Jajean Rose Burney, Brenda Young, and Gerry Rising visiting Ring-billed Gull rookery on Buffalo's Outer Harbor.
Jajean Rose Burney, Brenda Young, and Gerry Rising visiting Ring-billed Gull rookery on Buffalo's Outer Harbor.

Birds and Birdwatchers, A new book by Gerry Rising

by / Sep. 8, 2016 8am EST


Birds and Birdwatchers

A new book by Gerry Rising

This Friday September 9, 2016 Gerry Rising, one of the world’s most preeminent outdoor and science educators will participate in a book signing for his new book, Birds and Bird Watching-100 Brief Essays. The event is open and free to the public and will take place at Talking Leaves Bookstore 3158 Main Street, Buffalo.

I have known Gerry Rising for almost 30 years, pre-dating his career at the Buffalo News Nature Watch columnist which appeared every Sunday for 25 years. The Nature Watch column is arguably the most important column that the Buffalo News ever published.

Gerry has been watching birds, studying and writing about nature for 80 years. He served as editor of the New York State Ornithological Journal The Kingbird, and has made significant contribution to ornithological knowledge literature throughout his life. Gerry Rising is one of our great conservation heroes. It is a honor to call Gerry my friend.

Now, almost a year since he was unceremoniously dumped from the Buffalo News

He now has a new book, a compilation of essays and stories about my favorite subjects. Birds and Birdwatchers. 

Gerry writes brilliantly and in a charming and engaging manner about all sorts of bird things and bird people, both historic and contemporary. Some are about local things and people, and some take us on journeys that help us to understand our hyper-local connection to global contexts. These contexts include science, math, migrations, history, and people. But make no mistake. This is not just about birds and bird people. These essays help to open a whole world of nature. This book is a gateway to understanding from our own front yards here in the Niagara Frontier, the complex beauty and interconnections of the natural world and people. This book helps us, as humans, to understand our place in the natural world. 

The essays have titles that are pragmatic pointers to the essays contents. The stories are outstanding discussions and discourses on so many things that are important to science, understanding, and Gerry’s life long love of nature, people, conservation, education, and birds.

I tried to identify a couple of essays that I could describe as my favorites, but alas, as I read through the book, each essay became my favorite, so I can not whittle it down.  Here is a sampling of some of the 100 essay titles:

“Audubon and Wilson”, “Snowy Owl Incursion”, “Christmas Counts”, “Once in a Lifetime”, “Loon Story”, “Blue Birds”, “Spring Arrival Dates”, “Booby”, “Passenger Pigeon”, “Niagara Birds”, “American Ambassadors”, “Niagara River Gulls”, “Bird Questions”, “Crows”, “Stadium Fallout”, “Fall Bird Migration”, “Hummingbird Myths”, “Birds and Cats”, “Bird Surnames”.

These essays contain enormous amounts of easily understandable and compelling information about why birds are important, how and why they can be delightful, and the things that we as the human species can do in order to preserve and enjoy the wildlife and the biodiverse ecosystems that they are an integral part of. Please come out to celebrate this new publication with Gerry and his friends, this Friday night at Talking Leaves Books on Main Street in Buffalo.

Wait, I do have a favorite part of this book!  The Dedication! While Gerry has spent a lifetime celebrating, saving, and teaching about nature, it is clear that his work is for future generations.  I applaud and double down on encouraging those that will come after us to reinforce our capacity to live with nature and make a future that works!

DEDICATION This book is dedicated to those young men and women, especially those who are teenagers and even younger, who separate themselves from the crowd, as I did, to become birdwatchers, and for whom the cry, “Look! Look!” is not a trick to divert attention, because there really is a tanager in that tree or a kettle of hawks circling those clouds. 


Gerry will also be the guest of honor at the Western New York Land Conservancy’s Annual Gala later this month. For more information and Tickets Click Here