the secret lives of common animals

                                                                

Field Guide to Urban Wildlife by Julie Feinstein

     "New York City house sparrows fly down to underground subway platforms to snack on fallen potato chips. Pigeons barely step aside to let pedestrians pass. Crows open dropped ketchup packages to eat the contents and they wash that down with leftover milk from the bottoms of discarded cartons. The animals, birds, and insects that co-inhabit our cities have come a long way from the forests and plains of their ancestors. For many urban animals association with humans goes way beyond tolerance; they thrive on their interactions with us and they live in cities because we do.

     Though urban animals live among us, sometimes even inside our homes, they largely go unnoticed. They are too commonplace. Yet there are moments--watching a fox in the backyard, discovering a centipede in the bathtub, or finding a bat asleep in the garage--when we wonder about them.

     There are numerous field guides available to help you identify the migratory birds that pass through urban parks during spring and fall. There are keys to help identify every obscure butterfly that a diligent searcher might find. But few guides focus on the commonplace. On a typical day, a city-dweller might encounter several dozen birds, five or six mammals, and many provocative insects. To find information about them we need three or four field guides, and even then we learn little beyond names and physical appearance. This guide goes beyond. It looks traditional, with photos and species accounts, but the fields through which you will be guided are backyards, city parks, basements, kitchen cabinets and bathroom drains.

     You already recognize these animals: squirrels, robins, flies, mice, raccoons, starlings, bees and more. This guide will help you really see them. The species accounts reveal their secret lives, history, biology, and behavior, and uncover delightful surprises: white squirrels, transvestite lightningbugs, rough sex among bedbugs, and a pain index for stinging insects.

     A field guide to urban wildlife of north america tells the secret stories of some of our non-human neighbors. We built the cities, but we are not the only ones who live in them."
            
         FROM the introduction to The Field Guide to Urban Wildlife of North America, by Julie Feinstein
  • The Field Guide to Urban Wildlife of North America is profusely illustrated with almost 300 photographs.
  • The Field Guide to Urban Wildlife of North America discusses about 100 of common urban animals birds and insects.

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