There are books, and then there are books.

Occasionally, one comes along that ascends above and beyond the mere publishing realm into an actual work of art. “Grouse & Woodcock: The Birds of My Life” by Timothy Flanigan is such a book.

V. Paul Reynolds, Outdoors Columnist

A resident of Pennsylvania, Flanigan is a naturalist, conservationist, writer, photographer, hunter and woodsman. I have known him as an exceedingly skilled nature photographer whose stunning wildlife photos have graced the cover of my publication, Northwoods Sporting Journal.

Packed into 413 pages are dozens of the most elegant photographs of grouse and woodcock that you will ever behold. Woven between the artful photography are 40 information-rich chapters that leave no stone unturned in telling the story of these iconic upland game birds. One of Flanigan’s most enthusiastic reviewers writes this of his book: “Much of Flanigan’s text is devoted to showing how knowledge of the biology of grouse and woodcock lead to better hunting. He shares his knowledge in essays that bring grouse and woodcock hunting to life…”

Flanigan sets the stage for his book with these words: “This book is a celebration of America’s classic combo of upland game birds, the ruffed grouse and the American woodcock. The admiration of these wonderfully wild birds is woven tightly into the fabric of my outdoor-oriented life. Mine is a life richly blessed by the mentorship and friendship of a true sportsman, an understanding wife, and some dearly loved dogs.”

What I find interesting as an outdoor writer is that Flanigan’s work as a wildlife photographer alone could have supplied the makings of a stunning and lush coffee table book. In “Grouse and Woodcock: The Birds of My Life,” you will learn, as I did, that Flanigan is also a deeply reflective and talented outdoor writer, whose lifetime study and pursuit of the “classic combo” prepared him well to offer us a book of this stature.

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In his opening chapter, “Forever King,” you will learn that the ruffed grouse has an ancestry that can be traced back 25,000 years in the Appalachian Mountains during the Pleistocene Epoch. The fact that few other species survived that epoch is a testimony to the grouse’s intrepid nature.

Published by Wild River Press, this is a book of a lifetime for any serious upland hunter. With more than 400 glossy pages and full-page color photographs of grouse and woodcock, it is priced at $100.

Flanigan and his publisher have produced a top-shelf, memorable keepsake publication that will always find a special place in the library of any dedicated upland hunter.

V. Paul Reynolds is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal, an author, a Maine guide and host of a weekly radio program, “Maine Outdoors,” heard at 7 p.m. Sundays on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. Contact him at [email protected]


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