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Birds of Lake Merritt: 02/28/22
Birds of Lake Merritt by Alex Harris is a short, extremely focused book about Oakland history and the birds who have benefited. This book is a rare gem among the birding books I've read.
Birding is a regional thing. Birds have their routes, their favorite watering holes, their homes, their hunting grounds. For a big chunk of continental North America, the seasonal migrations are north and south going from Canada through the United States down to Mexico or even further south. The big name birding books are written for people who live in these typical flyover areas.
But— there are exceptions to these migratory patterns. There are areas where "typical" species just don't visit. California is one of those places. The Sierra Nevada mountains cut us off. Many of our migrations are East-West, rather than North-South. California also has some year round populations of species that would otherwise migrate.
Alex Harris's book is only concerned with waterbirds that live at or visit Lake Merritt. Beyond this being a book that helps identify a specific subset of birds, it's also a history of the lake and of Oakland.
I sincerely hope Harris is at work on another Bay Area birding book.