Northwest and Local Natural History Books
Check here for information about our favorite natural history books.
Here are some of our favorite reads. Let us know about yours! Email us with suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
InsectsBugs of Washington and Oregon, John Acorn, Lone Pine Publishing, 2001. "This book is for bugsters" says the author. This book features conversational text and colored illustrations of 125 common bugs. Less technical, but includes some interesting lore and history.
The Butterflies of Cascadia, Robert Michael Pyle, Seattle Audobon Society, 2002. Very thorough book by a man who has been studying butterflies since childhood.
Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Willamette Valley, by Steve Gordon and Cary Kerst, Cranedance Publications, 2005. A wonderful book by local naturalists. Includes lots of great photographs.
Guide to the Butterflies of Oregon and Washington
, William Neill, Westcliffe Publishers, 2001. This Portland-based author covers 100 common butterflies in his guidebook. Includes photos.
Insects of the Pacific Northwest
, Peter Haggard and Judy Haggard, Timber Press Inc., 2006. Organized by orders, nice photographs. Includes non-insect creepy-crawlies as well.
Peterson Field Guides: Western Birding by Ear, Richard K. Walton and Robert W. Lawson, 1990. This three CD set covers 90 common birds found west of the great plains. Birds are grouped by similar vocalizations so you can learn “whistlers,” “sing-songers,” and more! (Lots of bird songs and calls are also available on the internet—just search for bird songs or bird calls.)
Birds of the Willamette Valley Region, Harry Nehls, Tom Aversa, and Hal Opperman, 2004. This book includes basics about birds as well as photos of many of the birds you will see in our area.
Birds from the Inside Out, Barbara and Dan Gleason, 2004. A great book written by local expert birders that covers everything from bird biology to behavior.
Birds of Lane County, Alan Contreras, 2006. Over 300 species of birds can be found during the year in Lane County. Find out where in this neat book!
Brittle Stars and Mud Bugs, An Uncommon Field Guide to Northwest Shorelines and Wetlands, Patricia K. Lichen, Sasquatch Books, 2001. This book provides a very readable and entertaining introduction to some of the more recognizable species and phenomenon of the shorelines and wetlands of the northwest. Uses a narrative rather than field guide format.
Passionate Slugs and Hollywood Frogs, An Uncommon Field Guide to Northwest Backyards, Patricia K. Lichen, Sasquatch Books, 2001. This book provides a very readable and entertaining introduction to some of the more recognizable species and phenomenon of northwest backyards. Uses a narrative rather than field guide format.
River-Walking Songbirds and Singing Coyotes, An Uncommon Field Guide to Northwest Mountains, Patricia K. Lichen, Sasquatch Books, 2001. This book provides a very readable and entertaining introduction to some of the more recognizable species and phenomenon of northwest mountains. Uses a narrative rather than field guide format.
Cascade-Olympic Natural History: A Trailside Reference, Daniel Mathews, Raven, 1988. A nice catch-all field guide with some photographs for exploring the mountains. Covers basic plants, birds, mammals, mushrooms, and more.
Essays and Poetry
, Amy Minato, Skyhorse Publishing, 2009.
- Congratulations to Amy Minato on the recent publication of her wonderful new book, Siesta Lane: One Cabin, No Running Water, and a Year Living Green. One of the original founders of Nearby Nature, Amy now lives part time in Portland and part time in Joseph, Oregon. A teacher, writer, mother, and naturalist, she and her husband Joseph (another Nearby Nature founder) and their two children, spend lots of time outdoors, ride their bikes whenever and wherever they can, and constantly try to find ways to live gently on the earth. In this lovely book, Amy poetically reflects on a time in her life when she had the opportunity to put pondering about living lightly fully on the front burner. Living on her own in a tiny cabin in Rainbow Valley (just outside Eugene), she had a chance to slow down and really get to know and appreciate the world around her, from its smallest insect to its tallest tree. She also had time to contemplate everything from self-reliance to sustainability, from compassion to community. Amy’s commentary on local natural history and her thought-provoking personal reflections and poetry make Siesta Lane a pleasure to read. (From Nearby Nature News, Spring 2009)