Field Notes From An Unintentional Birder

Field Notes From An Unintentional Birder

A Memoir

Book - 2020
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"When Julia Zarankin saw her first red-winged blackbird at the age of thirty-five, she didn't expect that it would change her life. Recently divorced and auditioning hobbies during a stressful career transition, she stumbled on birdwatching, initially out of curiosity for the strange breed of humans who wear multi-pocketed vests, carry spotting scopes and discuss the finer points of optics with disturbing fervour. What she never could have predicted was that she would become one of them. Not only would she come to identify proudly as a birder, but birding would ultimately lead her to find love, uncover a new language and lay down her roots. Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder tells the story of finding meaning in midlife through birds. The book follows the peregrinations of a narrator who learns more from birds than she ever anticipated, as she begins to realize that she herself is a migratory species: born in the former Soviet Union, growing up in Vancouver and Toronto, studying and working in the United States and living in Paris. Coming from a Russian immigrant family of concert pianists who believed that the outdoors were for "other people," Julia Zarankin recounts the challenges and joys of unexpectedly discovering one's wild side and finding one's tribe in the unlikeliest of places. Zarankin's thoughtful and witty anecdotes illuminate the joyful experience of a new discovery and the surprising pleasure to be found while standing still on the edge of a lake at six a.m. In addition to confirmed nature enthusiasts, this book will appeal to readers of literary memoir, offering keen insight on what it takes to find one's place in the world."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Madeira Park, BC :, Douglas and McIntyre,, [2020]
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9781771622486
Branch Call Number: 921 ZAR
Characteristics: 255 pages ; 22 cm


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Jan 05, 2021

I confess, if it had not been for COVID making me stick close to home, this book would have caught my interest. But now, stuck at home, I have become a backyard birder, and I enjoyed the audiobook. Julia Zarankin’s journey from someone lucky to find a bird in a tree to a full-fledged birder with a scope to see distant birds was interesting. I loved the connections she made to her two marriages and other aspects of her life. But most of all I was struck by her feeling of wonder as she grew to love spending cold, wet days looking at birds. And from her I finally found out how to know a downy woodpecker from a hairy woodpecker if you are unable to to determine the size. The best advice be like a northern flicker. A fashion diva would say NO to the combination of stripes, polka dots, big black slash on the breast, red and orange and black, gray and brown, but the flicker wears it all well. Her book is a definition of life. “Progress is incremental. … We showed up, we paid attention … we listened, we hoped, we imagined, we waited.”

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