The Hummingbirds’ Gift: Wonder, Beauty, and Renewal on Wings

Atria. May 2021. 96p. ISBN 9781982176082. $20. NAT HIST
Author and naturalist Montgomery (The Soul of an Octopus) visited the Marin County, CA, sculptor and bird rehabilitator Brenda Sherburn to observe and tell the fascinating and fraught story of Sherburn’s rehabilitation of two orphaned newborn Allen’s hummingbirds. She traces Sherburn’s weeks-long laborious process of nursing the bumblebee-sized hatchlings, until they can fly free; meanwhile, she gives readers an eloquent primer on hummingbirds in myth and natural science, and the history of people learning about birds. Though the book is slim, Montgomery’s thoughtful narrative successfully presents, in detail, the heartwarming story of reviving two fragile hummingbirds. The book includes a list of resources for readers who want more information about hummingbirds and the efforts to preserve and protect them. Montgomery also explains how to maintain a yard or garden that will attract and protect hummingbirds. The book is illustrated with drawings and photographs of hummingbirds that are an added bonus.
VERDICT Montgomery has written another engaging work of popular science, similar to her previous books. This latest volume will draw in readers who are new to birding, as well as experienced birders looking to supplement their knowledge.
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