I’ve read many books about birdwatching, one about someone who traveled all over to see certain turtle species, and another about seeking out hummingbirds. This one is in a smiliar vein, but about bees. Specifically, wild bees. One of the facts I learned: there are over twenty thousand bee species on Earth, and only 260 are the familiar bumblees and honeybees. So many more are unknown. At least, to most of us. The author of this delightful book realized one day that she couldn’t name the tree species in her town, and decided to learn more about nature by close observation. She quickly became fascinated with wild bees, taking photos of them, trying to identify them and learning about their behavior. Her delight becomes the reader’s. So much to know! I was vaguely aware of a few solitary bees- mason bees and carpenter bees- but I didn’t know anything about tree bumblebees, or ivy bees, or cuckoo bees (which do exactly what their name suggests). Besides all things about bees in here, this book also has sections that discuss global warming (and its impact on wildlife, of course), problems that humans cause for bees, birds and other wildlife (including a new term for me- anthrophony– which is the collective background noise caused by humans). There’s things about gardening, about living alongside wildlife, about appreciating trees and flowering plants. There’s a bit of travel writing and bird-watching, but mostly it is close to home, with loving scrutiny of the small creatures- especially bees. Home for the author is in the UK, so my only little disappointment with this book is that not all the species mentioned are familiar to me, or ones I will see in my garden. I liked it a lot regardless. Fun tidbit: did you know that if a bumblebee feels you are too close, it will signal its desire for you to back off by raising a leg in the air? That’s just great.
Borrowed from the public library.