Feather Brained

My Bumbling Quest to Become a Birder and Find a Rare Bird on My Own

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Pub Date 18 Apr 2016 | Archive Date 04 Jun 2016
University of Michigan Press, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN REGIONAL

Description

For much of his life, the closest Bob Tarte got to a nature walk was the stroll from parking lot to picnic table on family outings. But then a chance sighting of a dazzling rose-breasted grosbeak in wife-to-be Linda’s backyard prompts a fascination with birds, which he had never cared about before in the least. Soon he is obsessed with spotting more and more of them—the rarer the better—and embarks on a bumpy journey to improve his bumbling birding skills. Along the way, Tarte offers readers a droll look at the pleasures and pitfalls he encounters, introduces a colorful cast of fellow birders from across the country, and travels to some of the premier birding sites in the Midwest, including Point Pelee, Magee Marsh, Tawas Point State Park, and even Muskegon Wastewater System. This funny, heartfelt memoir will appeal to birders of all skill levels as well as to anyone who knows and loves a birder.

For much of his life, the closest Bob Tarte got to a nature walk was the stroll from parking lot to picnic table on family outings. But then a chance sighting of a dazzling rose-breasted grosbeak in...


Advance Praise

“[Tarte’s] unforgettable family—feathered, furred and (the human ones, mostly) flummoxed—is one you’ll love visiting.”
—Sy Montgomery, Author of The Good Good Pig
“Bob’s tone is self-deprecating, humorous, and totally winsome.”
—Nancy Pearl, NPR Morning Edition
“Tarte’s laughter-through-tears approach is therapeutic and inspirational.”
Entertainment Weekly

“[Tarte’s] unforgettable family—feathered, furred and (the human ones, mostly) flummoxed—is one you’ll love visiting.”
—Sy Montgomery, Author of The Good Good Pig
“Bob’s tone is self-deprecating...


Available Editions

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ISBN 9780472119868
PRICE $22.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Bob Tarte has written a great humorous ode to birding here that anyone would enjoy. I loved his lyrical writing style and the many descriptions of different birds. Its a fun book to read and also very educational ! For someone that started without knowledge of birds, he has done research and educated himself very well in many different types of birds. A delight to read! Well Done.

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Bob Tarte is a brilliant writer. His books are filled with warm wit and wisdom. Bob shares his experiences with animals in a relatable, down to earth manner. He never disappoints his readers. I recommend all of Bob Tarte's books.

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Feather Brained is quite simply entertaining. Tarte relates 20 years of stories related to birds as he observes them in the backyard, chases them across the state of Michigan, and feeds them as part of a rescue operation in his home. He's self-deprecating in a hyper-competitive hobby, and takes his time getting to know the birds and birders of Michigan, losing interest often but then catching the the fever again. As much as it is a story about Bob and birds, it's a story of Bob and his wife Linda, who seems quirky and lovely, and there are moments in the book that pass as a love letter to her. The changes of pace make the book work. There are reverent moments of awe and love, goofy mishaps, snooty birders, hilarious understatement, obscure pop culture similes, and eye-popping descriptions of their animal-dominated home. All in all one of the most enjoyable nature books I've read. I got a free copy of this from Net Galley.

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Bob Tarte does it again with another hilarious tale of the strange ways his life intersects with the animal kingdom.

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I grew up in a family of birders and nature lovers. This book brought back all of the humorous birding situations of my youth. Laugh out loud funny. I will be buying a copy for my parents and each of my brothers.

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A beautiful warmly written account of falling in love with our feathered friends. Bob is very honest about his somewhat delayed adoration of bird watching but as he leads us through his slow growing love for birds I found myself inspired by his enthusiasm. This is not just a book for enthusiastic bird watchers but for those who perhaps find themselves wondering about the many birds that land in their yard on a daily basis.

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