Nebraska Center for Writers

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About Paul A Johnsgard


Baby Bird Portraits
Copyright © 19
by Paul A Johnsgard
U of Oklahoma P

Here are 35 watercolors of nestlings and fledglings, 19 species of North American birds painted by Sutton over three decades. The original paintings are housed in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and many of them are reproduced here for the first time. Sutton was curator of birds at the University of Oklahoma's Stovall Museum from 1952 until his death in 1982; he wrote 10 books and illustrated 15 others. Some of these watercolors were painted in Ithaca, New York, where Sutton spent 13 years as curator of birds at Cornell University; others were painted in Michigan, Oklahoma, and the Canadian arctic. Johnsgard, an ornithologist, author, and professor, has written descriptive accounts for Sutton's illustrations, offering data on the average number of eggs in the birds' nests, losses to predators and other mortality factors, survival adaptations, favored habitat, and courtship behavior, along with anecdotal information and a list of suggested reading. Sutton's sumptuous paintings and Johnsgard's enlightening text will redouble any reader's fascination and affinity for birds. — Booklist

Birds of the Rocky Mountains
Copyright © 1992
by Paul A Johnsgard
U of Nebraska Press

This comprehensive reference work ... describes in detail 354 species found in a 353,000 square mile area, from the 40th parallel in Colorado north to the 52nd parallel in Canada; from the western border of Idaho to the eastern boundaries of Montana and Wyoming. ... Here a visitor to any of the major national parks in the Rocky Mountain region can have quick access to the abundance and seasonality of a given species. In addition, a comprehensive introduction describes the predominant life zones of the region, and over a dozen maps illustrate such significant features as precipitation patterns, vegetation community types, and major physiographic provinces. The book is well written and an essential guide for the birder who visits the Rockies. — Indiana Audubon Quarterly

Crane Music
Copyright © 1998
by Paul A Johnsgard
U of Nebraska Press

Graced with illustrations by the author, Crane Music introduces the two North American crane species. The sandhill, most often seen, is within easy reach of bird-watchers in the center of the continent. Less visible is the whooping crane, struggling back from near extinction. Paul Johnsgard follows these elegant birds through a year's cycle, describing their seasonal migrations, natural habitats, breeding biology, call patterns — angelic to the bird-lover's ear — and fascinating dancing. The largest and most spectacular migratory concentration of cranes happens each spring when the Platte River valley becomes the staging ground for an amazing gathering of four hundred thousand to five hundred thousand sandhills en route from the South to the Arctic tundra. Johnsgard describes this incredible event as well as memorable personal encounters with the cranes. His knowledge of them transcends natural history, covering their importance in religion and mythology. — from the jacket

A lyrically written natural history of the two North American crane species — the sandhill, the most abundant crane in the world, and the whooping crane, numbering under 200. Johnsgard follows each through a yearly cycle, detailing in nontechnical terms their migratory journeys and formations, natural habitats, breeding biology, call patterns, and crane dancing. — Book News

A valuable contribution to the crane literature. Readers interested in natural history, both professional and amateur, will derive pleasure and excitement from this book. — Ibis

Lyrically written. — Indiana Audubon Quarterly

A concise but thorough history of cranes. ... They have stimulated [Johnsgard’s] scientific curiosity and moved him to write evocative passages describing some of their unique behaviors and vocalizations. — Florida Wildlife

Hawks, Eagles and Falcons of North America
Copyright © 1990
by Paul A Johnsgard
Smithsonian Institution P

The definitive volume on the biology of North American falconiform (hawklike) birds. These beautiful winged predators have long excited human admiration and scientific curiosity. Paul A Johnsgard writes with a keen appreciation of both interests, appealing to the serious birder as well as the ornithologist. — from the jacket

The author first discusses the evolutionary history of raptors and the morphological features they share, then in succeeding chapters details their comparative ecology, food and foraging, behavior, and reproductive biology. Individual species accounts include discussion of geographic range, weights and measurements, in-hand and in-field identification characters, subspecies, plumage variations, ecology, behavior, and breeding biology. Color photographs, two paintings, and detailed line drawings show internal and external anatomy, behavior, and field-identification characters. — Book News

This Fragile Land
Copyright © 19
by Paul A Johnsgard
U of Nebraska P

The Nebraska Sandhills is the largest area of sand dunes in the western hemisphere, covering an area about as large as Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island combined. Unlike most dunes, the Sandhills region supports an astonishing variety of wildlife. Sixty million years ago the area lay submerged in a vast inland sea. As the land lifted and the waters receded, the sandhills were formed, built upon a sandy floor above a sandy basement. Paul A Johnsgard’s appreciation for the region includes its evolution, a process that continues today making a very special place, patiently shaped by water, wind, and time. Sometimes 450 feet higher than their sloping valleys, the hills themselves are almost entirely covered with plants that manage to survive on an unstable substrate and in a climate of merciless heat and cold. They provide homes and resting places for rare species and sustain the livelihoods of a remarkable variety of people. Though firmly established in science, this book is an extended love letter to the Sandhills region and its people, plants, and animals. Johnsgard is now in his third decade of research in the Sandhills. This Fragile Land lets others see what he sees, a land with a fascinating range of geological, biological, and ecological vistas. — from the jacket

Those of the Gray Wind
Copyright © 1986
by Paul A Johnsgard
U of Nebraska P

With Paul Johnsgard, we follow the annual migration of the sandhill cranes from the American Southwest to their Alaskan mating grounds and then home again. It is a flight unaltered in nearly ten million years. By presenting various cycles of the migration in four time periods from 1860 to 1980, Johnsgard, a prominent naturalist, is able to show how man's encroachments have imperiled the flocks. In each section there is interaction between a child and an adult brought about by some ritual event in the migration of the cranes. The story is enriched by the author's exquisite illustrations, by Zuni prayers, and by Eskimo and Pueblo legends. — from the jacket

One doesn't have to be a naturalist to find pleasure in this brief yet highly intriguing tale of a timeless ritual. — Living Today

This is a very special story, a classic of nature writing that combines the keen observance of the scientist with the sensitivity of the naturalist. The result is a timeless story of the American landscape, wild creatures, and man. — Outdoor Press

Sensitively written, scientifically accurate as to the bird's habits and instincts, and gracefully illustrated. — Seattle Times

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