The Armchair Birder

Discovering the Secret Lives of Familiar Birds

By John Yow

264 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, 41 illus., bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7229-1
    Published: February 2012
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-8878-0
    Published: April 2009
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8463-3
    Published: April 2009

Buy this Book

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While birding literature is filled with tales of expert observers spotting rare species in exotic locales, John Yow reminds us that the most fascinating birds can be the ones perched right outside our windows. In thirty-five engaging and sometimes irreverent vignettes, Yow reveals the fascinating lives of the birds we see nearly every day. Following the seasons, he covers forty-two species, discussing the improbable, unusual, and comical aspects of his subjects' lives. Yow offers his own observations, anecdotes, and stories as well as those of America's classic bird writers, such as John James Audubon, Arthur Bent, and Edward Forbush. This unique addition to bird literature combines the fascination of bird life with the pleasure of good reading.

About the Author

John Yow is a freelance writer based in Acworth, Georgia, and former senior editor at Longstreet Press in Atlanta. He is the author of The Armchair Birder Goes Coastal.
For more information about John Yow, visit the Author Page.


"Yow lets his gentle ruminations and finely observed truths lull the reader toward a quiet adventure into the 'ordinary' birds around them. . . . Yow is the ultimate gentleman birder, highlighting the omnipresent glory and understated miracle of these feathered friends."--BookPage

"Yow discusses 40 species of birds. . . . [and] whets your appetite for knowing what they are up to. . . . [With] stunning black-and-white drawings of each bird by John James Audubon."--Booklist

"Ably illustrates facets of bird behavior and instinct, acknowledging their unique adaptations to the natural and human worlds. Written in a humorous, conversational tone, this enjoyable read is a good choice for developing birders."--Library Journal

"Among a list of favorite things in life must be an armchair. If yours is near a window, you can observe the most active creatures this spring--birds--while dipping into John Yow's generous new offering."--Asheville Citizen Times

"Finally, a bird book for the rest of us! John Yow has empowered . . . us to sit back, to let the birds come to us and to enjoy the sights and sounds. . . . Secrets of birds and birding are out at last!"--Anniston Star

"An excellent literary introduction to forty-two of the most common North American birds. . . . Colorful and engaging."--Englewood Review of Books

Multimedia & Links

Follow the author on Twitter @jsyow.

Visit the author's blog From Pumpkinvine Creek.