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This is a short guidebook to birds with its smart tongue planted deep in its cheek.  It's copiously illustrated with photographs of bird droppings (splays) on car windshields and instructions on how to tell what species of bird they came from.  As the authors say: "A knowledge of each splay is essential to fully describe and understand the variations in ornithological dejecta."  It's largely by taking the subject exactly that faux seriously, but then subverting it with the choice of topic and some very funny invented vocabulary, that they elicit laughs. Here, for instance, is one of their terms of art and its definition:

    audibon: Soft sound made by avian dejecta as it strikes a windshield and forms a splay.  Audi (l) sound, bon (fr) good, literally, good sound.

The book's kind of a one-trick pony, but a very amusing trick.


Grade: (B+)


See also:

Book-related and General Links:
    -You Don't Know Poop (Car Talk)
    -INTERVIEW: Car Talk Interviews Burton Silver, Co-Author of "What Bird Did That? A Guide to Some Common Birds of North America." (Car Talk, NPR)
    -The History of GolfCross
    -ESSAY: It's Got the Distance . . . It's a Par! (Golf Digest, August 01 2002 by David Owen)

    -The Birds of North America
    -The American Birding Association
    -Bird Source
    -Cornell Lab of Ornithology
    -The Birds of North America
    -Audubon Magazine
    -FAQ's About Bird-feeding
    -Bird Sounds Digitally Recorded (Nature Songs)
    -ESSAY: The Winter Banquet: Is backyard bird feeding helping or hurting? New research answers this and many other questions. Plus, five feeders every yard should have. (Stephen W. Kress, Audubon)

    -Flattened Fauna (Great Moments in Science)
    -Cornell Lab of Ornithology