Alison's Fishing Birds

First published as a limited edition in 1980 by Colophon Books, Alison’s Fishing Birds by BC’s acclaimed author and conservationist Roderick Haig-Brown is the story of a young girl’s encounter with some of BC’s most intriguing river birds. Alison’s favourite bird, the Dipper, lives along the river by her house. She spends many hours watching the “fierce and splendid” bird as it fishes for dinner, “bog, bob, bobbing” as it skitters and dives below the surface, always emerging with a tiny fish. Farther up the river bank, Alison catches a glimpse of the Belted Kingfisher hovering above the water, just waiting patiently for the perfect moment to “drop like a stone, headfirst into the water” only to emerge a few seconds later with a tiny wiggling silver fish in its beak. Alison encounters many other birds on her adventures and, true to Haig-Brown’s other stories, every bird, whether it is the Osprey, the Heron, or the Merganser, all have a lesson to share about their life and the natural world around them.

For almost a century, Haig-Brown has been teaching children and adults alike to explore, learn, and respect our forests, oceans, and rivers. As one of Haig-Brown’s lesser-known stories, Alison’s Fishing Birds is a gem that is long overdue on the shelves of popular children’s fiction.

Alison’s Fishing Birds is richly illustrated by acclaimed and talented artist Sheryl McDougald, and includes a preface by Valerie Haig-Brown.

“Any engagement with wildlife—whether listening to the chatter of river otters, hunting grouse or watching a black bear denude an apple tree—restored human meaning and brought us back to the point of things: there is no end to wonder and joy when you care about a place. Alison’s Fishing Birds passes that joy onto another generation”
— Foreword by Andrew Nikiforuk, award-winning journalist and author

Roderick Haig-Brown

Sheryl McDougald

Sheryl McDougald lives, rambles, paints, draws, photographs, photoshops, and otherwise explores the amazing visual buffet that is the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. When she is not busy bleaching found bones or picking up feathers, she works in her many sketch journals, which are also places to plan large-scale paintings. She was diagnosed with MS in 1996, so mobility issues play a part in her artistic practice. She lives in Roberts Creek and can be found scootering around with a travel kit of art supplies in her basket.

Marketing & Publicity
  • direct marketing through Canadian Children’s Book Centre and other illustrated children’s programming
  • curriculum adoption for children's programs specializing in nature conservation and wildlife
  • direct marketing through Roderick Haig-Brown Heritage House, Provincial Park, Institute of Conservation, etc.
  • free teacher's guide available