Book Review: Bay Area Birds

This latest book from David Lukas is a gem. It is concise, rigorously researched, well written, comprehensive, and conveys a deep love of nature. This is not an identification manual but rich accounts of the natural history stories behind the birds. Lukas gives detailed life histories of 320 of the birds that live in or pass through the Bay Area.

There are a lot of books out there that recycle the same tired facts. That is not the case here. To test it, I opened to a bird I know well, the Acorn Woodpecker, and read the entry to see if I could learn something new. I started counting on my fingers the number of things that Lukas describes that I did not know. At ten I took off my shoes and kept counting on my toes. I need to come up with a better system- there were more than twenty. Lukas also gives specific information about when, where, and how the birds move through the Bay Area. For instance he gives the dates, time and locations to see the massive migratory flocks of Vaux’s Swifts descending into evening roosts, an amazing spectacle and timing and location are important. I am currently working on a guide to the natural history of Coastal California that focuses more on identification. Bay Area Birds is going to be a great resource and reference for my work. To order, go to: