Like her bestseller Red-Tails in Love, Marie Winn’s Central Park in the Dark explores a once-hidden world in a series of interlocking narratives about the extraordinary denizens, human and animal, of an iconic American park. Her beguiling account of a city’s lakes and woodlands at night takes the reader through the cycle of seasons as experienced by nocturnal active beasts (raccoons, bats, black skimmers, and sleeping robins among them), insects (moths, wasps, fireflies, crickets), and slugs (in all their unexpected poetical randiness). Winn does not neglect her famous protagonists Pale Male and Lola, the hawks that captivated readers years ago, but this time she adds an exciting narrative about thirty-eight screech owls in Central Park and their lives, loves, and tragedies there.
An eye-popping amount of natural history is packed into this entertaining book—on bird physiology, spiders, sunsets, dragonflies, meteor showers, and the nature of darkness. But the human drama is never forgotten, for Central Park at night boasts a floating population not only of lovers, dog walkers, and policemen but of regulars young and old who, like Winn, hope to unlock the secrets of urban nature. These “night people” are drawn into a peculiar kind of intimacy. While exploring the astonishing variety of wildlife in the city park, they end up revealing more of their inner lives than they expected.