Get Lit: Birds of Texas, by Keith A. Arnold and Gregory Kennedy

Just holding this book is a delight; it’s one of those whose weight and texture just feels great in your hands. And okay so what if you have no idea of the difference between a “great crested flycatcher” and a “brown-crested flycatcher” -- you could learn.

Beautiful photographs coupled with clear, entertaining writing make Birds of Texas a good investment for both beginning and experienced birders. Keith A. Arnold is a professor emeritus at Texas A&M after teaching ornithology for 40 years, while Gregory Kennedy is a frequent author of books on natural history.

By narrowing down the birds to those commonly sighted in Texas, the authors give novice birders a chance to get a start on a whole new world before expanding to other parts of the country and beyond. This is a book that will appeal to lovers of trivia as well, loaded as it is with little known facts about the avian community. For instance: Most of the birds in Texas are nonpasserine or non perching birds. And the nonpasserines such as waterfowl and shorebirds (to name a few) do not sing; they “call.”

The book also tells readers the best birding spots in Texas and good times to go there. Add a hat, sturdy shoes and a set of binoculars, and off you go. – Margaret Downing

Birds of Texas, by Keith A. Arnold and Gregory Kennedy, Lone Pine Publishing International, $21.95

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