Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Books That Inspire

I’m an avid birder. My fascination with bird life is an ongoing hobby, started about ten years ago. I’m proud to say that I have 78 birds on my life list. The most recent was a pileated woodpecker sighted in Door County Wisconsin.

It all started with one book called The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession. Every year beginning on January 1st, another Big Year begins. It’s a full calendar year marathon to see who can sight the most birds. The Big Year follows three men in 1998 as they battle their way across deserts, bodies of water, and mountains to come in first. At the end of this particular year, one man (can’t tell you which one) counted 765 different species. The story is funny and nuts and thoroughly engaging.

Which brings me to another story told to me recently about a man who taught his yellow crested cockatoo to sit on his shoulder. One spring day, he forgot that the parrot was on his shoulder and went outdoors. The bird promptly flew off, ignoring the man’s special whistle. The summer went by without any sign of the cockatoo. Fall came and the man was outside when he spotted a flock of pigeons flying overhead. One of the flockers (is that a word?) had a yellow headcrest.

He whistled his special cockatoo call. The bird left the group of other birds and descended.
And that’s how the man got his bird back.

So, because of that one little book, a passion was born.
Has that ever happened to you?


Barbara said...

My passion for the outdoors is the result of a body of work rather than one book. Hal Borland was a naturalist/author who wrote the Sunday nature column for the NY Times and also wrote many books. He wrote about nature out your back door - not in far off Alaska or someplace - and that got me interested. Many years later I worked as an assistant to his widow; what brought us together was how much she missed him and how much I missed his writing.

Deb said...

I'm going to check and see if his books are still available.

Heather Webber said...

I always want to be a better cook, knitter, crochet-er after reading cozies. LOL. Never quite achieve it, though. My husband is an avid bird watcher--I'm going to have to get this book for him.

Dru said...

When I first learned quilting, I bought several beginners guide to quilting just to get an idea of what projects I could make.

signlady217 said...

It happens to me pretty much any time I open a book! :) It can be on any topic, too, it doesn't seem to matter. My brain gets going on the "What if"s and the "I wish I could"s. (Trust me, I still don't like mechanic's grease under my nails any more than the next girl!)

Rosemary Harris said...

Unfortunately the zeal for - whatever it is - fades when I pick up the next book, which is the reason I'm not a world-class mountain climber, collage artist or gourmet chef. Deb, you never ceaase to amaze me. were missed in Arlington. it was duller without you.

CindyD said...

Did you know that they're making a movie THE BIG YEAR? Starring Jack Black, so who knows what they'll do with it!
My daughter the birder and my husband and I all read it recently and loved it! Especially all the Arizona references.
My life list has 101 birds on it, thanks to my daughter.

Deb said...

What!!!! Wow! A movie. And I love Jack Black. Thanks for the info.

Helen Kiker said...

I like birds and have had bird feeders at most of the homes we lived in. We had a pileated woodpecker at one of the homes which was on an couple acre wooded lot. There were always piles of chips under the trees - in fact two of the trees finally died from lack of bark. That place also had an owl and bats - the bats I did not like very much.

Helen Kiker

Lover of Books said...

We have quite a few birds visit our deck thanks to the bird feeder above us. Well that and squirrels. lol

I get inspired by stories I can relate to whether fiction or non-fiction. Most of the time it is better planning still won't help me. lol


Debra said...

The first grade curriculum at my son's school was a study of birds,culminating in a Bird Museum of paper mache birds. Can't remember the name of the book,but I remember at the time reading a cozy mystery with a bird-watching theme.
I learn so much from cozy mysteries,for example for a while I was hooked on mysteries set in Scandinavia.

Jan said...

I've birded for ages. It's more difficult in AZ than it is in NY, but here I have hummingbirds in my yard instead of Blue Jays. As for a book that gave me "passion" for a subject? Lorna's 1st Booktown Mystery. Yup. Because of that book I've read probably over 100 cozy mysteries, including most of you ladies that write this blog. It's all her fault! :)