Authors: David M. White and Susan M. Guyette
Publisher: O-Books
ISBN: 978 1 84694 389 8

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At the start of Zen Birding, David White and Susan Guyette extend a gracious invitation to you, the reader, “to accompany us as we examine the divergent habits, activities and behaviors of birdwatchers and birders, to consider how these different approaches affect self-awareness and awareness of the natural world, and experience what this can mean for your own life path.”
 
This gentle book on birding is redolent with the spirit of oneness with the Universe that embodies the spirit of Zen Buddhism. Written primarily by the keen birder David White while he was undergoing cancer treatment, to which he eventually succumbed, Zen Birding was completed by his close friend, Susan Guyette, in loving memory and recognition of his lifelong concern for the avian kind.
 
Thoughts
on, and descriptions of experiences with, birding follow on relevant excerpts from White’s birding notebooks, which he took with him on travels throughout the United States. The loving spirit in which the book is written is a fitting tribute to the feathered folk that fill our skies with their joyful dexterous flight and bright and joyous song. White’s mellifluent writing reveals a close harmony with surrounding nature.
Zen Birding transcends and transmutes the scientifically trained eye and the piercing analytical view of an objective scientist to the world of art and sensitive appreciation of one’s environs. Though recognizing the usefulness of, and necessity for, recording and listing sightings, White emphasizes the importance of nurturing the development of sensitivity to the living essence that permeates all nature and the natural world.
 
Zen Birding was written in loving recognition of the needs of birds, and not just of those who watch them. The work emphasizes the different aspects of Zen belief in relation to birding, and should attract a wide audience, as it appeals both to nature lovers and to those with an awareness of, and an appreciation for, the deeply spiritual aspects of life.
 
The insightfulness of Zen Birding has much to do with David White’s work as an anthropologist and with his dedication of 20 years of his life to the Audubon Society in the United States, as a Board member, and as a field trip leader. Susan Guyette’s Native American ancestry means that she was able to contribute much of her intimate knowledge of in native cultures, sustainability and anthropology into this book to the book as well. Both authors hold doctorates in anthropology from the Southern Methodist University.
 
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