Friday, April 30, 2010

New Titles

 1) Chadwick, Douglas H. The Wolverine Way. 2010. Patagonia Books. Hardbound: 277 pages. Price: $25.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: The Wolverine Way reveals the natural history of this species and the forces that threaten its future, engagingly told by Douglas Chadwick, who volunteered with the Glacier Wolverine Project. This five-year study in Glacier National Park – which involved dealing with blizzards, grizzlies, sheer mountain walls, and other daily challenges to survival – uncovered key missing information about the wolverine’s habitat, social structure and reproduction habits. Wolverines, according to Chadwick, are the land equivalent of polar bears in regard to the impacts of global warming.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting read on this elusive predator.

2) Faulkner, Douglas W. Birds of Wyoming. 2010. Roberts and Company, Publishers. Hardbound: 404 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Birds of Wyoming is the first comprehensive guide since 1939 to the status and distribution of Wyoming’s avifauna. The book provides detailed information for over 400 bird species known to have occurred in Wyoming through 2008. Each full-page resident species account features a species photo and distribution map, while the non-resident section provides the reader insight on regular migrants and rarities. Introductory chapters authored by state experts give an indepth look at the state’s ornithological history, vegetative landscapes, and avian conservation efforts. Habitat-focused sections by regional experts provide a broader view of management and conservation issues within Wyoming’s dominant sagebrush, montane forest, and shortgrass prairie ecotones. Birds of Wyoming fills the niche for a state-based reference that will be useful to a wide range of professional disciplines and amateur birders. Governmental land managers as well as local and out-of-state birders alike will benefit from the easily accessible information (and literature references in most cases) in each species account.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for birders in the region, although I wish the resident and non-resident birds were in one section instead of two.

3)Hatcher, J.B. Bone Hunters In Patagonia. 1903 (1985). Paperback: 209 pages. Price: $22.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: In 1896 paleontologist John Bell Hatcher set off to collect the wondrous fossils rumored to be found in the harsh and often hostile mountains and plains of Patagonia. Bone Hunters in Patagonia is Hatcher's account of his remarkable three-year expedition. In form and content, it reads much like a continuation of Charles Darwin's Patagonian reports in Voyage of the Beagle. Yet, in many ways, Hatcher is the more interesting author, a man "driven beyond the limits of civilization to study nature in her true form."
RECOMMENDATION: For those interested in the history of paleontology.
Bone Hunters in Patagonia: Narrative of the Expedition

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Title

Heinrich, Bernd. The Nesting Season: Cuckoos, Cuckolds, and the Invention of Monogamy. 2010. Belknap/Harvard. Hardbound: 337 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Why are the eggs of the marsh wren deep brown, the winter wren’s nearly white, and the gray catbird’s a brilliant blue? And what in the DNA of a penduline tit makes the male weave a domed nest of fibers and the female line it with feathers, while the bird-of-paradise male builds no nest at all, and his bower-bird counterpart constructs an elaborate dwelling?
      These are typical questions that Bernd Heinrich pursues in the engaging style we’ve come to expect from him—supplemented here with his own stunning photographs and original watercolors. One of the world’s great naturalists and nature writers, Heinrich shows us how the sensual beauty of birds can open our eyes to a hidden evolutionary process. Nesting, as Heinrich explores it here, encompasses what fascinates us most about birds—from their delightful songs and spectacular displays to their varied eggs and colorful plumage; from their sex roles and mating rituals to nest parasitism, infanticide, and predation.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of Heinrich's books will enjoy this one!

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Title

     Capinera, John L. Insects and Wildlife: Arthropods and their relationships with wild vertebrate animals. 2010. Wiley-Blackwell. Paperback: 487 pages. Price: $79.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: This book provides a comprehensive overview of the interrelationships of insects and wildlife. It serves as an introduction to insects and other arthropods for wildlife management and other vertebrate biology students, and emphasizes the importance of insects to wild vertebrate animals. The book emphasizes how insects exert important influences on wildlife habitat suitability and wildlife population sustainability, including their direct and indirect effects on wildlife health.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in entomological and/or vertebrate ecology.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reprinted Title

de la Rosa, Carlos L. and Claudia C. Nocke. A Guide to the Carnivores of Central America. 2000 (2010). University of Texas Press. Paperback: 245 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: This book that was one of the first field guides dedicated to the carnivores of Central America has just been reprinted. It describes the four indigenous families—wild cats, raccoons and their relatives, skunks and their relatives, and wild canids—and their individual species that live in the region. The authors introduce each species by recounting a first-person encounter with it, followed by concise explanations of its taxonomy, scientific name, English and Spanish common names, habitat, natural history, and conservation status. Range maps show the animal's past and current distribution, while Claudia Nocke's black-and-white drawings portray it visually. The concluding chapter looks to the carnivores' future, including threats posed by habitat destruction and other human activities, and describes some current conservation programs.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction on the subject.

