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Natural Acquaintances – Phil Burke

12 October 2012

A guest review by Lil Anderson, author, freelance nature writer and photographer, and wildlife custodian.

As a nature writer myself, I was curious how Phil would approach his observations on the plethora of wildlife found in this area in his book. I have to admit, I was very pleased.

Ever since I first read Natural Acquaintances, I have had occasion to use it as reference while I was tending to various injured or orphaned animals in my care. I pride myself on being observant of our local wildlife and their life history, but I know I miss a lot as their habits vary from individual to individual. Phil’s observations and readily available facts have helped me out more than a few times.

When the Burkes moved to Kenora area (the Canadian Shield), they came from a part of Ontario where bears were considered extinct and trees were considered the enemy. Once Phil and his family were initiated to the local wildlife, they were hooked.

Natural Acquaintances leads the reader through the seasons and with the seasons, what harbingers to watch for. He explains in delightful detail the aerobatics of courting ravens, and in more graphic detail, the circle of life that takes place, whether we like it or not. To add to our reading enjoyment, Doug Sharpe has included many excellent illustrations of the wildlife of which Phil writes.

I would recommend Natural Acquaintances to newcomers to the Shield, friends of newcomers to this area or even just folks who love nature as much as we do. It will answer a lot of questions that we never thought to ask about the wildlife we share this land with.