I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Author Ann Taylor gives readers a personal look into the life of the foremost North American ammeter ornithologist and conservationist in the mid-twentieth century in the book “Joseph W. Taylor Born to Bird”.
Joseph W. Taylor BORN TO BIRD is a biography of the foremost North American amateur ornithologist and conservationist in the mid-twentieth century.
BORN TO BIRD examines Joe Taylor’s life path as a journey toward his true self. This transformation came slowly. He was born to economic and social privilege, yet an unanticipated destiny with birds awaited him.
Birdwatching began for Joe at age eight. Early on, he conformed to a traditional pattern of education and employment. Nevertheless, beneath this apparent comfort lay a developing obsession with birds. His skill with bird identification blossomed, as did his curiosity about birds and their habitats. By the time he was an adult, Joe had become a serious birder.
In the late 1940s, he began to visit wildlife refuges. Often in solitude away from the pressures of family and commercial obligations, he created plans for bolstering the national pursuit of birdwatching. At the same time, he began to compile a list of the numerous bird species which he had personally identified. He joined the life listing “600 Club,” an elite group dedicated to the identification of bird species. At the close of his life, he had seen over 729 individual species.
As his awareness about ecological problems grew, Joe made a pivotal decision to break with all traditional expectations and begin a new life. In his mid-fifties, he abruptly retired from business and began wholeheartedly to embrace naturalist pursuits. His significant contributions to the study of birds, his tenure on many conservation boards, twenty-six-years as president of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania and his collaborative formation of the American Birding Association are evidence of his dedication. The manifest transformation of his life was complete.
This monomythical journey is something we all have the potential to realize. Are we living out our dreams, choosing our true passion over safe decisions or expected demands? One’s life contains infinite choices, some planned, others circumstantial. A life transformed from expectation into passionate dedication is an inspiration, not only for birders but also for us all.
This was an inspiring and fascinating read. The author writes with a passion and admiration that reflects her close personal connection to her father’s legacy and the pursuit of his personal passion in life that so few people ever get the chance to experience. The imagery (both literal and figurative here), allowed the reader to feel a broader connection to Joseph as his life led him from the business world to the natural world in such an abrupt yet meaningful way, and allowed the serene nature of the outdoors and the wildlife itself (ornithologically speaking of course) to shine through expertly.
To me, the heart of this book rested in the author’s ability to balance out the biographical aspects of the book with the more enlightening nature of ornithology and the passion for bird-watching itself. The author does a wonderful job of connecting the reader emotionally to her father’s life and his experiences moving into his passion in life at the young age of 54, and yet as a bird pet parent and a bird enthusiast myself, I could feel the heart and love for this subject matter as it overtook the author’s father throughout his life and the almost serene beauty that comes from witnessing these majestic creatures in flight or in their everyday life.
Passionately written, captivating, and engaging, author Ann Taylor’s “Joseph W. Taylor Born to Bird” is a must-read biography meets nonfiction book on nature and birds in particular. The heart and driving force behind the subject’s need to immerse themselves in the life of ornithology while also conveying the emotional bond the author had with her father made this a meaningful and impactful read that the audience won’t soon forget.
If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copy today or grab it when it hits shelves on March 20th, 2023!
About the Author
Ann Taylor, author, editor and designer has been creating public and private books for decades. Producing books is her passion. Joseph W. Taylor BORN TO BIRD, a biography of her father, combines all these skills. Joe Taylor was the foremost “life lister” of North American birds in the late twentieth century. Traveling with him on numerous birding expeditions schooled Ann in the art of birdwatching which compelled her to write and compile this personal narrative. Born in the East, Ann’s childhood was infused with birds – in conversations, on feeders, in Audubon engravings, even stuffed! Educated at Vassar College and the New School University, her book creation skills have been utilized by publishers such as Alfred A. Knopf and Paul S. Eriksson. Her books focus on biography, travel, art and genealogy. In her eighties, Ann writes at her desk in Scottsdale, Arizona and at her wilderness retreat in the Bradshaw Mountains. She has organized a book club for countless years, loves loom weaving and is devoted to Tai chi chuan. Her family and friends are often recruited to critique her imaginative concepts. Even her cat must listen to the latest pages!