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The Delightful Horror of Family Birding: Sharing Nature with the Next Generation

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  88 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Eli Knapp takes readers from a leaky dugout canoe in Tanzania and the mating grounds of Ecuador's cock-of-the-rock to a juniper titmouse's perch at the Grand Canyon and the migration of hooded mergansers in a New York swamp, exploring life's deepest questions all along the way. In this collection of essays, Knapp intentionally flies away from the flock, reveling in insight ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by Torrey House Press
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Jeff Babbitt
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about life as much as it is about birds. Each chapter is a self-contained story, a step in a larger journey of exploration, discovery, mystery and revelation. And it’s full of the most head-shaking puns you’ve ever read. I learned a lot of facts about birds that I’ll likely forget. I also learned some insights and lessons about life and our world and what’s important that I likely will carry forever.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
How do we ignite a love for nature in young people? If you follow Eli Knapp's model, you do it with humor, gentle insight, and love for both children and the natural world.
Knapp (avid birder, father of three, and professor of biology) has plenty of experience engaging young people in the wonders of nature. His usual method is to take them outdoors to learn about birds. Birding may be the lesson plan, but life is the lesson. "Life is at its richest when we go outdoors together and keep our eyes o
Brooke Dilling
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m so conflicted about how to rate this book. Eli J Knapp is a great nature writer. I enjoyed muxh if this book. I appreciate birds (and my grandmother and my father’s love of birds) much more as a result of this book. I feel the need to buy binoculars and get out into nature more often.

But so many of the stories in this book have a similar tone and feel. Too similar. It’s like he follows a writing format with each story he writes. Here is something that happened in my life that has to do with
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Essay compilations are not usually my preferred reading material, but I LOVED this little book! I don't say this about many books I've read, but I'm likely to return to this one. The author communicates his passion for our feathered friends and the wonders of the natural world with brilliant, thoughtful and witty writing, and at times it felt as if his words were speaking directly to me. I even broke one of my cardinal rules and dog-eared a few pages with quotes I want to remember. Here are a fe ...more
Joy Matteson
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: birding
Well, it turned me into a birder. THANKS ELI KNAPP!! It was just lovely. Not too much about sharing nature with the next generation, but his delightful turns of phrase and self deprecating ways of discussing his obsessive bird chasing made me a huge fan. If you like birds even just a little bit--go read this!
Eli Knapp
Jun 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What I think about this tome is a bit biased. ;)
Alanna Paris
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic look into appreciating nature, specifically birds. Funny, insightful and humble, this is a fun and laid back read, even for someone who isn’t an avid birder (although you may become one by the end of the book).
Feb 03, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Pretty enjoyable, but not about family birding.
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Despite a bizarre title, this is a fairly educational book about birds and the people who love them. Knapp writes a series of essays about his fascination with birds and the effect it has on those around him, including his incredibly patient wife and small children. "'Gimme your bins, Dad!' Ezra demanded, his absence of manners almost as troubling as his incredulity. I glanced at him in the rearview mirror. Here was a scientist - a born skeptic - squeezed into a nine-year-old body."

Knapp is a p
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Here is a list of adjectives that came to me while reading and in reflection: clever, humorous, delightful, anecdotal, educational, informative. The book has great quotes at the beginning of chapters, special ink-drawn pictures of birds by John Rhett, and personal stories.

The author is a professor of intercultural studies and biology at Houghton College and director of the Houghton in Tanzania program.

Thank you, Davies family!

Knapp: “I’m convinced the best paths take us to places we didn’t know
Nov 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Probably 3.5. It's a series of short vignettes from the life of an ornithologist/birder. He reminds me of a few biology faculty members I know. Each chapter is centered on a search or encounter with a particular species of bird or an outing to a particular place. Many of these are with students along as part of classes he teaches, others just Eli, or with his kids in tow. Each chapter has one or more biological lessons and a "life lesson." At first, these were interesting and made every little d ...more
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Eli Knapp's book tells a little about his family, a little about his students (he's a college biology teacher) and a lot about Eli. He's unabashed in admitting to a love of Big Words and Facts. But it turns out that he loves the real life adventure of going outdoors and getting all wet and dirty and Seeing Birds Doing Things. Which for me redeems the whole story.

It seems that a certain amount of hubris is necessary to succeed as a big time bird nerd, and his exploits in quest of the next rare sp
John Geary
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, a collection of essays and anecdotes about nature and birds by the author, who is a birder, a paddler, and a professor of biology in New York. Some of the stories are poignant, many are humorous, all are very thought-provoking in many different ways. It was one of those rare books that once you start reading it, you don’t want to stop reading, you don’t want to do anything else but read this book.
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lovely collection of thoughtful essays.
Julianne E Hale
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love birds and Eli Knapp seems like a kindred spirit. I read an essay a night for about a month and enjoyed them. In each, i was compelled to learn more about the bird he was seeking. Good stuff.
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A good, fun, quick read for birders to enjoy.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A delightful mix of stories, anecdotes, science, bird and wildlife encounters infused with a spirit of joy. I would like to meet this guy some day. We are kindred spirits.
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fun read!!!
Jan 15, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021, books-i-own
This was a fun read for this bird nerd. I think most birders would find it entertaining, especially those intent upon sharing their passion for birds with children or students. For myself, birding is a hobby I share with my spouse, so I was a bit put off by the author’s seeming lack of consideration for his non- birding wife, who seems to be relegated to less desirable pursuits to enable her husband to slip away and enjoy himself. As his adventures are also a part of his profession (teaching) I’ ...more
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