Book of Texas Birds
Ornithology - Natural History - Photography
7 x 10, 512 pp.
500 Color. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 11/14/2016
  flexbound (with flaps)
Price:        $39.95

978-1-62349-431-5
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Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Book of Texas Birds

Gary Clark
Photographs by Kathy Adams Clark

Drawing on the knowledge and insight gained from a lifetime of watching, studying, and enjoying birds, this book is full of information about more than four hundred species of birds in Texas, most all of which author Gary Clark has seen first hand. Organized in the standard taxonomic order familiar to most birders, the book is written in a conversational tone that yields a wide-ranging discussion of each bird’s life history as well as an intimate look at some of its special characteristics and habits. Information regarding each species’ diet, voice, and nest is included as well as when and where it can be found in Texas. Magnificent photographs by Kathy Adams Clark accompany each bird’s entry.

For those just beginning to watch birds to those who can fully relate to the experiences and sentiments communicated here by a veteran birder, this book reveals the kind of personal connection to nature that careful attention to the birds around us can inspire.

GARY CLARK is professor, former dean, and former vice president at Lone Star College–North Harris County. He writes the weekly nature column for the Houston Chronicle and is the author of six books, including Enjoying Big Bend National Park: A Friendly Guide to Adventures for Everyone.
 
KATHY ADAMS CLARK owns The Woodlands-based photo agency KAC Productions and is past president of the North American Nature Photography Association. Her photographs have appeared in numerous magazines, books, and calendars, including Texas Parks & Wildlife, Texas Highways, Birder’s World, The New York Times, and National Geographic. She is the author of Photographing Big Bend National Park: A Friendly Guide to Great Images and provided the photographs for Enjoying Big Bend National Park: A Friendly Guide to Adventures for Everyone.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Gary Clark’s Book of Texas Birds, with photographs by his wife Kathy Clark, is an essential addition to the best of American natural history books—excellent detail in identification and description, eloquent writing with personal stories of encounter, and beautiful images woven into the text.  The book is easy to use for those wanting to know more about the birds they see everyday and the ones that are unique; however, it will also provide in-depth information to the avid birder. Book of Texas Birds is required for all Texas birders and should be required for all Texans to recognize more closely our diverse and unique natural heritage."—David Taylor, editor of Pride of Place: A Texas Nature Writing Anthology

Book of Texas Birds combines some of the best of both the field guide and the location guide, but it goes a big step further in describing personal experiences Gary has enjoyed with these birds. Gary takes the reader into his world where he has experienced the behavior and personalities of Texas birds and imparts upon us a true appreciation for the species. Take the journey with Gary and Kathy and I think you will appreciate our state’s avifauna more than you can imagine.”--Greg Lasley, award-winning nature photographer
 

“With the eye of an artist, the tongue of a poet, the mind of a scholar, the love of birds and a passion to share his love with his reader, Gary Clark has written the most user friendly bird identification book that exist. Field guides have great illustrations that show critical features to identify birds but have little text and are as dry as West Texas toast in July. Gary’s book, with its rich descriptive prose, conveys the beauty and eloquence of birds. The example of the brown pelican is typical.
 
The adult birds in their breeding plumage had silvery, grayish-brown bodies and a rich mahogany color that ran up the back of their long necks all the way to their napes. Their crowns had golden yellow feathers that extended slightly down the sides of their necks. Silky white feathers trimmed the front of their necks, setting off the blend of brown and yellow tones. How peacefully they seemed to repose on the docks, heads tilted back in order to park their bulky beaks on their breasts.
 
Now pick up your field guide, turn to the appropriate page and marvel at Kathy’s photo and read Gary’s prose. See how wonderful that previously boring field guide becomes. While their book only includes Texas birds, it will cover 90% of the birds that 90% of the people will encounter across 90% of the USA, with perhaps the exception of the pacific coast states.

I strongly recommend this book to all who have wondered “'What bird is that?'” Not only will this book help you answer your question, but you will learn interesting tidbits about the bird as well. You will come to appreciate the beauty and wonder of birds.”— Fred Collins, director of Kleb Woods Nature Preserve, Harris County Precinct 3
 

"The world is chock-a-block with bird books. In my early days of birding, such books were scarce. But, as the popularity of birding has increased, and people have become more sensitive to the nature that surrounds them, books about birds have proliferated.

How do you write something so extensively covered as birds, World War II, or American politics? Does the world really need another self-help guide? One way to escape the crowds to is express a personal perspective and experience. No one experiences life exactly as another person. We are singular. For example, each person's retina is unique; each of us sees the world through an ever-so-slightly different lens.

Gary Clark’s Book of Texas Birds is part field guide, part encyclopedia, part photo expose, and part memoir, and it is the latter that makes this one of the most interesting bird books to come from Texas in many years. This isn’t to say that each part isn’t exceptional. But, Gary’s writing about his life with birds is what grasped my attention.
 
Kathy Adams Clark’s lovely photographs side-dress the written words, making the book a family affair. I liked the juxtaposition of the two. At times, the two of them seem to share an insight into a bird they must have begun to express in independent ways. The photographs, as a result, are a comfortable complement to the text, resulting in a perfect marriage of the written word and illustration.
 
If I want to identify a bird, I will probably use one of the popular field guides. The same is true when I am searching out some tiny scrap of minutiae about an even tinier bird. But, how nice to have this encyclopedic information in one place, facts that frame the author’s unique understanding of and passion for the creatures he writes about.
 
The author’s passion for birds, after all, is what elevates this book to a plane above the pedestrian or the tiresome. Gary Clark clearly loves birds. His Book of Texas Birds is an exploration of his feelings for birds as much as his comprehensive understanding of them. As a result, the reader is treated to a book that is more literature than technical writing or scientific treatise.


I wholeheartedly endorse Book of Texas Birds, and I look forward to sharing it with my 92-year-old father. Like my father, most of us who are interested in Texas birds simply love their presence in our lives and want to know more about them. I do not need to study wood warbler tail feathers or the vagaries of fall plumages to simply love birds. Gary Clark as written a guide for us, the people who cannot imagine a life without birds." — Ted Lee Eubanks
 

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