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Building a better life for avians

The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds Creating Natural Habitats for Properties Large and Small, Second Edition Stephen W. Kress Cornell University, $24.95

September 14, 2006|Lili Singer

This comprehensive guide for landscapers, birders, gardeners, foresters and naturalists is far more than your typical backyard birding book. Yes, there are birdhouse plans, plus bird-attracting plants listed by region. But the emphasis is on overall stewardship and building healthy natural habitats, large and small.

"Improving the quality of land for wildlife," writes the author, "is the single most constructive step that anyone can take to assist wild bird populations." He suggests less lawn, more meadow; invasive plants out, natives in; fallen leaves left in place; no chemical pesticides.

The book's science-based text is user-friendly, with lovely illustrations of birds and good ones of plants. The technical drawings a la Popular Mechanics are fantastic. They depict a wide, well-tested range of nesting boxes, roosting structures, platforms, feeders and water features. Ample references and helpful agencies are included, but the list of plant sources for this region is sorely lacking.

-- Lili Singer

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