Life of the Tanager
Illustrated by Dana Gardner
Alexander F. Skutch has spent more than 40 years studying Neotropical birds, mostly in southern Costa Rica, where he makes his home. In this charming book he observes the habits of the tanagers, a family of some 230 species of brightly colored, predominantly fruit-eating birds of the New World.
Skutch describes many of the unusual things he has seen tanagers do, and details their behavior: how they forage and feed, vocalize, interact with one another, court, and breed. He tells how they nest, care for their young, and defend against predators, and shows them in such daily activities as grooming and sleeping. His final chapter is devoted to the present status of tanagers in relation to humans and the destruction of their physical environment. Dana Gardener has provided 19 black-and-white drawings of various species, and a set of 24 of his watercolors illustrate the brilliant colors of the birds and of the tropical vegetation they inhabit..
Written in Skutch's inimitable style, Life of the Tanager conveys eloquently his views on conservation, ecology, and evolution. It is sound natural history, sprinkled with a unique blend of personal observation and theoretical reflection. It will be treasured by both amateur birders and professionals.