Books That Inspire 2010

Fifty Common Birds of Oklahoma and the Southern Great Plains
George Miksch Sutton

This book is a slender volume of barely one hundred pages. It is a simple, uncomplicated book about fifty of the most common birds found in Oklahoma. It contains an illustration of each bird and, on the opposite page, Dr. Sutton's commentary on that particular bird. Dr. Sutton's art, his drawings, paintings and illustrations, are world-renowned. In this case, though, it is the commentaries that truly reach out to the reader and include that individual in an intimate conversation with one of the world's great ornithologists.

Dr. Sutton was a kind, charming, thoughtful and straightforward fellow. That is how he wrote. Every commentary is like sitting on a park bench with Dr. Sutton after a morning bird-walk, hearing stories about birds he has seen. The birds discussed and illustrated in this book are all around us. Many are species that we see often. The experience of observing them after reading this book, though, is greatly enhanced. The author's anecdotes and insights make the most common bird much more interesting. After reading all the entries devoted to these fifty birds, one can just glimpse the depth and breadth of this man's career. I am inspired by such a well-spent life.

It is modern man's plight that he needs interpreters to really appreciate his natural surroundings. Oklahoma has a wealth of nature worth appreciating. Dr. Sutton was one of our greatest interpreters.

From Books That Inspire 2007.

C. B. Elder
Academic Counselor