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Fifty Common Birds of the Upper Midwest

Series: Bur Oak Books

By: Nancy Overcott (Author), Dana Gardner (Illustrator)

124 pages, 50 colour illustrations

University of Iowa Press

Hardback | May 2006 | #200158 | ISBN: 0877459835
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £29.95 $37/€34 approx

About this book

No bird is common, if we use “common” to mean ordinary. But birds that are seen more commonly than others can seem less noteworthy than species that are rarely glimpsed. In this gathering of essays and illustrations celebrating fifty of the most common birds of the Upper Midwest, illustrator Dana Gardner and writer Nancy Overcott encourage us to take a closer look at these familiar birds with renewed appreciation for their not-so-ordinary beauty and lifeways.

Beginning with the garishly colored male and the more gently colored female wood duck, whose tree cavity nest serves as a launching pad for ducklings in the summer months, and ending on a bright yellow note with the American goldfinch, whose cheerful presence enlivens the midwestern landscape all year long, Overcott combines field observations drawn from her twenty-plus years of living and birding in Minnesota’s Big Woods with anecdotes and data from other ornithologists to portray each species’ life cycle, its vocalizations and appearance, and its habitat, food, and foraging methods as well as migration patterns and distribution. Infused with a dedication to conserving natural resources, her succinct yet personable prose forms an ideal complement to Gardner’s watercolors as this renowned illustrator of avian life worldwide revisits the birds of his childhood.


Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
Ruffed Grouse, Bonasa umbellus
Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo
Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Sharp-shinned Hawk, Accipiter striatus
Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus
American Woodcock, Scolopax minor
Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
Black-billed Cuckoo, Coccyzus erythropthalmus
Eastern Screech-Owl, Otus asio
Barred Owl, Strix varia
Whip-poor-will, Caprimulgus vociferus
Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris
Belted Kingfisher, Ceryle alcyon
Red-bellied Woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus
Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens
Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
Pileated Woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus
Eastern Phoebe, Sayornis phoebe
Eastern Kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus
Red-eyed Vireo, Vireo olivaceus
Blue Jay, Cyanocitta cristata
Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica
Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapilla
Tufted Titmouse, Baeolophus bicolor
White-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
Eastern Bluebird, Sialia sialis
American Robin, Turdus migratorius
Gray Catbird, Dumetella carolinesis
Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum
American Redstart, Setophaga ruticilla
Ovenbird, Seiurus aurocapillus
Eastern Towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Field Sparrow, Spizella pusilla
Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
White-throated Sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis
Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis
Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus
Indigo Bunting, Passerina cyanea
Bobolink, Dolichonyx oryzivorus
Red-winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
Baltimore Oriole, Icterus galbula
American Goldfinch, Carduelis tristis
Recommended Reading
Basic Field Guides to Birds

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