I also recommend this book:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Title

              Gardiner, Jenny. Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who's Determined to Kill Me. 2010. Gallery Books. Hardbound: 241 pages. Price: $23.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: A hilarious and poignant cautionary tale about two very different types of creatures, thrown together by fate, who learn to make the best of a challenging situation -- feather by feather. Like many new bird owners, Jenny and Scott Gardiner hoped for a smart, talkative, friendly companion. Instead, as they took on the unexpected task of raising a curmudgeonly wild African gray parrot and a newborn, they learned an important lesson: parrothood is way harder than parenthood.
RECOMMENDATION: Should have had more about Graycie the parrot!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Owl photos wanted

Owl photos are wanted for this book:

For information see this link:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Here's a list of forthcoming titles from Princeton University Press:

           TITLE:                                                                 DUE OUT:
1) Birds of Peru (revised paperback edition).                   June 2010
2) Birds of Australia (Simpson and Day, 8th edition).       August 2010
3) Seeds of Amazonian Plants.                                        August 2010
4) Nightjars of the World.                                               August 2010
5) Birds of the West Indies (Arlott).                                September 2010
6) Birds of Mongolia.                                                      October 2010
7) Honeybee Democracy.                                               October 2010
8) Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs.                             October 2010
9) Parrots of the World (paperback).                               October 2010
10) Birds of the Middle East (2nd edition).                       November '10

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Birds of the Hawaiian Islands: on-line monograph

The late Robert L. Pyle and Peter Pyle have written an on-line monograph titled:                                     

The Birds of the Hawaiian Islands: Occurrence, History, Distribution and Status.

You can view the monograph here:

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I always look forward to the latest title in Collins's New Naturalist series. Here's their latest volume:

     Newton, Ian. Bird Migration. 2010. Collins. Paperback: 596 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: This book is divided into four main sections: the first is introductory, describing the different types of bird movements, methods of study, and the main migration patterns seen around the British Isles; the second part is concerned mainly with the process of migration – with timing, energy needs, weather effects and navigation; the third with evolution and change in migratory behavior; and the fourth with the geographical and ecological aspects of bird movements.
RECOMMENDATION: For those interested in bird migration or the New Naturalist series.

New Titles:

1) Darwin, Charles. Insectivorous Plants. 2009. Cambridge University Press. Paperback: 462 pages. Price: $29.99 U.S.
SUMMARY: Charles Darwin (1809-1882) had long been fascinated by insectivorous palnts, from the round-leafed sundew and bladderworts to the exotic Pinguiculas (butterworts) and Nepenthes ( pitcher plants) we he encounted during the Beagle voyage. This books showsthe results of his experiments on these plants that showed evolutionary adaptation in their highly specialized methods of obtaining nutrients.
RECOMMENDATION: For those interested in the works of Charles Darwin or in insectivorous plants.

2)Dingus, Lowell and Mark A. Norell. Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus rex. 2010. University of California Press. Hardbound: 368 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
SUMMARY:From his stunning discovery of Tyrannosaurus rex one hundred years ago to the dozens of other important new dinosaur species he found, Barnum Brown led a remarkable life (1873–1963), spending most of it searching for fossils—and sometimes oil—in every corner of the globe. One of the most famous scientists in the world during the middle of the twentieth century, Brown—who lived fast, dressed to the nines, gambled, drank, smoked, and was known as a ladies' man—became as legendary as the dinosaurs he uncovered. Barnum Brown brushes off the loose sediment to reveal the man behind the legend. Drawing on Brown's field correspondence and unpublished notes, and on the writings of his daughter and his two wives, it discloses for the first time details about his life and travels—from his youth on the western frontier to his spying for the U.S. government under cover of his expeditions. This absorbing biography also takes full measure of Brown's extensive scientific accomplishments, making it the definitive account of the life and times of a singular man and a superlative fossil hunter.
RECOMMENDATION:For those interested in paleontological history.

3) Fry, Juliane L. et al. The Encyclopedia of Weather and Climate Change: A Complete Visual Guide. 2010. University of California Press. Hardbound: 512 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
SUMMARY:This comprehensive and up-to-date volume covers in amazing depth all aspects of the world's weather. Liberally illustrated with more than 2,000 color photographs, supplemental maps, diagrams, and other images, The Encyclopedia of Weather and Climate Change takes the reader beyond simple definitions to explore where weather comes from and the roles played by oceans and water cycles, and explains such related phenomena as the shaping of landforms, the creation of biological provinces, and the lasting ramifications of climate change. It also discusses how humans have survived and adapted in extreme climates like deserts, jungles, and icy regions. Each of the book's six sections is written and vetted by a different expert. "Engine" discusses what weather is, the solar powerhouse that supplies it, and Earth's atmospheric systems and seasons. "Action" delves into the dynamics of various weather forms. "Extremes" covers blizzards, heat waves, wildfires, and more. "Watching" tracks how weather is measured, mapped, monitored, and forecast. "Climate" delineates the continental climate zones and describes the plant, animal, and human adaptations for each. "Change" considers the history of climate change—ice ages, dinosaur extinction, melting glaciers, human impact, and more—and what we can expect in the future.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction on the subjects of weather, climate and climate change.

