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Crow Nation; Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness

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Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness by Lyanda Lynn Haupt is primarily concerned with addressing the fallacy that humankind is outside of Nature. The Biblical/ Corporate view of man as being above Nature and having dominion over the earth has obviously led to untold environmental abuses. However, the Rabid Environmentalist view of man as being less important than nature, and a cancer on the planet, not only alienates many of the people who would be useful to the cause of protecting this planet, but it is unreasonable, counterproductive, and misguided.

Ms. Haupt's idea is that by exploring the natural history of the urban environment, by connecting with the life that does thrive in the concrete jungle, and by also recognizing how much is displaced by these species more readily adaptable to the 'disturbed' areas, we will come to see more clearly what our actual place is in the big picture of life on this planet.

She accomplishes this by focusing on crows and their place in the urban environment. She is very balanced in this, showing us a picture of a very interesting species, and why they are so successful in adapting to the human influenced world.

Overall this was a very good book. She shows us how much she cares for all of these creatures, without becoming mawkish or sentimental, although she does butt right up against that line at times. For the most part the writing is lyrical, and there are frequent splashes of humor to lighten the mood. And Lyanda obviously knows her stuff! She not only clearly put a great deal of thought and research into this book, but there is no doubt she has been studying the entirety of natural history(with an open mind) for most of her life. This thoughtful book is marred only by some extended very dry exposition, and something of a tendency to lecture us like an old school marm. However, Lyanda Haupt's heart is obviously in the right place, and this is an informative, interesting, and important book. I give it 4.5stars.

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    • By Dan
      Rare encounters with ordinary birds by Lyanda Lynn Haupt is the best kind of nature writing. It is lyrical and even poetic while dispensing a great deal of interesting information, detailed and descriptive without being dry, passionate without being preachy, personal without being self absorbed. Haupt's love for Nature in general and birds in particular shines through every sentence of these essays on the extraordinary lives of ordinary birds. And best of all, not only does it inspire those of us with an interest in wild creatures, and foster an appreciation for Nature in budding amateur naturalists, but it is so thoughtfully written that it may spark interest in someone who has not been exposed to the natural world, and possibly even change the mind of one who has heretofore dismissed the value of wildlife and natural places. It really is that good. Five enthusiastic stars!
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