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Published: Saturday, November 26, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

Inspiration shared in avian-themed books

Let's praise the fierce predators of the avian world, the ones that hunt, kill and devour. And let's applaud the photographers whose time, energy and skills brought us "Raptors of the West: Captured in Photographs" ($30).
Rob Palmer's cover shot of two eagles battling for a just-dropped fish sets a high bar for the interior shots, but the often-stunning photographs are up to the challenge.
One of my favorite reads this fall was Hank Lentfer's memoir, "Faith of Cranes: Finding Hope and Family in Alaska" ($17).
The Barbara Savage Award-winner connects themes in an intricate dance, weaving Lentfer's life, loves and fears with the plight of sandhill cranes. He fears that his environmental activism will be for nothing, that the wilderness he loves is disappearing, and that the migrating cranes face an uncertain future.
Eventually, it's the birth of his daughter that guides him down a quieter, more hopeful path in the midst of his fears, and helps to rebuild his sense of hope.
Curious readers meet the biologists in "Wading for Bugs" ($20), as 23 scientists track down their favorite insects in the stream environment.
The narratives, sprinkled with humor, is filled with facts about life cycles, adaptation, survival and how sensitive stream dwellers can act as a bellwether for the water's health.
Author and photographer David Solomon spent two years with 17 penguin species and 500 research papers to create "Penguin-Pedia: Photographs and Facts from One Man's Search for the Penguins of the World" ($29.95).
Each species' chapter includes Solomon's observations, its life history from foraging to relationships, more technical charts and his beautiful photographs.
John Alcock's "When the Rain Comes: A Naturalist's Year in the Sonoran Desert" ($45), gave me a new appreciation for the transformative value of desert rain.
Alcock moves month by month through the wet and dry, telling the desert's stories through its denizens with special emphasis on the most powerful of the desert's residents: humans, and their disastrous impact.
Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or
Story tags » BooksWildlife HabitatWildlife Watching

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