I became enchanted by the prairie grasslands more than 40 years ago, and have been bewitched by birds even longer. This book combines both of these personal passions. But it is more than just a book a
I became enchanted by the prairie grasslands more than 40 years ago, and have been bewitched by birds even longer. This book combines both of these personal passions. But it is more than just a book about the birds of the prairies; it is a celebration of the beauty and biology of the natural world.
Originally, native prairie grasslands occupied the entire central core of North America, roughly 138 million hectares (340 million acres). This vast expanse of grass and sky stretched for over 2000 kilometres (1200 mi) from the aspen parklands of western Canada south to Texas, and from the jagged summits of the Rocky Mountains to the eastern hardwood forests. Today, more than 80 percent of the continent's grasslands are no more than a memory, and native prairie continues to disappear at a rate of 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres) a year — victims of urban sprawl and humanity's insatiable appetite for cropland. It is no surprise that grassland birds are declining more rapidly than any other avian community in North America. The best way to preserve these last remnants of prairie grasslands and their wildlife is to understand what we will lose if we do nothing to protect them.
The habitat that most people associate with the prairies is the rolling grassy plains. Yet the prairie grasslands is a wonderful and surprising mosaic of many habitats. It includes wetlands, such as sloughs and marshes, rimmed with waving stands of cattails, as well as lazy, winding rivers, and large alkaline lakes. It also contains rolling dunescapes, sculpted badlands of multi-colored sandstone, and inviting wooded river valleys and coulees where you can retreat from the light and glare of the open skies. Together, these different wild habitats combine to make the prairie grasslands, and the birds that fill its skies, a natural sanctuary to soothe the psyche, challenge the mind, and rekindle the spirit.
Grassland birds live complex and intriguing lives and in A Celebration of Prairie Birds I share with you the many fascinating details that make these creatures so interesting and satisfying to watch.
View Biographical note
Recognized and respected as one of North America's leading wildlife and natural history photographers, Wayne Lynch has spent the last forty-two years capturing images of wildlife in wild places the world over. His impressive photo credits include hundreds of magazine covers, thousands of calendar shots, and tens of thousands of images published in over sixty countries. Lynch is also an award-winning science writer, a popular guest lecturer, and a veteran photo safari leader. His practical and entertaining approach to natural history, whether it be through the written or spoken word, has attracted the admiration of audiences worldwide. He has photographed both common and unusual creatures in their native habitat in more than fifty countries, travelling extensively for long periods of time and often undergoing considerable physical hardship to get the "perfect shot."
With an exceptional ability to write for both adults and children, Lynch has authored more than fifth highly acclaimed natural history books, including The Great Northern Kingdom: Life in the Boreal Forest, Wild Birds Across the Prairies, Penguins of the World,Mountain Bears, Bear: Monarchs of the Northern Wilderness, A is for Arctic: Natural Wonders of a Polar World, The Nature Babies Series and the wildly popular children's book The Scoop on Poop: The Fascinating Science of How Animals Use Poop.
Lynch is a Fellow of the internationally recognized Explorers Club and Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America. Lynch lives in Calgary with his wife of forty-five years, Aubrey Lang.
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"An inherently fascinating, entertaining and informative compendium of images and commentary that is a 'must' for all dedicated bird watchers, "Celebrating Prairie Birds" will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly appreciated addition to personal, professional, college, and university library Avian Wildlife collections in general, and Prairie Bird Field Guide lists in particular."
— Midwest Book Review
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Click here to see a slide show of the section of pages from the book profiling the prairie falcon.