Books by Pete Dunne

Released: Sept. 21, 2011

"Readers will look forward to his next book, on winter, the last in a projected four-book series."
Naturalist Dunne (Bayshore Summer: Finding Eden in a Most Unlikely Place, 2010, etc.)—the vice president of the New Jersey Audubon Society and director of its Cape May Bird Observatory—explores the rigors of the high arctic, a place where life is pushed to its limits by nature and threatened by the incursions of man. Read full book review >
Released: July 7, 2010

"At once funny and moving—a provocative call for greater involvement with the natural world channeled through a riveting portrait of the author's cherished home region."
Compelling portrait of the not-so-lazy days of summer in an overlooked area of the Jersey shore. Read full book review >
Released: March 19, 2009

"Prairie lovers will want to return to Loren Eiseley, Mari Sandoz and William Least Heat-Moon after this glancing outing."
A slender, middling memoir of vernal wanderings in flyover country. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 24, 1995

These ``fictional portrayals'' of the daily lives and behavior patterns of 33 nesting species of hawks, falcons, eagles, and vultures are brilliant when Dunne (The Feather Quest, 1992, etc.) stays with the bird. When humans enter the scene, his attempts to impart ``anecdotal wisdom'' verge on the ludicrous. Dunne, director of the Cape May Observatory, anthropomorphizes ``the dialogues, the dreams, the expressed emotions'' of the raptors, and it usually works. He supplies details on each bird's size, coloring, physiology, diet, hunting and mating habits, its call and flying style within the context of a ``story.'' His serious, observant descriptions are vivid, sometimes lovely, and often amusingly precise: A hook-billed kite, ``proportioned like an oversized bowling pin,'' has eyes ``Bette Davis wide and billy goat crazy.'' The strongest pieces include his portrayal of a male gyrfalcon as he patiently awaits the arrival of his mate in the inhospitable environs of Alaska's North Slope; a 6 a.m. visit with a New Jersey turkey vulture who haunts the highways and for whom the automobile is the ``ideal predator'' in that it ``doesn't eat what it kills''; and the courtship rite of the red-tailed hawk, wherein the male, outweighed and outsized by the uninterested female, pursues her like a lusty schoolboy. But Dunne pushes his luck when a recently widowed farmer, observing a lonesome red- shouldered hawk, decides it's the one he and his then-girlfriend watched swooning for his mate years earlier. Farmer and hawk both find new loves. Then there's the sharp-shinned hawk who, chasing a sparrow, flies smack into Reverend Samuels's study window, leaving an imprint, ``the perfect outline of an angel.'' Strong on natural history; read it for the birds. (illustrations, not seen) Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1992

Avid birder Dunne (Director of Natural History Information/New Jersey Audubon Society) shares his enthusiasm in this entertaining and informative chronicle of a year of birding across North America. The Dunnes' year (wife Linda took the 16 pages of color photographs—not seen—that accompany the text) begins at dawn on New Year's Day 1989, in Whippany, New Jersey, and ends with the Christmas Bird Count in Baldwin, Kansas. During the year, the Dunnes travel to 21 birding sites from Massachusetts to California, Florida to the Arctic. But this is no dry catalogue of birds observed in different habitats. Dunne is not only an expert birder, but an acute observer of humans and of the world around him as well. Woven into his engaging narrative are perceptive profiles of birders, helpful hints on binoculars, a capsule history of field guides to birds, a brief examination of how attitudes toward birds have evolved, and thoughtful essays on the changing environment. Happily, Dunne is not a birding snob, though clearly he has met some. He welcomes amateurs (``birdwatchers,'' as distinguished from ``birders'' with their ever-present checklists) to the club, and his writing invites them in. Though few will be tempted to travel to the Aleutians after reading Dunne's description of the harrowing conditions willingly faced there by die-hard birders eager to add a new bird to their life list, many will no doubt venture eagerly into the backyard, the neighboring countryside, and even the state next door. Roger Tory Peterson, whose thoughts on birding's future are featured in one chapter, contributes a foreword. Bird lore laden with humor, insight, and intelligence. Read full book review >