A Natural History of a Small Town
Biodiversity on the outskirts of a major Canadian city
Fully illustrated – 148 pages
Baie-D’Urfé and around – the small town where biodiversity happens
Baie-D’Urfé et ses environs – la petite ville où règne la biodiversité
This website accompanies an illustrated book describing the biodiversity of species in the small town of Baie-D’Urfé and its immediate neighbourhood.
*The book is FREE (PDF format)*
What this is not:
This is not a traditional field guide with detailed information about how to identify individual species. There are already plenty of those available and little need for me to reinvent the wheel.
What this is:
An overview, an introduction, an annotated catalogue if you will, of the widely diverse range of plant and animal species that are known to found in, and within a short distance of, a small suburban town to the west of the city of Montreal. Many of them can be seen in our own gardens. If you live in the area you might be surprised to discover what is living outside your front door.
I hope that the more people know what is around us, then the more people will care and take steps to protect our plants and animals.
The Natural History tells readers about local habitats and suggests good places to visit. There is encouragement to manage your own gardens to attract wildlife and possibly start bird feeding. There are details of species known to be in the area and lots (lots!) of photographs. There are lists for people who like lists and brief introductions to taxonomic families with comments on local examples to look out for. Do you have a fancy to do some Citizen Science and contribute your observations to help scientists studying our wildlife? I tell you how to do that as well.
It is available by download in PDF format.
** Please note the Copyright statement further down this page
Why free I have been asked? Quite simply, because my interest is in giving the most people possible the opportunity to learn about and care about our wildlife than making pocket-money that I have to declare to the tax man. BUT, in return for a no-cost book I do ask for feedback from readers – please tell me (see Contact link in the menu) what you think and what else you would like to see in the book which is, of course, a work in progress..
I am a biologist and this book arose out of over 20 years observation and study of the plants and creatures in our local peri-urban environment, as well as the strange pleasure I take in keeping lists. I have often found it rather sad when people I meet express surprise, and in once frank disbelief, that we have much more than “blackbirds, sparrows and weeds” as one person put it. The answer is that we have many more species – more even than the notional 1001 species of the book’s title. So many more.
All of this bounty is impressive for suburban gardens and nearby streets and parks … OK, there is also Canada’s largest Arboretum within a short bike ride, but it’s nevertheless good to discover how many species I have been able to see in the forest – many of which can also be found living just down the road and in my garden. In your garden too, I’ll be bound. If you live elsewhere, maybe this will inspire you to look around your own neighbourhood, because there is nothing that unusual or special about Baie-D’Urfé.
Note: I was intending to offer an ebook (EPUB) version as well but the number and quality of illustrations make the file size too large for the usual ebook distributors to accept … I am working on this. I had also intended to make a print version available for those with deeper pockets as quality photographs inevitably elevate the price to stratospheric levels and there is no way around that. Hence at the moment that is a project for the future … though if you are interested please get in touch and I will see what can be arranged
Please use the links above to access your own copy of “1001 Species: A Natural History of a Small Town”.
This book and all images and text within it are made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada (CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 CA) License … which really just means that you are very welcome to share a reasonable amount of content by way of quotation, but for non-commercial purposes only and you may not alter anything without permission.
You should also show attribution – such as © Richard Gregson 2022 for example.
Other Sparroworks Guides …
A Walk in the Forest
Learn as you Walk
A fully illustrated Self-Guided Walk on the MAIN and Canada-150 Trails of the MORGAN ARBORETUM with an introduction to the many other trails in the forest.
Discover many interesting things about the trees, flowers and wildlife you pass along the way.
FREE BOOK – available in PDF or EPUB formats
Birding in the Morgan Arboretum
A guide to the almost 200 species of birds that have been recorded along the extensive trails of Canada’s largest arboretum.
Written for both casual visitors and novice birders as well as for experienced birders. Fully illustrated.
FREE BOOK – available in PDF or EPUB formats
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