Armchair Birding: “Brushed by Feathers,” by Frances L. Wood

brushed_feathers_book_better-229x345It’s 15 degrees outside, the snow is not so much falling as being hurled against the windowpane, and the highway patrol has just closed the interstate. You are itching to go birding. What’s a snowed-in birder to do? One solution is to grab a fuzzy blanket, a nice cup of  hot tea, and hunker down with a copy of Brushed by Feathers, by Frances L. Wood.

Starting in January, Wood chronicles a year of birdwatching from her perspective as a naturalist, artist, speaker and writer. While the material is factual and informative, the true worth of this book is the way in which it is presented. The author comes across as an old friend sharing her birding journal with you.

Maggie Seymour, reviewing this book on Amazon.com, says it perfectly: “This is one of those books that becomes a journey, transporting you to another place with the author your gentle ever-present guide, making it all happen, yet remaining completely unobtrusive.”

If that isn’t enough to make you want to read this book, consider this: So many birding books and magazines are written from the point of view of an easterner. The species mentioned don’t occur in Colorado. Frances Wood lives on Whidbey Island, in Puget Sound, and does most of her birding in the West. I was familiar with many of the birds she writes about. It was a refreshing change.

This isn’t a book to be gulped, but rather sipped slowly, like the tea in your cup. Since each chapter is only a few pages long, it’s the perfect bedtime read, soothing and without suspense. While our local library has it available, this is a volume to be owned and savored. So let it snow—it’s a great excuse to have a good read.

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