"The thrill of quiet adventure. The constant hope of discovery. The reminder that the world is filled with wonder. When I bird, life is bigger, more vibrant." That is why Susan Fox Rogers is a birder. Learning the Birds is the story of how encounters with birds recharged her adventurous spirit.
When the birds first called, Rogers was in a slack season of her life. The woods and rivers that enthralled her younger self had lost some of their luster. It was the song of a thrush that reawakened Rogers, sparking a long-held desire to know the birds that accompanied her as she rock climbed and paddled, to know the world around her with greater depth. Energized by her curiosity, she followed the birds as they drew her deeper into her authentic self, and ultimately into love.
In Learning the Birds, we join Rogers as she becomes a birder and joins the community of passionate and quirky bird people. We meet her birding companions close to home in New York State's Hudson Valley as well as in the desert of Arizona and awash in the midnight sunlight of Alaska. Along on the journey are birders and estimable ornithologists of past generations—people like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Florence Merriam Bailey—whose writings inspire Rogers's adventures and discoveries. A ready, knowledgeable, and humble friend and explorer, Rogers is eager to share what she sees and learns.
Learning the Birds will remind you of our passionate need for wonder and our connection to the wild creatures with whom we share the land.
"A quiet and transformative book by a master of the essay form, Learning the Birds makes beautiful connections between personal mid-life anxieties and life lessons. Susan Fox Rogers illuminates how discomfort and risk-taking are the road to self-understanding."-Jen Hill, editor of An Exhilaration of Wing
"Learning the Birds is a perfectly balanced blend of history, science, travel, and adventure. Susan Fox Rogers's midlife memoir captures the sense of wonder that comes with discovering the vibrant world of birds and provides an authentic, often-humorous depiction of what it feels like to experience that world with newfound friends and community."-Katie Fallon, author of Vulture
"Susan Fox Rogers came to birds relatively late in life and she came with the passion of a convert. What readers will find in this beautifully written memoir is an invitation into a secret and thrilling world. Those who accept the invitation will find themselves transported."-David Gessner, author of Return of the Osprey
"An elegant tapestry of avian adventure, ornithological history, personal reflection, and pure great storytelling, Learning the Birds draws us into profound intimacy with the winged ones in our midst. In this radiant book, birds become a guidepost to a deeper path. Susan Fox Rogers's gorgeous writing takes us straight into the heart of our relationship with the natural world—a rediscovery of connection, awe, hope, and authentic belonging."-Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of Rooted