Video: Richard Crossley on Making Birding Bigger in America

ABA president Jeff Gordon and Richard Crossley were out birding ahead of the daily activities at Space Coast Birding Festival and the conversation turned to popularizing birding in America. As Jeff notes, this is a favorite subject for Richard and one on which he has a few thoughts and wishes. Enjoy the video below and post a comment either here or at the ABA blog on what YOU think are the next steps for American birders.

For our part — Princeton University Press will continue publishing great bird books like The Crossley ID Guide, Avian Architecture, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Birds, and The Atlas of Birds and promoting them to the national media and science publications. Deal?


What’s your earliest birding memory?

Sometimes it seems as if days have themes — or at least days of blog postings have themes. Whacky Shorts Creations asked the authors of Viewpoints for their earliest drawing memories, and in this terrific review of Avian Architecture, Ken at Rosyfinch Ramblings also looks back at his earliest memories of birds and nests. He recalls watching a rooftop “nest” of a nighthawk before he was four years old and other memorable nests since as he presents lovely pages from our book. I hope you will check it out and then share your earliest bird or bird nest memory below.


FACT: “In the treeless Aleutian Islands, Bald Eagles nest on the ground. Small sticks are picked up or broken off and carried in the beak; large ones are carried in the talons. In the center of the platform a cup 3-5in (7.5-13cm) deep, lined with grass and mosses is formed. Large nests can weigh two tons and last for over 50 years.”

Avian Architecture: How Birds Design, Engineer, and Build
Peter Goodfellow

Birds are the most consistently inventive builders, and their nests set the bar for functional design in nature. Avian Architecture describes how birds design, engineer, and build their nests, deconstructing all types of nests found around the world using architectural blueprints and detailed descriptions of the construction processes and engineering techniques birds use. This spectacularly illustrated book features 300 full-color images and more than 35 case studies that profile key species worldwide. Each chapter covers a different type of nest, from tunnel nests and mound nests to floating nests, hanging nests, woven nests, and even multiple-nest avian cities. Other kinds of avian construction—such as bowers and harvest wells—are also featured.

Avian Architecture includes intricate step-by-step sequences, visual spreads on nest-building materials and methods, and insightful commentary by a leading expert.

-Illustrates how birds around the world design, engineer, and build their nests

-Features architectural blueprints, step-by-step sequences, visual spreads on nest-building materials and methods, and expert commentary

-Includes 300 full-color images

-Covers more than 100 bird species worldwide

“[Goodfellow] sharpens the focus to explore nests only from the perspective of their architecture—their form, function, construction materials, how they are made, and by whom. . . . We love finding nests but rarely pay attention to how they are built. Avian Architecture will magnify your sense of wonder. The book is chockablock full of detail presented in a very accessible way.”—Wayne Mones,

For more information on Avian Architecture, please visit:

Avian Architecture praised in the New York Times

Last week the New York Times ran an article on Peter Goodfellow’s Avian Architecture: How Birds Design, Engineer, and Build, and the public response has been positively overwhelming!  Yesterday the article was at number 11 on the NYT online list of most emailed articles.  Here is what some fans have had to say:

Star Tribune author Jim Williams, the “WingNut” columnist, writes: “I read “Avian Architecture” cover to cover without putting it down. I’m fascinated by nests, being built, in use, or abandoned at season’s end. Goodfellow now has me actively looking for nest constructions I haven’t seen…”

From the blog No Charge Bookbunch: “…a book review about Avian Architecture caught my interest in the New York Times today…the author’s scientific explanation of Australian bowerbirds’ nests gave a good model to emulate…”

The design-oriented blog zee. writes “I love books that make you look at the world a little differently…I never thought of birds as builders and engineers (no offense, birds), but they clearly are, in their own right,” while notcot, a blog of “ideas+aesthetics+amusement” was taken with this photo of a hanging nest:

The blog Co.Design also praises both the imagery and content of Goodfellow’s book.  “This isn’t a lavish coffee-table book — information is privileged over visuals — but there’s plenty to marvel at… Our favorites are the examples of biomimicry — instances of us mirroring nature in our own architecture. But most of the nests are remarkable feats – especially when you consider that they’re built with the assistance of a single tool — a beak — which, as Goodfellow writes, is a little like “trying to make a ham and cheese sandwich with one hand behind your back.”” (That would be very tricky!)

Whether you are a bird nest enthusiast, architecture fan, or just enjoy beautiful and inspiring images, Avian Architecture: How Birds Design, Engineer, and Build is well worth picking up!