When award-winning writer and biologist Bernd Heinrich became the unwitting -- but doting -- foster parent of an adorable gosling named Peep, he was drawn into her world. And so, with a scientist's training and a nature lover's boundless enthusiasm, he set out to understand the travails and triumphs of the Canada geese living in the beaver bog adjacent to his home. In The Geese of Beaver Bog, Heinrich takes his readers through mud, icy waters, and overgrown sedge hummocks to unravel the mysteries behind heated battles, suspicious nest raids, jealous outbursts, and more. With deft insight and infectious good humor, he sheds light on how geese live and why they behave as they do. Far from staid or predictable, the lives of geese are packed with adventure and full of surprises. Illustrated throughout with Heinrich's trademark sketches and featuring beautiful four-color photographs, The Geese of Beaver Bog is part love story, part science experiment, and wholly delightful.
Arguably today's finest naturalist author, Heinrich follows up his magnificent Winter World (2003) with a smaller-scale but delightful narrative of his recent observations on the Canadian geese that have colonized the beaver bog near his Vermont home. The story begins and ends with Peep, a goose who hatched from an egg on Heinrich's lawn and adopted Heinrich's family as her own. In time Peep mates with a gander, Pop, only to see all her eggs but one destroyed by an unknown predator--Heinrich suspects other geese--and then her sole gosling die, as she and Pop share the bog with another goose couple whom Heinrich calls Jane and Jack. The next year, Pop has coupled with Jane, while Peep, after some struggle, takes up with Jack, contradicting the common wisdom that geese pair off for years, just one of many anomalous behaviors that Heinrich observes and tries to make sense of. Other geese come and go, as Heinrich rushes from his house to the bog, often before dawn, scrupulously studying this incident or that, always tying in what he sees with scientific knowledge, relying particularly on Konrad Lorenz's groundbreaking work. The story can flag at times (these are geese, after all, not higher primates), but is always re-energized by Heinrich's enthusiasm. Other animals figure in as well--other bird species, beavers, mammalian predators and even the author's own family--as the seasons turn and the geese grow, in Heinrich's talented hands, into memorable characters. Backed by several useful appendixes and brightened not only by Heinrich's careful drawings but by color photos (not seen by PW), this is another worthy missive from our latter-day Thoreau.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
April 30, 2005
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.