When I first heard about Birding the Border: Tales of the Rio Grande Valley, I thought it would be bird identification book or a book about the Rio Grand Valley’s birding hot spots.
It’s neither. Nancy Millar, Director of the McAllen Convention and Visitors’ Bureau in McAllen, Texas, and Ron Smith, a master bird carver, birder, and nature writer, teamed up to gather together remembrances and stories about birding in this legendary valley. The result is Birding the Border and it’s a lovely read.
For those who aren’t birders, Texas’ Rio Grand Valley is one of the great birding spots in the United States. Near the southernmost tip of Texas, the area’s climate and geography create a birding paradise. More than 500 species have been recorded and the Valley, as it’s affectionately called by locals, is one many birders’ life lists as a place to visit.
Birding the Border is a brief little book — only 165 pages — yet it’s filled with the kind of stories that make birders’ hearts beat a little faster: spotting that rare species; going on one’s first birding expedition; and memories from life-long resident birders. It’s not the kind of book that will teach you which species you’ll find in the Valley. Instead, it speaks to the kind of person who comes to the Rio Grand Valley for the thrill of the chase, for the community of birding, for preservation of birds and of the planet.
Green Jays are one of the many colorful birds you’ll find in the Rio Grande Valley. Photo by Ron Stern www.ronsterntravel.com
Real bottom line: If you’re a birder, Birding the Border will feel familiar and will entertain you. If you’re not yet a birder, Birding the Border is likely to make you want to become one.
Birding the Border is available from major booksellers.