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From Laurel Hill to Siler's Bog [Paperback]

John K. Terres , Charles L. Ripper , Peter S. White
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 27 2002 Chapel Hill Books
"From Laurel Hill to Siler's Bog" presents the fruits of a scientific as well as affectionate association between a dedicated naturalist and the birds, mammals, and insects of a small, wild world. John Terres, noted author and former editor-in-chief of "Audubon" magazine, spent nine years exploring the Mason Farm wildlife reserve in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His observations of the animal life around him are eloquently recorded here, organized around the cycle of a year from January through December. Originally published to wide acclaim in 1969, the book is an enduring classic of nature writing, and readers everywhere can appreciate it as an engaging introduction to a naturalist's sensibility and way of looking at the world. In a new afterword written for this edition, Terres reflects on his return to the Mason Farm after twenty-five years and the changes that have taken place there.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Revisiting a memorable story Feb. 24 2003
After I read this book the first time, I donated it to a local nature center library. But a part of it stayed with me, and I found myself thinking about it and occasionally sharing it with others. So when I saw another copy of this volume in a used bookstore, I scooped it up for myself. I stood there and thumbed through the pages until I found it -- Chapter 10, "Flying Squirrels: Phantoms of the Night," the story of a young flying squirrel named Hepsey. John Terres had the opportunity to keep Hepsey almost like a pet for most of her life. While that kind of arrangement is generally not a good one for human or for wild creature (and would easily have been fodder for a 1960s Disney film), Terres learned quite a bit about squirrels that a more formal study might not have revealed. He wondered about her nut-hiding talent, for example. So he put 100 hickory nuts out on a table and left the house. When he came back, each nut was hidden somewhere -- in a shirt pocket, in a shoe, etc. He put another 100 nuts out that same night, and they disappeared as well. Based on Hepsey's behavior, Terres projected that a typical squirrel could probably store 10,000-12,000 nuts in one winter season. A fascinating tidbit of information like that sticks in your head. But the fun of it all is in his narration of the escapade and of other Hepsey happenings. That chapter is arresting enough to warrant reading aloud during a nature center program.

Terres' ruminations and nature observations are based on his rambles through the North Carolina landscape. "How Vultures Find Their Prey" is another interesting test (by sight or by smell?) that you will remember. But it's Hepsey who will capture your imagination.
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