Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness by Lyanda Lynn Haupt, a book review

Crow Planet by Lyanda Lynn Haupt is one of the books I've been looking for. It takes urban ecology seriously, looking at the environment most people live in and the types of plants and animals that flourish there.

In particular, Haupt watches crows. Crow Planet is a study both of crows and of people in relation to crows (I had no idea that so many people found crows sinister or even scary). Crows are one native bird that has adapted well, very well, to cities. They show an imbalance (in a truly 'natural' state, there would not be quite so many), but also a beauty. They give us all, those of us who live in cities and can only hike very occasionally, the chance to see wild animals, to watch them build nests, raise their young, and grow up in our neighborhoods.

The book is a great blend of scientific study, anecdote, and, occasionally, legend. It's an easy book to read, but also full of surprises--I more than once found myself saying "I didn't know that!"

The illustrations are pen and ink, very fun, and for once I did not find myself fussing about the absence of color plates. Edit: On rereading, I think the illustrations are actually woodcuts.


  1. I love books like this. Adding it to my TBR right now, thanks to you!

  2. Oh good. It's always a good feeling making someone's TBR pile a little higher.