Birds of the Squam Lakes Region
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center Publishes New Book
Holderness, NH – Squam Lakes Natural Science Center has just added a major new addition to the state’s ornithological information and literature with the recent publication of the Birds of the Squam Lakes Region.
In 1977, local ornithologist Beverly Ridgely wrote Birds of the Squam Lakes Region, a detailed account of the bird species that he and his son Bob (eminent ornithologist Dr. Robert Ridgely) had documented in the Squam area. The book was universally well-received. It had a scholarly introduction by the late Tudor Richards – one of the greats of New Hampshire ornithology. It went out of print in 1985 and Bev then decided to write a revised and expanded edition, which was published in 1988 and included lovely pen and ink illustrations by John Gwynne and Cyndy House. It too is long out of print.
Bev died in 2017 just shy of his 97th birthday. Son Bob has gone on to world renown for his bird conservation work in the tropics and has remained active in the birding scene in the Lakes Region.
In early 2019, Bob convened a meeting with Executive Director of the Science Center Iain MacLeod (a noted ornithologist in his own right) and another Squam area birder Ken Klapper. From that meeting a plan was made to create and publish a completely revised and expanded version of the book. Ridgely and Klapper would work on revising the original bird accounts, writing new accounts for species that had been added to the area list since 1988, and sourcing photos. MacLeod would do the book design and layout and provide technical assistance and the Science Center would serve as fiscal agent and publisher.
Over the last three years, the trio have chipped away at this huge project and in June the book was published. The new Birds of the Squam Lakes Region is 400-pages packed with detailed information on the natural history and status of the more than 280 species of birds recorded in the area and illustrated with more than 200 color photos by some of the finest wildlife photographers in the region. It also includes a “Birds and Hiking” section highlighting the best locations to see birds in the region.
In the Preface of the new book, Bob writes “…Dad would go out on near-daily bird walks, or later drives, carefully recording the birds he’d seen. I’ve never seen so many notes! Toward the end they became scattershot, but their first few, many of them detailed, formed the basis for what became his ‘Guide to the Birds of the Squam Lakes Region.’ Copies of that book, with its familiar green cover adorned by my friend John Gwynne’s lovely drawing of a Common Loon and its chick, became a familiar sight in many homes around the lake. That was just as he wanted it. He wanted everyone to know about, and to love, birds! As a professional ornithologist and conservationist, I do too. And I gradually realized that there was going to be no better way to honor Dad’s memory than to republish his book, getting it back into circulation.”
The book is available at the Howling Coyote Gifts shop at the Science Center, local book stores, and can also be ordered online at www.nhnature.org/books. Cost: $35 (plus shipping)
All proceeds from the sale of the book support the Science Center.
About Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
The mission of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is to advance understanding of ecology by exploring New Hampshire’s natural world. Through spectacular live animal exhibits, natural science education programs, guided Squam Lake Cruises, an informal public garden, and Blue Heron School, a nature-based Montessori early learning center, the Science Center has educated and enlightened visitors since 1966 about the importance of our natural world. Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is located on Route 113 in Holderness, an easy drive from exit 24 off I-93, and public trails are open daily from May 1 through November 1 with programming throughout the year. The Science Center is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is the only AZA-accredited institution in northern New England. For further information about the Science Center, call 603-968-7194 or visit www.nhnature.org.