In her most recent book, “The Backyard Bird Chronicles,” the best-selling author revels in a newfound preoccupation with birds — and drawing.

To them, she isn’t a best-selling novelist, but simply “the flightless creature” — and, most important, a reliable source of food.

They would not know her at all, nor she them, if not for the garden created around the home in Sausalito, Calif., that she and her husband downsized to in 2012. Areas of lawn went away in favor of flowers and some wildness, and the birds came.

Now Amy Tan is bird-watching, and the birds are watching, too. They may not have read “The Joy Luck Club” or any of her other novels, but they have their eyes on her.

“I’m a dependable human,” Ms. Tan writes in her newest book, “The Backyard Bird Chronicles.” “Every bird says so.”

She also writes: “I am controlled by birds.”

Not that Ms. Tan is complaining. She is grateful for every episode of “new bird tachycardia” — the pulse-quickening sight of a pair of bald eagles soaring overhead or a great blue heron landing on the roof — and grateful, too, for the company of her regulars.

“The Backyard Bird Chronicles” is not fiction, but drawn from entries in nine journals and a dozen sketchbooks that Ms. Tan began filling once the birds got her updated landscape on their radar, and she increasingly got them on hers.

This post was originally published on this site