The Birds of Kentucky (Gorgeous and Informative Guide)
The Birds of Kentucky from The University Press of Kentucky is a MUST for all bird watchers who want more information about the birds they love so much. I was recently sent this absolutely beautiful and wonderfully informative book to share with you and it’s my pleasure to do so.
- What’s the most common sparrow at Kentucky’s feeders each winter?
- How can I identify backyard birds in Kentucky?
- What bird is affectionately called the Snowbird?
- What’s a Bobolink and have I ever seen one?!
- What type of birds are common in Kentucky?
- What’s the difference between the different varieties of hawks?
- What areas of Kentucky are Red-Tailed hawks most abundant?
- Did I just see a Downy Woodpecker or a Pileated Woodpecker?
- Which owls are found most often in Kentucky and which are rare but treasured visitors?
These questions and MANY, MANY, MANY more questions about birds (and identifying birds) in Kentucky can be found in this very delightful to spend time with book.
This elaborate and beautiful bird guide was written by Burt L. Monroe, Jr., professor and chairman of the Department of Biology at the University of Louisville from 1970-1993. The gorgeous book (very worthy of being a coffee table book – in fact, I’ve never wished I had a coffee table more than I do right now!) features original paintings by the wonderful wildlife artist William Zimmerman.
Zimmerman’s paintings and drawings remind me a great deal of John James Audubon – praise does NOT get much sweeter than that.
His beautiful paintings of Kentucky’s birds are so wonderful, if you’re able to get your hands on two copies of this book, using one for a bird guide and resource, while using the pictures from the other one to frame and group on a wall would be ideal for any bird enthusiast’s home.
(Continued below the Rough-Legged Hawk)
I chose to use the photo of the Rough-legged hawk because, not only is it a stunning photo, but I actually learned things about him I didn’t know! In fact, even though I have loved and studied birds all my life, this excellent guide taught me A LOT. After reading through it (cover to cover because it’s downright nectar to a bird lover), the first thought into my mind was, “I feel like I just took a fascinating college course in bird watching.”
Now, each time I see a particular bird, my mind pulls up the new information I have in my mental library.
Knowledge is such an adrenaline rush!
One of the things I love most about this beautiful Kentucky bird guide is the respect and passion for birds that comes through each of the author’s words. He obviously cared a great deal about birds and his love for them is palpable. As a bird lover myself, I can’t even put it into words how drawn I am to this.
Something else I appreciate a great deal is this: A lot of bird guides and reference books read kind of like the birding nerd Jane Hathaway (from The Beverly Hillbillies) hung around with on an episode or two. Big, dry words… and half of them in Latin!… with no color or personality to them… just strung together, seemingly in an attempt to bore you to tears! Come on, let’s be honest, here… a lot of bird guides and bird reference books are guilty of this very description. In fact, they’ve kind of given bird guides a bad name with their own dryness!
The Birds of Kentucky is the polar opposite of this description. The author and artist obviously realize that birds are extraordinarily colorful and FULL of personality, so a book about them should be as well!
Jane Hathaway (a bird enthusiast as well as a Jethro enthusiast) would have passed out from joy had she read this book.
From the Back Cover:
The first of its kind to be published for the Bluegrass State, this book is designed to provide an accurate and scientifically rigorous description of all the species of birds found in Kentucky. This comprehensive guide features a wealth of information, including abundance records, migration dates, and additional reference material, and indicates whether a bird is a permanent resident, winter resident, summer resident, visitant, or transient. Additionally, author Burt L. Monroe reviews the history of ornithologists who have worked in Kentucky and outlines the physiography of the state as it relates to birding.
More than just a verbal portrait of Kentucky avifauna, The Birds of Kentucky includes fifty-one color paintings by the renowned wildlife artist William Zimmerman, whose work has been favorably compared to that of John James Audubon. In contrast to Audubon’s romanticism and often tortuous style, however, Zimmerman offers us “comfortable” birds that look as if they are about to take wing and leave the page.
Beautifully illustrated and based on a lifetime of field observation and research, this book provides an excellent guide to the natural history of the birds of the Bluegrass.
The Birds of Kentucky from The University Press of Kentucky would make a PERFECT Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift – just be CERTAIN you grab a copy for yourself. You are going to absolutely love everything about this beautiful guide.
The Birds of Kentucky Bird Guide by Burt L. Monroe Jr.
Reviews for The Birds of Kentucky:
“A pleasing blend of artistry and informative text that will be hard for local bird enthusiasts and casual, armchair birders to resist.” ~ Brainard Palmer-Ball Jr., Birding Magazine
“This book is not only scientifically accurate but a visual delight and one that is sure to please any birder or naturalist.” ~ Indiana Audubon Quarterly