Nocturnalia: Nature in the Western Night

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by Charles Hood and José Gabriel Martínez-Fonseca, 2023. Paperback, 240 pages.

Don’t be afraid of the dark: grab a flashlight and rediscover your sense of adventure!

Darkness is something humans strive to keep at bay, but under the glow of twilight a nocturnal universe stirs to life. Nightshade blossoms bloom, javelinas parade down city streets, fox eyes gleam under the cover of the forest, and tiny sparrows fly incredible distances, guided by the stars. Naturalist Charles Hood and bat biologist José Gabriel Martínez-Fonseca unravel these enigmas in Nocturnalia, inviting readers on an environmental romp through the wonders of the Wild West. Their sundown dispatches, featuring over 100 photographs from California and the American Southwest, take us from the astronomical canopy overhead, to the flora that unfurl under moonshine, to the creatures that go bump in the night.

With practical tips for the budding nighttime naturalist, the authors invite citizen scientists of all stripes to expand our knowledge of this final frontier and our understanding of life on Earth. Exploring the evolutionary adaptations of owls, bats, and other nightlife animals; the natural history of nighttime plants; and the celestial patterns that regulate this after-dark kingdom, Hood and Martínez-Fonseca lift their lanterns to illuminate the exquisite and intricate inner workings of nature after nightfall.

About the Authors

Charles Hood is a poet and naturalist who lives in the Mojave Desert. Always ready for the next excursion, he owns three bat detectors, nine headlamps and flashlights, and a hardcopy world atlas.

José Gabriel Martínez-Fonseca divides his time between Nicaragua and Arizona, where he recently completed a PhD in bat ecology at Northern Arizona University. He owns almost as many headlamps and cameras as Charles does and has contributed images to wildlife publications worldwide. He is also very adroit at catching bats and tarantulas, among other creatures.