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In a Patch of Fireweed: A Biologist's Life in the Field

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  76 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Why would a grown man chase hornets with a thermometer, paint whirligig beetles bright red, or track elephants through the night to fill trash bags with their prodigious droppings? Some might say--to advance science. Heinrich says--because it's fun.

Bernd Heinrich, author of the much acclaimed Bumblebee Economics, has been playing in the wilds of one continent or another al
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 1st 1991 by Harvard University Press (first published 1984)
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Angela Boord
Jul 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
I'll be passing this book on to the kids when they're a little older. Excellent description of what being a field biologist is really like.

Just finished reading this last night and loved it, even through all the discussion of taking the thoracic temperature of insects. (Actually, that was fascinating, too; I had no idea that some insects can regulate their own temperatures, or that there are whole groups of moths which are active in the wintertime (in Maine!)) I liked this book for all the littl
Apr 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is another lovely example of Heinrich's fine writing. It covers part of his life that I had already read about in other books of his, but with totally different intriguing facts and stories. When I started to read the book, I had been afraid that he might repeat himself in this book, but there is so much depth to his life that he had entirely new material.

His ability to communicate clearly is unparalleled in my experience, and he also has a talent for fine story-telling. I would say that th
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another classic book by Bernd Heinrich! Gave some interesting early history about his formative years and of course his amazing talents of observation and field biology work at his summer cabin in Maine! Another great read by an amazing talent! Enjoyed it a lot!
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is part biography and part field studies of a variety of insects. But when I finished the book I realized it was all an autobiography. First there is chronological story that gives us the necessary background and then his stories of field work gives the reader a fuller view of the author. When a man's passion and his work are one and the same his work tells a lot about the man. The reader may think the later chapters are about hornets and beetles but it is through these field observati ...more
Dennis Ross
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the first books written by my favorite naturalist. It tells the amazing story of his youth during WWII and coming to the USA. His early studies are every bit as fascinating as his later work on birds.
Paul Hudson
Aug 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
We all have that friend who's a tinkerer... who wants to know how everything works... who borrows your Nintendo and takes it apart. Well maybe that last part doesn't happen to everyone. (Thanks Brian!) This book is a direct tap into a tinkerer's brain.
Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Illuminating and fun. A life-long ecologist's tale of how life's challenges gave him a unique insight on macro-ecology.
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Bernd Heinrich was born in Germany (April 19, 1940) and moved to Wilton, Maine as a child. He studied at the University of Maine and UCLA and is Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Vermont.

He is the author of many books including Winter World, Ravens in Winter, Mind of the Raven and Why We Run. Many of his books focus on the natural world just outside the cabin door.

Heinrich has w
More about Bernd Heinrich...

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