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An Enchantment of Birds

Memories from a Birder's Life

Regular price $29.95 CAD
  • ISBN: 9781553652359
  • Tags: Biography & Memoir, Donald Gunn, Nature & Environment, Richard Cannings,
  • Dimensions: 5.75 x 8
  • Published On: 3/29/2007
  • 208 Pages
  • ISBN: 9781926685083
  • Tags: Biography & Memoir, Donald Gunn, Nature & Environment, Richard Cannings,
  • Published On: 04/09/2007
  • 208 Pages

In these delightful meditations, biologist and bird lover Richard Cannings weaves stories of his personal encounters with birds into fascinating descriptions of their behavior, anatomy, and evolution. He muses over the meadowlarks' ability to hide their nests so completely that he has seen only two in a lifetime spent searching for them; the trumpeter swan, as picky as a two-year old, devouring potatoes and carrots but turning up its beak at Brussels sprouts; the northern gannet, with its snowy plumage, black wingtips, and startling blue eyes; the little saw-whet owl, which dabbles in bigamy and even trigamy; and more than two dozen other birds. Covering the entire continent, from the cacophony of a seabird colony on the shores of the Atlantic to a symphony of snow geese on the autumn plains to songbird courtship in the alpine tundra of the Rockies, An Enchantment of Birds informs and entertains, in one fell swoop.

Published in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation.

Richard Cannings is a veteran biologist, birder, and nature writer. A lifetime resident of B.C.’s Okanagan Valley, he is a founding director of the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance and a member of the national board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. He is the author of Birds of Interior BC and the Rockies, An Enchantment of Birds, and The Rockies: A Natural History, and is co-author of Birds of Southwestern British Columbia and British Columbia: A Natural History. He lives in Penticton, BC.

Donald Gunn's original artwork has appeared in hundreds of publications including: An Enchantment of Birds, The Natural History of British Columbia, The Rodents and Lagomorphs of BC, and The Carnivores of BC.


"[Cannings's] witty observations about bird behaviours combined with his love of birds makes for an entertaining read." -Tricity News

"Cannings is also a biologist by trade, but the bird lover in him, makes his interactions with birds all the more profound and special." -Shelf Life

"Richard Cannings is one of Canada's finest naturalist authors and his new book is . . . packed with tales about the creatures that make bird listeners twitch with excitement: the strange, insectivorous flammulated owl; the increasingly rare white-headed woodpecker; the hibernating poorwill." -Canadian Geographic

"Richard Cannings is one of those rare birds -- a down-to-earth expert. Birders both experienced and novice are in good company with this inveterate and humorous naturalist, who shares his experiences and knowledge engagingly . . . Each species is deftly illustrated by Donald Gunn, whose affectionate sketches, personalized to fit the text, accurately catch the mood of the book . . . In the end, An Enchantment of Birds feels like a field trip with a knowledgeable friend: you have a good time and enjoy a few laughs while being shown interesting sights." -Quill & Quire

"A charming combination of memoir and natural history . . . [Cannings] has chosen 30 of his favourite birds in a seamless weaving of scientific and personal lore." -Globe & Mail

"The British Columbia duo of biologist Richard Cannings and designer/illustrator Donald Gunn has created a memoirish work practically guaranteed to charm the sensible woolly socks off Joey Slinger, Graeme Gibson and the legions of other fans of our feathered friends." -Toronto Star

"The melodic whistles and striking plumage of the meadowlark inspired what would become for Cannings a lifelong fascination with birds and their behaviour. As he grew up, he jotted down everything he saw and compiled a rich inventory of knowledge . . . His descriptions of the wonders of birdlife are charming and enlightening." -Hamilton Spectator