Primarily known as the author of numerous naval history books (To the Shores of Tripoli, 1991, etc.), Whipple turns his attention here to an investigation -- via both firsthand observation and research -- of the local wildlife that live in and about his Greenwich, Connecticut, neighborhood. From the skunk that moved into his basement one winter (just as he was preparing to rent his house) to the mockingbird that warbled hundreds of different tunes as it sat on top of his TV antenna, Whipple shares his fascination with, and concerns about, ten species that live within close proximity to people. Along the way, he provides detailed information on their natural history and habits: most gulls, we learn, are shorebirds (not sea birds) and are one of the few air-breathing creatures that can drink salt water, squirrels often show an affinity for fine music; and bats, far from the menace they're reported to be, actually help people by consuming large quantities of mosquitos and other insect pests each night. Meanwhile, Whipple has little good to say about deer hunters and overzealous government agents who try to rid the suburbs of unwanted wildlife. He does offer many useful suggestions for coexisting with animals, such as natural sprays one can put on plants to deter hungry animals. Of particular interest to those with an appreciation -- and a soft spot -- for backyard fauna.