Tiny ruby-throated hummingbirds weighing less than a nickel fly from the upper Midwest to Costa Rica every fall, crossing the six-hundred-mile Gulf of Mexico without a single stop. One of the many creatures that commute on the Mississippi Flyway as part of an annual migration, they pass along Chicago’s lakefront and through midwestern backyards on a path used by their species for millennia. This magnificent migrational dance takes place every year in Chicagoland, yet it is often missed by the region’s two-legged residents. The Art of Migration uncovers these extraordinary patterns that play out over the seasons. Readers are introduced to over two hundred of the birds and insects that traverse regions from the edge of Lake Superior to Lake Michigan and to the rivers that flow into the Mississippi.
As the only artist in residence at the Field Museum, Peggy Macnamara has a unique vantage point for studying these patterns and capturing their distinctive traits. Her magnificent watercolor illustrations capture flocks, movement, and species-specific details. The illustrations are accompanied by text from museum staff and include details such as natural histories, notable features for identification, behavior, and how species have adapted to environmental changes. The book follows a gentle seasonal sequence and includes chapters on studying migration, artist’s notes on illustrating wildlife, and tips on the best ways to watch for birds and insects in the Chicago area.
A perfect balance of science and art, The Art of Migration will prompt us to marvel anew at the remarkable spectacle going on around us.