4) Horn, James. A Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. 2010. Basic Books. Hardbound: 296 pages. Price: $26.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: In 1587, John White and 117 men, women, and children landed off the coast of North Carolina on Roanoke Island, hoping to carve a colony from fearsome wilderness. A mere month later, facing quickly diminishing supplies and a fierce native population, White sailed back to England in desperation. He persuaded the wealthy Sir Walter Raleigh, the expedition’s sponsor, to rescue the imperiled colonists, but by the time White returned with aid the colonists of Roanoke were nowhere to be found. He never saw his friends or family again. In this gripping account based on new archival material, colonial historian James Horn tells for the first time the complete story of what happened to the Roanoke colonists and their descendants. A compellingly original examination of one of the great unsolved mysteries of American history, A Kingdom Strange will be essential reading for anyone interested in our national origins.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting read on a mysterious chapter of American colonial history.

5) Rose, Sarah. For All The Tea In China: How England Stole the World's Favorite Drink and Changed History. 2010. Viking. Hardbound: 261 pages. Price: $25.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: In 1848, the British East India Company, having lost its monopoly on the tea trade, engaged Robert Fortune, a Scottish gardener, botanist, and plant hunter, to make a clandestine trip into the interior of China—territory forbidden to foreigners—to steal the closely guarded secrets of tea horticulture and manufacturing. For All the Tea in China is the remarkable account of Fortune's journeys into China—a thrilling narrative that combines history, geography, botany, natural science, and old-fashioned adventure.Disguised in Mandarin robes, Fortune ventured deep into the country, confronting pirates, hostile climate, and his own untrustworthy men as he made his way to the epicenter of tea production, the remote Wu Yi Shan hills. One of the most daring acts of corporate espionage in history, Fortune's pursuit of China's ancient secret makes for a classic nineteenth-century adventure tale, one in which the fate of empires hinges on the feats of one extraordinary man.
SUMMARY: For those interested in history, especially the history of food and drink.

6) Serjeantson, Dale. Birds. 2009. Cambridge University Press. Paperback: 486 pages. Price: $43.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Birds is the first book to examine bird remains in archaeology and anthropology. Providing a thorough review of the literature on this topic, it also serves as a guide to the methods of study of bird remains from the past and covers a wide range of topics, including anatomy and osteology, taphonomy, eggs, feathers, and, bone tools. It examines the myriad ways in which people have interacted with birds in the past. The volume also includes discussion on the consumption of wild birds, the domestication of birds, cockfighting and falconry, birds in ritual and religion, and the role of birds in ecological reconstruction, providing an up-to-date survey of current knowledge on these topics.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in archaeology or ethno-ornithology.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Forthcoming Title

I heard about this guide last year and this morning I got this press
release from Princeton University Press:

Princeton University Press announces the acquisition of:
The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds

Princeton, NJ --- Today, executive editor and science and reference
group publisher Robert Kirk announced the acquisition of The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds by prominent photographer and birder Richard Crossley.

Featuring unique, layered images of birds in real life contexts,
The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds
creates the truest representation of
the field experience; birds appear in their natural settings, behaviors
are documented, and more specimens of differing age ranges and sexes are
included on each page to ease in identification. This is quite simply
the next generation of field guides and will transform the way we look
at birds. For a preview of the book's images, please visit:

The anticipated publication date for The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern
is February 2011. The initial print run will be 20,000 copies.

I understand a WESTERN version is in the works.

New and Recent Titles:

1) Cribb, Phillip and Johan Hermans. Field Guide to the Orchids of Madagascar. 2009. Kew Publishing. Hardbound: 456 pages. Price: $99.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Madagascar is a world hot-spot for orchids. The largest family of flowering plants on the island, almost 1000 species make up some 10% of Madagascar's flora; 90% of them are endemic. They occur in almost every habitat, from coastal and montane forests to cold mountain tops and dry spiny forest. This field guide, the first of its kind for Madagascan orchids, will enable you to identify these showy, and often spectacular plants. Each species is given a range map and about 40% of the species are given a color photograph.

RECOMMENDATION: For those interested in orchids or the flora of Madagascar.

2) Impey, Chris. How It Ends: From You to the Universe. 2010. W.W. Norton. Hardbound: 352 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: The author examines how things come to an end (die). He starts out with humans and ends up with the universe. The author often uses humor to lighten up this dark topic.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the ultimate end of everything.