“Birds of Better Cleveland” and “The Widespread Angler”

In “Birds of Greater Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo” the Cleveland ornithologist Marc Parnell offers “a new method for the identification of birds”. If you can spot even one species of bird, such as a cardinal, and see a bird that you cannot identify, compare it to the bird you know. It’s the “birding by comparison” approach.

The guide contains 135 species, sorted by size from very, very large to very small (there are no very, very small birds). Each is accompanied by two or more color photos and information on habitat, behavior and migration. If you are interested in attracting birds to your food, learn what they like to eat and what type of food they use.

In addition to size (a tundra swan is very, very large), each bird is given a frequency rating, or the probability of seeing a bird in an average year (tundra swan is given a 1, the lowest frequency) and a bar chart showing the months with the best chance of a sighting (November to March). In contrast, a European star listed in the Medium category has a frequency rating of 5 and maximum visibility all year round.

Birds of Greater Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo (302 pages, softcover) is priced at $ 14.95 from thebirdingpro.com, which includes about 40 other field guides for cities, states, and one for Ontario. It’s not pocket-sized, but it fits nicely in a backpack.


“The Common Angler”

If bird watching is not to your liking, fishing might be a spring activity. In the 42 elegant essays of “The Common Angler: A Festival of Fishing”, Jack Wollitz from Poland, Ohio, looks at the relationship between people, water and fish.

“This book is for those who are enthusiastic about things,” writes Wollitz.

In his case, the passion is about fishing, but those who live with a passion for distraction can know themselves.

Wollitz begins with small excursions with his father and uncle, on bass and bluegill with worms from his garden and remembers small moments with friends and solo. A beautiful story is about the author and his wife, who watch an adult bald eagle dive for a fish and emerge empty. They thought it had missed its prey, but then saw a juvenile eagle following and discovered that the adult had given a fishing lesson.

Most of the fishing described is catch and release, although there are descriptions of tournament fishing, some for charity and some with high cash prizes. Sometimes the goal is bass, but steelhead trout, muskies and bluegill. Wollitz disagrees with the argument that some fish are more respectable than others, since one man’s weed is another man’s flower.

Fishing is a profession that can keep normal during a pandemic, be it in the sea, lake or river. Wollitz ponders: “If I didn’t fish, I would probably still go to the water,” maybe to swim or kayak. There are photos of smiling men (and a little girl, Wollitz’s daughter) swinging fish, an appeal for environmental protection and several references to Izaak Walton’s “The Compleat Angler” from 1653.

The Common Angler (160 pages, softcover) is priced at $ 13.99 from Fayetteville Mafia Press. Jack Wollitz is a graduate of Youngstown State University and has worked as a newspaper reporter and columnist.


Loganberry Books: Penny Casselman speaks about her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in “How do I get a free boob job?” In a Zoom event on Sunday at 1:00 pm. Go to loganberrybooks.com.

Literary Cleveland: Cleveland writer Laura Maylene Walter, whose debut novel “Body of Stars” was published on March 16, talks to former publishing director Brandi Larsen about the publishing process in a Zoom event on Sunday from 7pm to 8.30pm. Register at litcleveland.org.

Medina County Public Library: The author and blogger (“Modern Mrs. Darcy”) Anne Bogel speaks in a zoom presentation from 6:30 to 7:30 on Monday. Register at medina.lib.oh.us.

Cuyahoga County Public Library: Jodi Picoult (“Small Big Things”) and Nancy Johnson (“The Nicest Lie”) will be discussing “Fiction and racing in America” in a zoom event on Monday from 7 to 8 pm. On Thursday from 7pm to 8pm, Steve Maloney will speak about “Take Me Home Huey: Honoring American Heroes through Art”, a narrative image about his sculpture in honor of Vietnam veterans. Register at cuyahogalibrary.org.

Hudson Library & Historical Society: Alessio Fasano, co-author (with Susie Flaherty) of “Gut Feelings: The Microbiome and Our Mouth”, will speak about beneficial microorganisms in a zoom event on Monday at 7 pm. On Tuesday at 7 pm, Philip Zeliko will speak about “The road with less traffic: The secret battle for the end of the First World War, 1916-1917”. On Thursday at 7pm Michael Kinch will speak on “Between Hope and Fear: A History of Vaccines and Human Immunity. ”Register at hudsonlibrary.org.

Mac’s back: Brandy Schillace, author of “Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher: A monkey head, the Pope’s neuroscientist and the search for the transplant of the soul, ”said journalist Christopher Johnston on Wednesday at 7 pm in a Zoom event about science and ethics. Go to macsbacks.com.

Akron-Summit County Public Library: De-de Mulligan will speak at a Zoom event on Thursday from 3 to 5 pm about her novel “Safety in Numbers” about a manager who discovers financial problems in her company. Register at akronlibrary.org.

Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson): Jordan Podojil talks about women entrepreneurs and their book “The Female Founding Edit: A Pop of Startup Culture” on Saturday from 1pm to 3pm.

Email information about books of local interest and event notifications to BeaconBookTalk@gmail.com at least two weeks in advance.

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