Friday, April 12, 2024

The Backyard Bird Chronicles

The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan
4/23/24; 320 pages
Knopf Doubleday

The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan is a delightful illustrated love story dedicated to birds and bird watching. It is very highly recommended. This is an amazing book and I can't wait to buy a hardcover copy.

In 2016 Amy Tan began keeping journals with drawings about the birds she observed in her northern California backyard. The Backyard Bird Chronicles represents material from nine journals full of observations from September 16, 2017 to December 15, 2022. Most of the entries are observations or lighthearted notes, but a few more serious events are also included, like the 2017 salmonellosis outbreak among Pine Siskins. She observes and identifies the many birds, the problems like squirrels, crows, cats, etc. At the end is a list of all the birds she has seen in her backyard as of Dec 2022, and a selected reading list.

This is a spectacular book! I can't even explain how much I adored this book. I loved the charming personal, reflective, humorous observations about the birds, the information, and especially the sketches of the birds she seeing. Tan is the daughter of an ornithologist, which explains some of her knowledge, but she also adores watching the birds. 

Her devotion to feeding them, providing water, and creating a welcoming habitat for a wide variety of birds is inspiring. David Allen Sibley, the acclaimed ornithologist, wrote the foreword and writes that this is a "collection of delightfully quirky, thoughtful, and personal observations of birds in sketches and words." Thanks to Knopf Doubleday for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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