My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Posts tagged “Author

Birdwatcher [Author Question and Answer]

Roger Tory Peterson Birdwatcher

A friend of mine and author Elizabeth J. Rosenthal (Liz) recently released a paperback version of her book Birdwatcher: the Life of Roger Tory Peterson. The hardcover was published in 2008 in celebration of the Peterson Centenary. I recently had the chance to ask Elizabeth (the author of Birdwatcher) a few questions about her marvelous book.

Fiesta Poem


by Maxwell Croyden Wheat, Jr.
Comes with warblers,
waves of warblers
moving up the continents:
Yellows, Bay-breasteds

Black-throated Blues, Greens.
Myrtles, Magnolias
flourishing wing-tail skirts of white and yellow, Redstarts flashing flamenco fans of orange and red, Chestnut-sideds displaying headdresses of sun

Then, Blackburnians
flown from flames of Aztec fires,
Prothonotary emblazoned with Inca gold


Kenn Kaufman at RTPI

Kenn Kaufman spent the evening talking to many guest and members of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI) in Jamestown, New York. Kenn is the fourth author who has been invited to speak at the Distinguished Speaker Series at RTPI (funded through the Johnson Foundation). Kenn is best known as the author of the book Kingbird Highway and his Kaufman Focus Field Guides. Tonight was the official release date for his newest Focus Guide on the Insects of North America and it looks like a very useful guide for any nature enthusiast (I know its going in my library).

Kenn Speaking (more…)

Kenn Kauffman Speaking at RTPI

Great news everyone! Kenn Kaufman has been finally schedule to speak for the Roger Tory Peterson Institute distinguished speaker series on the 28th of February 2007. The lecture will be held over at the Stanley Weeks Theater on the campus of Jamestown Community College (is located at 525 Falconer Street, Jamestown, NY for those doing map quest).

A Field Guide to the Insects

Kenn Kaufman will introduce his new book, “A Field Guide to the Insects” and I anticipate him doing a wonderful slide program related to insects. I just learned from his website that this new insect guide has been illustrated with over 2,350 digitally enhanced images and they are planning on setting a new standard with detailed coverage maps. I can’t wait to see this book because I absolutely love how the butterfly guide turned out.

I have had an opportunity to hear Kenn speak twice before and every time he did a amazing job! I can’t wait to hear what he has to tell us again next month regarding the insects in his new book. Price for this event is $5 for member and $7 for non members. For more info you can contact the Roger Tory Peterson Institute at 716-665-2473 or on the web at


Lycopodium obscurum

by Maxwell C. Wheat, Jr.

They are the elves’ Christmas trees
Grandfather would say
of Ground Pine and Cedar
Once in the sun I laid on snow
eye level to see colored lights and bulbs
the size of frozen dew drops

They are lycopodiums, he’d say
teaching me again to pronounce the name
because scientific words have the sounds of poetry


You’ve got it, he’d laugh
his hearty red face broadening behind his white beard
his abundant frame rollicking

When I return home for the holidays
I always walk back to our woods
think of Grandfather assuring a small boy
Yes,I’ll see that the elves have a happy Christmas

I am glad lie-ko-po-dee-um is evergreen

Used by permission All rights reserved
Wheat, M.C. Jr. (2000) Following Their Star – Poems of Christmas and Nature. Cow Meadow Promotions. p.27

Tree Clubmoss Stiff Clubmoss Staghorn Clubmoss Ground Pine Club Moss

Bill of the Birds talks about Roger Tory Peterson

What is a B3 Talk without music

On Wednesday Bill Thompson III spent the evening talking to many guest and members of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI) in Jamestown, New York. B3 is the third author who has been invited to speak at the Distinguished Speaker Series at RTPI which was funded through the Johnson Foundation. He is best known as the editor and author of the magazine Bird Watchers Digest which was started by his father in the late 1970’s. He visited the institute to discuss his newest book called “All Things Reconsidered” which is a collection of essays written by the late Roger Tory Peterson.

