The Birds of Tanglewood
Texana
5.5 x 7.25, 160 pp.
13 drawings.
Pub Date: 02/23/2006
Sam Rayburn Series on Rural Life, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Commerce
  cloth
Price:        $16.95

978-1-58544-506-6

Published by Texas A&M University Press
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The Birds of Tanglewood

By Karle Wilson Baker
Illustrations by Charlotte Baker Montgomery

In the intimate language of one who watched birds daily, Karle Wilson Baker brought readers face to face with the wonders of the East Texas woods in the 1930s. She wrote about tiny warblers, industrious chickadees, and purple finches; the aery trills and tantalizing color flashes of the hummingbirds; the bell tones of the wood thrush; the daily visits and rare drop-ins of the prolific bird life of the region.

In a daily diary she kept throughout her life, Baker recorded her observations of the many birds that lived in the heavily wooded setting of her Nacogdoches home, called Tanglewood. When her family moved from the house, she collected her essays on bird life into this volume, illustrated by her daughter Charlotte and published in 1930.

Her little classic speaks with the voice of her times to readers today who enjoy their avian companions.

KARLE WILSON BAKER, the third person to be named a Fellow of the Texas Institute of Letters, was the best-known and most frequently anthologized poet from Texas in her time. CHARLOTTE BAKER MONTGOMERY became a celebrated author and illustrator of books for children. She still lives in Nacogdoches.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Karle Wilson Baker was ahead of her time in her passionate devotion of the observation of birds, sharing her delights and frustrations through a highly descriptive narrative that can be characterized as paintings with words. Her unabashedly anthropomorphic and engaging interpretations of the behaviors of familiar feathered friends are a delight to read, and her philosophical musings are sure to awaken or renew in the reader a deeper sense of appreciation for our avian neighbors and the real reasons we take such pleasure in observing them. The delightful drawings contributed by the author’s daughter, Charlotte Baker, add a sensitive charm to the work, providing a rare glimpse of days gone by.”--Mimi Hoppe Wolf

“Karle Wilson Baker was ahead of her time in her passionate devotion of the observation of birds, sharing her delights and frustrations through a highly descriptive narrative that can be characterized as paintings with words. Her unabashedly anthropomorphic and engaging interpretations of the behaviors of familiar feathered friends are a delight to read, and her philosophical musings are sure to awaken or renew in the reader a deeper sense of appreciation for our avian neighbors and the real reasons we take such pleasure in observing them. The delightful drawings contributed by the author’s daughter, Charlotte Baker, add a sensitive charm to the work, providing a rare glimpse of days gone by.” --Mimi Hoppe Wolf

“This elegant little tome is a must for anyone with more than a passing interest in the birds of Texas. The backyard bird-lover will be delighted by the accounts of our feathered friends with which we share the habitat, while even the most jaded birder cannot fail to be fascinated by the account of the great ‘fallout’ of migratory songbirds in April 1922. Today we have all of the technological advances of good optics and a plethora of field guides, but can we say that we truly enjoy the birds any more than this early observer? Karle Wilson Baker was a dedicated bird-watcher long before ‘to bird’ became a verb, an environmentalist before the word was coined, and she paints a vivid picture of an East Texas landscape now altered by the years gone by. With such timely advice as ‘train yourself to see and hear . . . be aware of every movement about you,’ she encourages us all to fully appreciate the life around us as she so clearly did.” --David E. Wolf

“Even though this book was written over 70 years ago, Mrs. Karle Wilson Baker’s acute powers of observation combined with her unique ability to describe what she sees, miraculously transports her readers to the magical world of Tanglewood, and lets them share her love and admiration for her feathered friends.” --Andrena Brunotte

…one of the most enduring and endearing classics of bird lore. No birder should be without it.” --Texas Illustrated Magazine

“…this volume provides an opportunity to experience the vivid imagery, descriptive narrative, and subtle symbolism that distinguished the prize-winning verses of the first woman writer to be named a Fellow of Texas Institute of Letters.” --Texas Books in Review

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