Michigan and the Great Lakes

Feather Brained

My Bumbling Quest to Become a Birder and Find a Rare Bird on My Own
Bob Tarte
Memoirist Bob Tarte returns with another hilarious look into his birdbrained world


For much of his life, the closest Bob Tarte got to a nature walk was the stroll from parking lot to picnic table on family outings. But then a chance sighting of a dazzling rose-breasted grosbeak in wife-to-be Linda’s backyard prompts a fascination with birds, which he had never cared about before in the least. Soon he is obsessed with spotting more and more of them—the rarer the better—and embarks on a bumpy journey to improve his bumbling birding skills. Along the way, Tarte offers readers a droll look at the pleasures and pitfalls he encounters, introduces a colorful cast of fellow birders from across the country, and travels to some of the premier birding sites in the Midwest, including Point Pelee, Magee Marsh, Tawas Point State Park, and even Muskegon Wastewater System. This funny, heartfelt memoir will appeal to birders of all skill levels as well as to anyone who knows and loves a birder.

“[Tarte’s] unforgettable family—feathered, furred and (the human ones, mostly) flummoxed—is one you’ll love visiting.”
—Sy Montgomery, Author of The Good Good Pig

“Bob’s tone is self-deprecating, humorous, and totally winsome.”
—Nancy Pearl, NPR Morning Edition

“Tarte’s laughter-through-tears approach is therapeutic and inspirational.”
Entertainment Weekly

Bob Tarte has published three memoirs—Enslaved by Ducks, Fowl Weather, and Kitty Cornered—about living in Lowell, Michigan, with his wife and a menagerie of pet ducks, turkeys, parrots, rabbits, cats, orphaned baby birds, and more.

Praise / Awards

  • “The learning curve for new birders can seem impossible. But once you get started, birding tempts your curiosity and draws you into its own world. Feather Brained is Bob Tarte’s encounter with the entirely new universe of birding, and his entertaining experiences and laughable humor make this book an easy, engrossing read.”
    —Greg Miller, real life birder portrayed by Jack Black in the movie The Big Year
  • “Michigan may be known for cars and college football, but Bob Tarte’s joyful memoir proves the state also should be celebrated for its wild birds—and the terrific community of people who seek, watch, and protect them.
    —Mark Obmascik, author of The Big Year
  • "Author Bob Tarte worried that his new book ‘Feather Brained: My Bumbling Quest to Become a Birder and Find a Rare Bird on My Own’ wouldn't appeal to anyone but ornithologists, but I'll let you in on a secret: ‘Feather Brained’ is really a love story disguised as a birding book...Readers will have their own love affair with words when they read Tarte’s beautifully transcendent passages describing his experiences...Five Stars."
    --C.A. Wulff, Examiner.com
  • "Feather Brained is lighthearted, informative, and filled with Bob's trademark humor."
    --Nancy Horner, Bookfoolery
  • "Feather Brained" is on the list of 2017 Michigan Notable books.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 216pp.
  • 15 B&W Photos.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2016
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11986-8

Add to Cart
  • $22.95 U.S.

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