Seeing with New Eyes

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Twenty years ago, and fresh out of graduate school, John and Colleen Marzluff left Arizona for a small mountain cabin in western Maine. Their mission, and opportunity of a lifetime, was to work with renowned biologist Bernd Heinrich on the first-ever extensive study of the winter ecology of the Common Raven.

The Marzluff’s new book, Dog Days, Raven Nights is a fascinating account of two young wildlife biologists at the beginning of their careers. Drawing on their field notebooks and diaries, this book tells the exciting story of their three year immersion into the intricate lives of ravens and assorted corvids. Along the way, sled dogs became their essential companions and helpers, and so quite unexpectedly, the Marzluffs took on a new passion: the raising and training of an avid pack of sled dogs.

Bernd Heinrich had this to say in his foreword to Dog Days, Raven Nights:

“The three years that John, Colleen, and I worked together to solve a raven mystery is recounted here in Dog Days, Raven Nights. As I read their accounting of our time together, I came to understand and appreciate much more about their personal adventure and unique experiences, not only with ravens, but also with the dogs that shared their lives….As I reminisce about the time two decades ago, I see it as one of the great adventures of my life.”

After their days in Maine, John Marzluff went on to become a highly regarded biologist known for his several books, and for his work on corvid behavior and ecology. Colleen Marzluff has since become an expert in the training of herding and sled dogs — a natural pursuit that began in the wilds of Maine!

Dog Days, Raven Nights tells a wonderfully rich story, and it inspired us to pull the following books from two distinct corners of the Land Library’s collection:

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The World of Sled Dogs: From Siberia to Sport Racing by Laura Coppinger, In the Company of Crows and Ravens, John Marzluff’s previous book, written with Tony Angell

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The Raven by Derek Ratcliffe, Ravens in Winter by Bernd Heinrich, along with Heinrich’s Mind of the Raven, and Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution by Raymond & Lorna Coppinger

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