During the “meet the author” reception; Bill told us some wonderful fun stories about himself as a kid becoming a birder. I will not get into too many details on how he had skipped school, ect… but I must admit that he had some wonderful roll models. I did love how his Grandmother insisted that when he was a little baby that his first words were “junco”!

Linda O and B3 Bill Thompson III with one of his first bird books

During the lecture, Bill told us about how Roger Tory Peterson had been involved with the Bird Watchers Digest magazine since its very beginning. We learned about how his father confronted Roger in the mid 1980’s about doing an article for the magazine. Roger had thought about for a few minutes and ended up agreeing to do a column for the magazine (which continued up until his death in 1996). Bill went into wonderful discussion on how he was able to put this book together in honor of Roger Tory Petersons death 10 years ago. I strongly suggest you read this book to hear the whole story!!

I first had the opportunity to meet Bill Thompson III, from the American Online Birding chat room which I assisted in hosting from 1996 to 2001. Bill was one of the original people who assisted in getting this chat room established through AOL. Throughout the years, I had the opportunity to hear him and his wife speak at the Federation of New York State Birdclubs annual meeting (now called New York State Ornithological Association). My most memorable meeting of B3 and his family was at the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage here in Allegany State Park, New York – June of 2002.

Common Ringlet Dreamy Duskywing

I can’t remember if it was Bill or Julie (I think it was Julie because I remember the pet frog and bird story) but one of them was the main speaker under the big tent at Camp Allegany. What I do remember is Bill pulling out his guitar and the two started singing together. The most memorable part was that my 8 year old field assistant and I were invited to join their family out to France Brook road to do some birding. The kids (about the same age) had a great time identifying the numerous birds that we encountered and then found some cool insects together. This was a time period when I was really starting to learn my butterflies and Julie had pointed a few species out that I hadn’t learned yet. This will be a day that I will remember forever.

Even if you were unable to make it to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute to hear his talk, you can still learn from him at his Birding Blog at Bill of the Birds. His wife is also an remarkable blogger at Julie Zickefoose’s blog. I would like to thank Linda O. for first introducing me to their blog after the Scott Weidensaul’s talk. I knew that I had to add them to my RSS feeds ASAP and I know that you will equally enjoy their blog sites.

Learning about Animal Sounds

This evening at the Roger Tory Peterson Ornithological Club, we had Greg Budney present a program on Animal Sounds. Greg is the Director of the Sound Collections from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Don’t expect the Macaulay Library to be your typical library because they have very few books on their shelves! They have the largest archive of animal sounds and associated video located anywhere in the world. You can find the natural behavior/vocalizations from the large whale to your local tiny leaf hopper. They have a very long hisotry of inventorying from way back when the lab first originated.

I had an opportunity to visit the library back in 1997 when working on some studies with post nesting vocalizations of the Veery. The staff was extremely helpful with our numerous goofball questions and they gave us a wonderful tour of their facilities (3 years ago they moved into a new building). After leaving the Library, we felt more confident in capturing the needed data for the project but funding never became available and we only collected some preliminary data for the project!

Learning about Natural Sounds

Greg Budney’s program this evening didn’t consist of any slides or pictures but we solely used our ears for this program. He played some sounds from animal that are commonly heard in movies to very low frequencies of the alligator which show vibrations of water before hearing the sound. We learned how researchers use these sounds for endangered species and discovered how insects use vibrations for communications. Best part of the program was learning what a researcher accidentally hitting another research’s head with a paddle (waking them up) sounds like over the microphone. Greg was a wonderful speaker and he helped remind me how important it is to use our ears while out in the field. While leaving the Roger Tory Peterson Institute we heard a Spring Peepers vocalizing behind the building (Linda and a few others at the meeting talked about hearing these guys squeaking, glad to have heard them also).

Do visit the Macaulay Library free online Animal Behavior Archive website.