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University of Iowa News Release


July 24, 2007

UI Press Publishes 'Fifty Uncommon Birds Of The Upper Midwest' Aug. 15

"Fifty Uncommon Birds of the Upper Midwest," a new title from the University of Iowa Press, will become available Aug. 15.

The book will be available directly from the UI Press by phone at 800-621-2736 or online at In the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, or Africa, contact Eurospan by phone, +44 (0) 1767 604972, by fax +44 (0) 1767 601640, or online at

Although the many common birds of the Upper Midwest are lovely to hear and see, there is no doubt that the less common birds attract more attention. In this profusely illustrated companion to their "Fifty Common Birds of the Upper Midwest," which provided a new appreciation of the not-so-ordinary beauty and lifeways of familiar birds, illustrator Dana Gardner and writer Nancy Overcott celebrate the rarer birds of the Upper Midwest.

Gardner and Overcott selected species that are uncommon because of dwindling populations, species that may be common elsewhere but not in the Upper Midwest, species that may be abundant one year and absent the next, and species that are usually present but are seldom seen.

Beginning with the surf scoter with its multicolored bill and ending with the gregarious evening grosbeak -- which resembles a giant goldfinch -- they pair watercolors of each species with text that portrays its life cycle, its vocalizations and appearance, and its habitat, food and foraging methods, as well as migration patterns and distribution.

Throughout, Overcott's text is infused with the pleasures of her 20-plus years of living and birding in Minnesota's Big Woods and her dedication to preserving natural resources. Gardner's paintings emphasize Overcott's call for conservation efforts.

The annotated bibliography includes references to online information about national and international organizations that focus on birds or that affect birds through conservation, as well as references to books and journals for birders of all levels of experience.

Gardner has illustrated more than 25 books, including most recently "A Field Guide to the Birds of Belize." Overcott writes columns for the Fillmore County Journal, NatureScape News and Minnesota Birding. They are the co-authors not only of "Fifty Common Birds of the Upper Midwest," published by the UI Press in 2006, but also the laminated guide "Birds at Your Feeder: A Guide to Winter Birds of the Great Plains," published by the UI Press in 2003.

Their new volume is part of the Bur Oak series from the UI Press. Recognizing the richness of the Midwest's heritage, this series of original and reprinted books is named after the state tree of Iowa. The books represent the UI Press' dedication to preserving the literature, history, geography and culture of the region.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073; cell: 310-430-1013;

PHOTOS are available at