Nocturnalia Explores the Enchanting World of Nighttime Wildlife in the American West

This fall, unleash your inner nighttime explorer with this fascinating guidebook to the creatures that thrive after dark.


BERKELEY, CALIF.— While darkness may typically be seen as cause for concern for us humans, naturalist Charles Hood and bat biologist José Gabriel Martínez-Fonseca are inviting readers to embrace the night and discover the nocturnal universe that stirs to life after we fall asleep. Featuring over 100 stunning photographs from California and the American Southwest, Nocturnalia: Nature in the Western Night takes readers on an environmental romp through the wonders of the Wild West.

On October 31, 2023, dive into the world of nighttime plants, owls, bats, and the celestial patterns that regulate our after-dark kingdom. From the bloom of the nightshade blossoms to the gleaming fox eyes, to the tiny sparrows guiding themselves with the stars, Hood and Martínez-Fonseca offer practical tips for budding nighttime naturalists. Citizen scientists of all stripes will expand their understanding of the life on earth we can’t always see.

“To state the obvious: nature does not stop when the sun sets,” write Hood and Martínez-Fonseca, “In this book, we want to celebrate the other half of life, the unknown half, the surprising half, and what at times might be the scary half.”

Nocturnalia is a must-read for anyone interested in exploring the wonders of the natural world. Hood and Martínez-Fonseca’s deep knowledge and passion for these nocturnal creatures are evident on every page, making this book an engaging and informative read for both nature enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Showcasing the flora and fauna that thrive under the cover of darkness—from the nocturnal flowers that unfurl under moonshine to the creatures that go bump in the night—Hood and Martínez-Fonseca take readers on a thrilling journey through the wonders of nature after nightfall.

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Charles Hood is a poet and naturalist who lives in the Mojave Desert. His previous books with Heyday include Wild Sonoma: Exploring Nature in Wine Country and A Salad Only the Devil Would Eat: The Joys of Ugly Nature. Always ready for the next excursion, he owns three bat detectors, nine headlamps and flashlights, and a hardcopy world atlas.

José Gabriel Martínez-Fonseca divides his time between Nicaragua and Arizona, where he recently completed a PhD in bat ecology. He owns almost as many headlamps and cameras as Charles does and has contributed images to wildlife publications worldwide. He is also very adroit at catching bats and tarantulas, among other creatures. Martínez-Fonseca is the coauthor, along with Charles Hood and Erin Westeen, of Sea Turtles to Sidewinders: A Guide to the Most Fascinating Reptiles and Amphibians of the West.