The Red Book of Birds of America

One of the most prized possessions in my extended family is a little and incomplete set of books far from mint condition published by Whitman in MCMLIV. Two generations have learned their birds at an early age by paging through these little guides just right for a child's hands. Two generations have been mesmerized by the poetry in a list of bird names when read aloud.

The Red Book of Birds of America is our favorite in what was originally a set of four tiny books. My thirteen year old nephew hated to part with this precious token of his childhood long enough for me to scan some of the loose pages. I understand completely.

My oldest son with his precocious auditory memory learned the duck names in order by age two, and was particularly fond of the "blue winged teal".

The Yellow Book of Birds of America vanished or crumbled before my kids were born. The Green, Blue, and Red books are held together with clear Contac paper. Some child teethed on the upper page corners of the Blue book with its "Jays, Larks, Orioles, Grackles, Finches, Sparrows, Grosbeaks, Blackbirds, Buntings, etc." The lower corners of the red-winged blackbird and the meadowlark show gnaw marks, too.

The Green book was the best at bedtime. The pages of the preface have been decorated with drawings of houses and apartment buildings in blue and purple crayon. A child has done some pencil arithmetic there, too.

In your insomnia consider:

Scarlet Tanager
Western Tanager
Summer Tanager
Cedar Waxwing
Bohemian Waxwing
Golden-Crowned Kinglet
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
Red-Eyed Vireo
Blue-Headed Vireo
Yellow-Throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Black and White Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Blue-Winged Warbler
Golden-Winged Warbler
Black-Poll Warbler
Chestnut-Sided Warbler
Orange-Crowned Warbler
Parula Warbler

© 2007 Nancy L. Ruder

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