My First East Coast Bird Book by Jeffrey C. Domm

Birdwatching is a great way to enjoy and appreciate nature, no matter how old you are.

Only a recent addition to my tickle trunk of outdoor pursuits, birding is a pastime that I took up in earnest during the earlier phases of the pandemic. Rather than staring at a bowl of sourdough starter, wondering where in my efforts I went wrong, I peered out into the shrubs and trees around my house for a glimpse of movement and feather.

While the birding stalwart Merlin – an app from Cornell University that lets you identify birds by listening to their songs, or identifying a picture you upload – still remains my “go-to”, I would have, and will, happily lean on Domm’s My First East Coast Bird Book, too. 

“I can see this book being useful for any novice birder, young or otherwise.”

Yes, the intended audience is a touch younger than me, but I can see this book being useful for any novice birder, young or otherwise. Domm packs the basics of bird morphology, migration, song, flight pattern, and habitat in plain language (without making the mistake of material needing to be “dumbed down” to be clear and effective).

Divided into three sections – Backyard Birds, Common Water Birds, and Woods and Fields – the author’s own bright illustrations, including a helpful index grouped by bird size, will help the reader locate the bird, depending on the season. (There are a lot of brown sparrows in New Brunswick, I’ve learned, but this book would have been enormously helpful in those early days of hearing a call and wondering if it’s coming from the bush or the tree behind the bush, and its’ plumage isn’t in stark contrast to the surrounding dead foliage). The illustrations are accurate to allow for solid identification of your new backyard friends, but there are also engaging, whimsical elements in the graphic design to make it fun for younger audiences.

I would have gobbled this book up as a young one, and even the more “seasoned” version of me enjoyed reinforcing my nascent explorations into the birding world with Domm’s most recent contribution to identifying and understanding East Coast wildlife.

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Bryn Robinson lives in Quispamsis, NB, although she still, and always will, consider herself a Saint Johner. She uses her BA in psychology and French, and her PhD in experimental psychology, from the University of New Brunswick, to help her support health research in the province. She prefers contemporary fiction, narrative non-fiction, graphic novels and poetry - and if they are humorous, all the better. When not reading, she's exploring the New Brunswick forests and seascapes, camera in hand.

About the Author

Artist Jeffrey C. Domm has had a lifelong fascination with nature and wildlife. He is a distinguished illustrator of wildlife and nature. He teaches illustration at Halifax’s renowned NSCAD University. He has illustrated more than twenty wildlife books, including the best-selling Lorimer Field Guide to Ontario Birds. He lives in Cow Bay, Nova Scotia.