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What It’s Like to Be a Bird

David Allen Sibley
Knopf, 203 pages

One could ask why a book of ornithology is in a journal for Presbyterian church leaders. What does the behavior of birds have to do with church leadership? Fair enough. One might ask the same of John Calvin who once said, “Nature is the theater of God’s glory.” Reflecting on the wonders of creation, Calvin testified he was “ravished by beauty.” Likewise, as we enter more deeply into understanding these wonders, inextricably do we draw closer to God our creator. The “world is charged with the grandeur of God,” said the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. Birds are remarkable creatures whose beautiful songs and colorful bodies bring us joy and delight.

David Sibley is a renowned author and illustrator who has published many bird guides. This book is a collection of information about more than 200 species with 330 new illustrations. It is a perfect book for those interested in learning more about birds, especially the familiar birds in our backyards and urban parks. This is a book for families who want to explore the world of birds with children and grandchildren. In addition to the illustrations of birds in action, one learns a great deal about the “why” of bird behavior. It compels one into the “theater of God’s glory” to experience that sense of being ravished by the beauty of these creatures. This is one of the best introductory books on birding for all ages. Get a pair of binoculars. Step forth into the woods. There you will discover the glory of God in the song, flight and presence of birds.