White Feathers: The Nesting Lives of Tree Swallows

Bernd Heinrich

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020

Agent: Sandra Dijkstra

The surprising, rich life of tree swallows in nesting season—with Heinrich’s beautiful illustrations and photographs—by the acclaimed naturalist. 

Heinrich is sparked one early spring day by a question: Why does a pair of swallows in a nest-box close to his Maine cabin show an unvarying preference for white feathers—not easily available nearby—as nest lining? He notices, too, the extreme aggressiveness of “his” swallows toward some other swallows of their own kind. And he wonders, given swallows’ reputation for feistiness, at the extraordinary tameness and close contact he experiences with his nesting birds.

“Heinrich is a prolific, wide-ranging author who always finds nature compelling and makes it accessible for others ... This inviting work will draw in naturalists and birders, along with anyone wishing to learn more about animal behavior from a trusted guide.”
Library Journal
“The joy of White Feathers is in its careful concentration, its patience and attention to detail and in the obvious joy its author takes in the nesting lives of an unassuming bird.”
Shelf Awareness

"A fascinating narrative... Natural history lovers will relish this intimate look at a small but vital part of nature."
—Publishers Weekly

"A lovely intimate look at the nesting cycle of tree swallows as Heinrich follows one nest over the course of a year... Heinrich writes lyrically of the joys of field research and the way research sparks new inquiries."

"...A dedicated scientist... a prolific author and naturalist... Definitely one for dyed-in-the-wool bird lovers."
Kirkus Reviews

"From the author of the beloved books Ravens in Winter and Naturalist at Large, this richly engaging view of the lives of wild birds, as always with Heinrich, yields “marvelous, mind-altering” insight and discoveries."
Los Angeles Times