April Book Club “What the Robin Knows” by Jon Young

April’s book, written by Jon Young, a tracker and a naturalist who has worked for over three decades getting people to reconnect with the natural world, works to teach people how to meaningfully interact with the robins (a nice starting bird) that share our yards and parks. Once we connect with the robin the wildlife of the natural world that responds to bird alarms will be available for our perusal as well. To do this we must first learn bird language. We don’t actually get to chirp back we just need to recognize what they are saying with their vocalizations and behaviors.

He begins by encouraging us to find a sit spot – I am totally down with that suggestion – and we sit quietly in nature in the same spot and intimately learn it in all conditions. Learning to not crash around outside oblivious to the impact of our passage is a starting point and enhanced situational awareness is the long term goal. Mr. Young’s somewhat gleeful tale of oblivious chicks getting eaten by accipiters due to failure to follow their parent’s quiet example will stick with the reader a while.

Spending time outdoors and away from screens and stressful to do lists sounds amazing. Adding in learning natural world connections and prey responses is an added bonus. Mr. Young said it best when he notes on the last page that “Deep bird language is a multidimensional, full- contact nature sport.”

What the Robin Knows is a short and entertaining read that gives skill notes on how we can relearn our human skills of base line awareness to expand our experiences in the wilderness as well as in our back yards. Join us Monday, April 20 at 6PM at the Moline Library for the discussion.


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