By Craig Nyhus
Lone Star Outdoor News
Regular readers of magazines from Ducks Unlimited, Shooting Sportsman and other publications are familiar with Gary Kramer’s photographic work, as thousands of his photos have been published.
The former biologist and refuge manager with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service undertook a monumental task in writing and photographing the 256-page coffee-table book entitled: Game Birds: A Celebration of North American Upland Birds.
“It took more than three years to photograph all of the birds,” Kramer said. “The Himalayan snow cock (only found in a remote, mountainous part of Nevada) was the toughest. I made three trips and finally got a few shots.”
The book highlights photos of commonly known game birds like the bobwhite quail, ring-necked pheasant and wild turkey. Lesser-known birds include the Gunnison sage grouse, the sooty grouse and the heath hen.
Several pages of eye-popping images accompany each of the chapters focusing on a species, along with a chapter on the game birds of Hawaii. But the book contains much more than the 384 images, and is a must for students, hunters and bird enthusiasts, with descriptions of the birds, their habitat and range (including a map of North America showing the bird’s range), behavior and reproduction, diet and foraging, mortality and predation and conservation and status.
Kramer is likely the only person to have photographed all 34 game birds found in the U.S. and Canada.
“I have driven, walked and hiked in the thin air at 14,000 feet, torrential downpours, blizzards and blowing dust storms; and spent hundreds of hours sitting in cramped blinds as the temperatures ranged from below zero to more than 100 degrees,” he wrote in his Preface. “I was driven by my desire to showcase the magnificence of these birds in their native habitats.”
After viewing Game Birds: A Celebration of North American Upland Birds, readers will be grateful for Kramer’s effort and persistence, and will gain a new awareness for game birds and the need to conserve them.