Sunday, February 20, 2022

REVIEW: A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching: Getting to Know the World's Most Misunderstood Bird (nonfiction book) written and illustrated by Rosemary Mosco

A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching: Getting to Know the World's Most Misunderstood Bird is nonfiction with a nice dose of humor. I bought it brand new.


In this short and entertaining read, Mosco writes about pigeons: their relationship to humans, their history, their anatomy and behavior, the various breeds of domesticated pigeons, the sorts of patterns and colors you might spot among feral pigeons, and how to help pigeons (stringfoot, spotting lost pets among feral pigeons, catching an injured pigeon, etc.). The book wraps up with a chapter on the sorts of animals you might begin to spot once you've become comfortable watching pigeons/doves.

I'm not a bird watcher, and I'm not particularly a fan of pigeons, although I don't hate them either. I now live in an area where I'm more likely to see doves (probably mourning doves?) than feral pigeons, but, growing up in Germany, I remember seeing the flocks of feral pigeons in my mom's hometown. I wish I'd had this book back then - I wonder what sorts of interesting things I'd have noticed?

I bought this primarily because I've read and enjoyed several of Mosco's Bird and Moon comics. I figured that, at the very least, it'd be an easy library donation once I finished it. Now I've finally read it, and it was delightful. Despite my horrific lack of shelf space, I doubt I'll be offloading it anytime soon.

This book contains no photographs, only Mosco's drawings, but those are charming and well-done enough that I mostly didn't mind. The only times I found myself looking up photos was when I wanted a better visual of the difference between check and t-check patterned birds, and when I wanted a better look at particular pigeon breeds. And of course some pigeons, like rollers, have characteristics that are best communicated in videos.

Mosco's interest in pigeons, bird watching, and nature were infectious. The writing was aimed at readers who might only have vague memories of their high school science classes, so some of the explanations of things like pigeon genetics were a bit simplistic for my tastes, but overall this was an enjoyable and interesting read. I very much appreciated the annotated "Further Reading" section and would like to try out several of the books Mosco mentions.

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