Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Bird Cloud

At Paxton Pits Nature Reserve we sell second hand books. This makes money to build hides, paths and manage habitats for wildlife, but it also helps to broaden people's horizons by offering cheap books that they might otherwise have not bought or seen.

I recently bought a book by Annie Proulx called "Bird Cloud" for £3 just on a whim. (It's normally £16.99) You may have read or seen the films of two of her books, "The Shipping News" and "Brokeback Mountain."

I thought I had read everything by Annie Proulx (I'm a big fan) but this one is a memoir, not fictional. It's about the triumphs and tribulations of building her new home in Wyoming. The reason I'm drawing it to your attention is that the final chapters take us through a year of watching the local birds from her (almost) finished house.

Buy or borrow the book and read it along with your guide to the Western Birds and follow her encounters with bald and golden eagles, ravens, prairie falcons, (Barrow's) goldeneyes, mountain bluebirds and so on. There are cougars, marmots and other critters, as well as Annie's usual cast of not quite reputable humans.

I enjoyed her armchair birding, though I know she's not always to everyone's taste, I'm glad I bought it.

After all the bother and huge expense of building the house in an extremely remote site she found that it was practically inaccessible for weeks on end during winter as the track was never ploughed. She started to look for another house.....

You can find pictures of the house on line. I must say, it looked better in wiring that it does in photographs!  I was rather disappointed in some ways. The outside makes bit of a statement, but the inside rather looks like a college building with both library and canteen looking a bit utilitarian. The location is another story and one that she tells really well.

The Guardian had a good review of the book at