I became enchanted by the prairie grasslands more than 40 years ago, and have been bewitched by birds even longer. This book combines both of these personal passions. But it is more than just a book about the birds of the prairies; it is a celebration of the beauty and biology of the natural world.
Originally, native prairie grasslands occupied the entire central core of North America, roughly 138 million hectares (340 million acres). This vast expanse of grass and sky stretched for over 2000 kilometres (1200 mi) from the aspen parklands of western Canada south to Texas, and from the jagged summits of the Rocky Mountains to the eastern hardwood forests. Today, more than 80 percent of the continent's grasslands are no more than a memory, and native prairie continues to disappear at a rate of 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres) a year — victims of urban sprawl and humanity's insatiable appetite for cropland. It is no surprise that grassland birds are declining more rapidly than any other avian community in North America. The best way to preserve these last remnants of prairie grasslands and their wildlife is to understand what we will lose if we do nothing to protect them.
The habitat that most people associate with the prairies is the rolling grassy plains. Yet the prairie grasslands is a wonderful and surprising mosaic of many habitats. It includes wetlands, such as sloughs and marshes, rimmed with waving stands of cattails, as well as lazy, winding rivers, and large alkaline lakes. It also contains rolling dunescapes, sculpted badlands of multi-colored sandstone, and inviting wooded river valleys and coulees where you can retreat from the light and glare of the open skies. Together, these different wild habitats combine to make the prairie grasslands, and the birds that fill its skies, a natural sanctuary to soothe the psyche, challenge the mind, and rekindle the spirit.
Grassland birds live complex and intriguing lives and in A Celebration of Prairie Birds I share with you the many fascinating details that make these creatures so interesting and satisfying to watch.
About the author
Wildlife photographer and science writer Dr. Wayne Lynch has dedicated almost three decades to learning everything he can about these powerful mammals. In his quest for bears, he has crawled inside the winter dens of black bears and polar bears, held squirming grizzly cubs in his arms, sailed along the coastal rainforests of British Columbia, hiked the cloud forests of the Andes Mountains in South America and ridden elephants through the jungles of Nepal and India.
In Bears, Bears, Bears for Kids, his engaging guide to the world's eight bear species, Lynch introduces us to the strange and wonderful natural histories of these magnificent wild animals.
For more than 40 years, Dr. Wayne Lynch has been writing about and photographing the wildlands of the world from the stark beauty of the Arctic and Antarctic to the lush rainforests of the tropics. Today, he is one of Canada's best-known and most widely published nature writers and wildlife photographers. His photo credits include hundreds of magazine covers, thousands of calendar shots, and tens of thousands of images published in over 80 countries. He is also the author/photographer of more than 45 books for children as well as over 20 highly acclaimed natural history books for adults including Windswept: A Passionate View of the Prairie Grasslands; Penguins of the World; Bears: Monarchs of the Northern Wilderness; A is for Arctic: Natural Wonders of a Polar World; Wild Birds Across the Prairies;Planet Arctic: Life at the Top of the World; The Great Northern Kingdom: Life in the Boreal Forest; Owls of the United States and Canada: A Complete Guide to their Biology and Behavior; Penguins: The World's Coolest Birds; Galapagos: A Traveler's Introduction; A Celebration of Prairie Birds; and Bears of the North: A Year Inside Their Worlds.In 2022, he released Wildlife of the Rockies for Kids and Loons: Treasured Symbols of the North. His books have won multiple awards and have been described as "a magical combination of words and images."
"An inherently fascinating, entertaining and informative compendium of images and commentary that is a 'must' for all dedicated bird watchers, "Celebrating Prairie Birds" will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly appreciated addition to personal, professional, college, and university library Avian Wildlife collections in general, and Prairie Bird Field Guide lists in particular."
— Midwest Book Review
Other titles by Wayne Lynch
Wildlife of the Arctic for Kids
Bears Bears Bears for Kids
Wildlife of the Rockies for Kids
The Scoop on Poop
The Fascinating Science of How Animals Use Poop
The World's Coolest Birds