Illustrations include eight pages of his own black-and-white close-up photographs and a scattering of delightful drawings of trees, nests, birds, feathers, and eggs ... Definitely one for dyed-in-the-wool bird lovers.