Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Review: "Winter World" by Bernd Heinrich

Product details:  Winter World by Bernard Heinrich, Published by Harper Perennial, ISBN 978-0061129070, available online from a variety of booksellers.

Although the natural world may look dormant at this time of year, the fact of the matter is that the fields and forests around us are still rich with animal life and activity. In Winter World, author and naturalist Bernd Heinrich opens a wonderful window into the lives of a range of animals who remain quite active throughout the winter months in New England, and chronicles the amazing adaptive traits and strategies which they rely on in order to survive in this harsh environment. Heinrich is the author of a number of excellent books about the natural world, including Mind of the Raven, a fascinating study of bird behavior which should be on the bookshelf of any serious birder. I would suggest that Winter World also deserves a place on the shelf of any serious naturalist, be they professional or amateur.

What's nice about Heinrich's work is that he somehow combines a rigorous exploration of the science involved in understanding the natural history of the birds, mammals and other creatures he writes about with a natural gift for storytelling. the end result is a narrative that is enjoyable and educational, and perhaps most importantly, inspiring. Winter World is one of very few books I have read more than once, and each time I feel inspired to go outside, to listen for Golden-crowned Kinglets in a Pine forest or take a closer look at a half-frozen pond or search for tracks in the snow.

Throughout it all, Heinrich's love for the natural world is palpable as he invites us into the world these creatures call home. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the outdoors and has ever wondered how the creatures who become so familiar in the warmer months are able to survive -  and in some cases even thrive -  throughout often difficult northern winters.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.

*Please note all reviews reflect my own personal opinions and experience, and I assume no responsibility for how, when or where the items or services discussed are used. Outdoor activities are inherently risky and anyone using the products or services discussed on this blog must make their own decisions when it comes to personal safety and comfort.

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