All posts tagged: naturalist

Amy Tan goes from novelist to naturalist in her California yard

Amy Tan goes from novelist to naturalist in her California yard

Book Review The Backyard Bird Chronicles By Amy TanKnopf: 320 pages, $35If you buy books linked on our site, The Times may earn a commission from Bookshop.org, whose fees support independent bookstores. Most birders have origin stories, the tales they tell of how birds, for whatever reason, moved from background to foreground in their lives. Novelist Amy Tan’s journey, cataloged in her delightful new nonfiction book “The Backyard Bird Chronicles,” began with a sketchbook and a pencil. At the age of 64, she enrolled in a drawing class with naturalist John Muir Laws. She soon moved on to a class in nature journaling, which prompted her to begin closely observing the birds in the backyard of her Marin County home. She put out feeders and then documented — in words and sketches — the avian life that came to the buffet. And quite a buffet it became. As her interest — some might say obsession — grew, Tan found herself catering to the tastes of dozens of species. She provided sunflower and nyjer seeds for …