The Private Lives of Public Birds: Learning to Listen to the Birds Where We Live

The Private Lives of Public Birds: Learning to Listen to the Birds Where We Live
Paper Over Board, 5.5 x 8.5, 224 pages.
ISBN: 9781597145749.

By Jack Gedney

Jack Gedney’s studies of birds provide resonant, affirming answers to the questions: Who is this bird? In what way is it beautiful? Why does it matter? Masterfully linking an abundance of poetic references with up-to-date biological science, Gedney shares his devotion to everyday Western birds in fifteen essays. Each essay illuminates the life of a single species and its relationship to humans, and how these species can help us understand birds in general. A dedicated birdwatcher and teacher, Gedney finds wonder not only in the speed and glistening beauty of the Anna’s hummingbird, but also in her nest building. He acclaims the turkey vulture’s and red-tailed hawk’s roles in our ecosystem, and he venerates the inimitable California scrub jay’s work planting acorns. Knowing that we hear birds much more often than we see them, Gedney offers his expert’s ear to help us not only identify bird songs and calls but also understand what the birds are saying. The crowd at the suet feeder will never look quite the same again. Join Gedney in the enchanted world of these not–so–ordinary birds, each enlivened by a hand-drawn portrait by artist Anna Kus Park.



"With lyrical prose and joy-filled stories, this wise and generous book invites us to see better, listen better, and to celebrate the miracles happening around us in every yard and garden. If birds could read, they would say, This book gets it exactly right." Charles Hood, author of A Salad Only the Devil Would Eat
+ Show all reviews
Categories Forthcoming | Nature

About the Author

Jack Gedney

Jack Gedney

Jack Gedney was born in California, bounced around the United States in his youth, and returned to his home state to study literature and natural history at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also the author of a compact field guide to the trees of the San Francisco Bay Area and coowner of a wild bird feeding and nature shop in Novato, California. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


P.O. Box 9145Berkeley, CA 94709(510) 549-3564

vertical logo for Heyday Books

Newsletter Sign Up




Use code heyday20 at checkout!

click here to copy code

Privacy Preference Center