Winner, Evelyn Richardson Memorial Prize for Non-Fiction
Well-known naturalist and artist Linda Johns shares her woodland home with a menagerie of injured wild birds — starlings, blue jays, pigeons, baby woodpeckers, a rose-breasted grosbeak, a semi-palmated sandpiper, and even a gannet. She and her "saner half," Mack, have gone so far as to transform their living room into an indoor forest, complete with two dead trees providing a variety of perches and a screened porch making do as a practise flyway. Johns nurses her feathered convalescents day and night, helping them to drink and bathe and hunt, and gaining deep insights into their highly individual personalities. Most she attempts to release back into the wild but a few, inevitably, move in to stay.
Birds of a Feather: Tales of a Wild Bird Haven is a warm and funny account of eight months — from May to December — in the life of this caring wildlife rescuer. Fans of Johns's earlier wildlife books will relish her humorous descriptions of the antics of such irresistible characters as Blossom, the media-savvy chicken, and the goats Mower and Munch. Enhanced by line drawings of her avian housemates, this delightful collection of anecdotes in the tradition of James Herriot and Farley Mowat celebrates some of Nature's smallest and most awe-inspiring miracles.
"The quintessential bird lady... Johns's writing is gentle and flowing, and the descriptions of the animals she tends to are wonderfully vivid. Her astute observations lead her to offer up some interesting bits of information... The care with which she attends to the injured birds that arrive on her doorstep is astounding... What marvellous luck for us that Johns writes so beautifully, so we can share a slice of that life."