June 2019

Birding eBooks

Many birdwatchers have purchased and downloaded ebooks for reading on a Kindle, an iPad, or another type of ebook reader. But they may not know of the free birding ebooks which can be borrowed online. Other birders may have never used an ebook, and may not realize that using browser and app-based text readers can be easy and convenient. And that ebooks on birding are available through their public library or through vast free collections of scanned and digitized print material.

One free mobile app which is affiliated with many public libraries in the U.S. was developed by OverDrive[1] and is called Libby[2]). This article was written on an iPad while reading Mozart's Starling (a Favorite) by Lyanda Haupt, downloaded on a 3 week loan. Ample, clear directions explaining how to get the app, search your library's catalog for ebooks, and obtain free loans are given on both the Libby and Overdrive websites.

The most extensive and varied resource, however, is the Open Library project[3] provided by the Internet Archive[4], which is affiliated with several global attempts to preserve printed material and make it freely accessible online. Want to read Chancellor's classic biography of John James Audubon[5] on your next cross-country flight? It's there. Same with Volumes 1-2 of the Audubon Magazine[6] from 1887-89.

And, finally, if you're curious why it is that Haupt (see above) might blame the great playwright for the Central Park release of European Starlings that she describes in her book, the Open Library also offers Shakespeare's Birds[7] for your enjoyment, or, at least, your edification.

The Bird Wide Web™ will be publishing a new article on the beginning of each month.

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