The Armchair Birder Goes Coastal

The Secret Lives of Birds of the Southeastern Shore

By John Yow

256 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, 15 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2189-0
    Published: February 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-8260-3
    Published: May 2012
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4057-8
    Published: May 2012

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Awards & distinctions

An Audubon Magazine 2012 Notable Book

With his distinctively witty, anecdotal, and disarming voice, John Yow now journeys to the shore and shares his encounters with some of the most familiar and beloved coastal birds. Out of his travels--from North Carolina's Outer Banks, down the Atlantic coast, and westward along the Gulf of Mexico--come colorful accounts of twenty-eight species, from ubiquitous beach birds like sanderlings and laughing gulls to wonders of nature like roseate spoonbills and the American avocets. Along the way, Yow delves deeply into the birds' habits and behaviors, experiencing and relating the fascination that leads many an amateur naturalist to become the most unusual of species--a birder.

Seasonally organized chapters explore the improbable, the wonderful, and the amusing aspects of these birds' lives. Yow embellishes his observations with field notes, anecdotes, and stories from some of America's finest naturalists--including John James Audubon, Arthur Cleveland Bent, Rachel Carson, and Peter Matthiessen. Combining the endless fascination of bird life with the pleasure of good reading, The Armchair Birder Goes Coastal is the perfect companion for any nature lover's next trip to the beach.

About the Author

John Yow is a freelance writer based in Acworth, Georgia, and former senior editor at Longstreet Press. He is author of The Armchair Birder: Discovering the Secret Lives of Familiar Birds.
For more information about John Yow, visit the Author Page.


"Yow ventures from his porch to take readers hunting for shorebirds . . . . [with] his folksy, humorous, and erudite style."--Publishers Weekly

"This book can be very funny, but it's way more. . . . [Yow's] well-chosen quotes from the masters add a smart heft to his clear and often fascinating narrative. His writing is as important as his watching. . . . This book has plucked me from my backyard perch . . . and dropped me into an oceanside beach chair to marvel."--Clyde Edgerton, Garden & Gun

"Entertaining . . . . A good read, this title is appropriate for generalists interested in natural history, the wildlife of the southeastern U.S. shore, and birders."--Library Journal

“Through enchanting descriptions and personal anecdotes, Yow makes characters--the villainous ruddy turnstone, the “drunken” reddish egret--out of his subjects, carefully highlighting each species’ subtleties.”--Audubon Editors' Choice

“You don’t have to go coastal to fall in love with this literary compendium of birding, easily as “charming, witty, anecdotal, [and] readable” as its forefathers.”--Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"In this informative, chatty, anecdotal and eminently readable tome, Yow takes us season by season into the watery environment enjoyed by its feathered denizens."--The Rocky Mount Telegram

Multimedia & Links

Follow the author on Twitter @jsyow.

Visit the author's blog From Pumpkinvine Creek.