Monday, August 18, 2014

New Title


1) Gorman, Gerard. Woodpeckers of the World: A Photographic Guide. 2014. Firefly Books. Hardbound: 528 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Woodpeckers of the World is the first definitive guide to all 239 species of woodpecker [Actually there are two other modern woodpecker monographs: Short (1982) and Winkler et al. (1995).]. Beautiful color photographs of male, female and juvenile woodpeckers taken in their natural habitat reveal the birds' coloring, markings, and sexual dimorphism.
     Detailed text looks at general woodpecker biology, followed by 239 detailed species accounts. Identification notes are followed by brief entries on food, voice, drumming, habitat, status, distribution, geographic variation and confusion species. Each entry features at least two, usually three, high-quality photographs showing an adult male, an adult female and a juvenile. In all, more than 700 carefully selected images highlight identification criteria. Each species entry also contains an accurate range map.
     Woodpeckers, an order that includes some of the oldest avian lineages, are one of the most popular families of birds, and they are certainly one of the more unusual. Their ability to excavate holes in wood is legendary. The family ranges from the tiny piculets of tropical forests to the mighty Imperial Woodpecker of Mexico, sadly now extinct. In between, there is a considerable variety of species inhabiting forests and woodlands on all continents except Australasia and Antarctica. 
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with a serious interest in woodpeckers.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                          Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman


My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-333/

Saturday, August 9, 2014

New Title


1) Avery, Mark. A Message from Martha: The Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and Its Relevance Today. 2014. Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 304 pages. Price: $22.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: September 1st, 2014 marked the centenary of one of the best-documented extinctions in history – the demise of the Passenger Pigeon. From being the commonest bird on the planet 50 years earlier, the species became extinct on that fateful day, with the death in Cincinnati Zoo of Martha – the last of her kind.
      This book tells the tale of the Passenger Pigeon, and of Martha, and of author Mark Avery's journey in search of them. It looks at how the species was a cornerstone of the now much-diminished ecology of the eastern United States, and how the species went from a population that numbered in the billions to nil in a terrifyingly brief period of time. It also explores the largely untold story of the ecological annihilation of this part of America in the latter half of the 19th century, a time that saw an unprecedented loss of natural beauty and richness as forests were felled and the prairies were ploughed, with wildlife slaughtered more or less indiscriminately.
      Despite the underlying theme of loss, this book is more than another depressing tale of human greed and ecological stupidity. It contains an underlying message – that we need to re-forge our relationship with the natural world on which we depend, and plan a more sustainable future. Otherwise more species will go the way of the Passenger Pigeon. We should listen to the message from Martha.  
RECOMMENDATION: On the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon from a British perspective.

Friday, August 8, 2014

New Title


1) Sinclair, Ian et al.. The Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa: Third Edition. 2014. Struik Nature. Paperback: 464 pages. Price: $32.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This new larger edition is based on the recently updated fourth edition of the standard-format Sasol Birds of Southern Africa.
     The region’s best-selling, most comprehensively illustrated and trusted field guide, it offers: Rewritten species accounts, now with group introductions; Newly designed plates for ease of use and comparison; More than 380 new improved illustrations; Illustrations with simplified labels, pinpointing key differentiating features; Updated distribution maps showing relative abundance and indicating resident or migrant status; Calendar bars showing species’ occurrence and breeding periods, and sonograms depicting the calls of difficult-to-distinguish birds that have distinctive calls.
     The larger format allows for better appreciation and easier use of the plates. 
RECOMMENDATION: For those who find this larger format more useful.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                              Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman


My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-332/

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Title

1) del Hoyo, Josep and Nigel J. Collar. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. 2014. Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 904 pages. Price: $259.00 U.S. NOTE: Lynx Edicions has extended the pre-publication price of about $195.00 U.S. at least to the end of August 2014.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The first ever Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World is really two works in one. It is a complete checklist whose taxonomy incorporates the most up-to-date information and an exhaustive methodology (Tobias et al. 2010 [in the Ibis]) in an entirely systematic and consistent way. At the same time, it contains illustrations and distribution maps for every bird species in the world. This includes the original artwork from the HBW series, as well as hundreds of new illustrations, all in two compact volumes.
     This book features:
    
357 color plates.
     8,290 bird illustrations (including 242 new and 783 improved).
     4,428 distribution maps.
     34 full-page reference maps.
     2,126 bibliographical references.

RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with a serious interest in birds! This title is a leading contender for the "Best Bird Book of 2014." You can order the book from Lynx here: 
And from nhbs.com here: http://www.nhbs.com/hbw_and_birdlife_international_illustrated_checklist_of_the_tefno_189998.html

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New Title


1) Allen, Arthur. The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis. 2014. W.W.Norton. Hardbound: 384 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: From a laboratory in wartime Poland comes a fascinating story of anti-Nazi resistance and scientific ingenuity.
     Few diseases are more gruesome than typhus. Transmitted by body lice, it afflicts the dispossessed—refugees, soldiers, and ghettoized peoples—causing hallucinations, terrible headaches, boiling fever, and often death. The disease plagued the German army on the Eastern Front and left the Reich desperate for a vaccine. For this they turned to the brilliant and eccentric Polish zoologist Rudolf Weigl.
     In the 1920s, Weigl had created the first typhus vaccine using a method as bold as it was dangerous for its use of living human subjects. The astonishing success of Weigl’s techniques attracted the attention and admiration of the world—giving him cover during the Nazi’s violent occupation of Lviv. His lab soon flourished as a hotbed of resistance. Weigl hired otherwise doomed mathematicians, writers, doctors, and other thinkers, protecting them from atrocity. The team engaged in a sabotage campaign by sending illegal doses of the vaccine into the Polish ghettos while shipping gallons of the weakened serum to the Wehrmacht.
     Among the scientists saved by Weigl, who was a Christian, was a gifted Jewish immunologist named Ludwik Fleck. Condemned to Buchenwald and pressured to re-create the typhus vaccine under the direction of a sadistic Nazi doctor, Erwin Ding-Schuler, Fleck had to make an awful choice between his scientific ideals or the truth of his conscience. In risking his life to carry out a dramatic subterfuge to vaccinate the camp’s most endangered prisoners, Fleck performed an act of great heroism.
     Drawing on extensive research and interviews with survivors, Arthur Allen tells the harrowing story of two brave scientists—a Christian and a Jew— who put their expertise to the best possible use, at the highest personal danger. 
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the history of science or World War II.