Monday, October 31, 2011

New Title

1) Wells, Jeffrey V. (editor). Boreal Birds of North America: A Hemispheric View of Their Conservation Links and Significance. 2011. University of California Press. Hardbound: 136 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Reaching from interior Alaska across Canada to Labrador and Newfoundland, North America’s boreal forest is the largest wilderness area left on the planet. It is critical habitat for billions of birds; more than 300 species regularly breed there. After the breeding season, many boreal birds migrate to seasonal habitats across the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. This volume brings together new research on boreal bird biology and conservation. It highlights the importance of the region to the global avifauna and to the connectivity between the boreal forest and ecoregions throughout the Americas. The contributions showcase a unique set of perspectives on the migration, wintering ecology, and conservation of bird communities that are tied to the boreal forest in ways that may not have been previously considered. This title is Studies In Avian Biology # 41.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in the ecology of boreal birds.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                        Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

Friday, October 28, 2011


1) Dunn, Jon L. and Jonathan Alderfer. National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America (Sixth Edition). 2011. National Geographic Society. Paperback: 574 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 6th Edition contains the most all-new material since the first edition was published more than 25 years ago. The 6th and latest edition includes 300 new art figures (mostly of rarities and subspecies); unique subspecies maps never before seen in a field guide (detailed maps for 27 species are in a separate appendix, less detailed maps for 59 species are in the main text). extensive migration information overlaid on species maps (colored dark yellow for Spring/Autumn migration range, green for Spring range, pale yellow for Autumn range on the maps) ; field-mark labels on all artwork (this feature was added to the Western/Eastern guides from 2008); text updates to include (23, mostly rarities) new species; reorganization reflecting taxonomic changes in the bird community (AOU Checklist supplements); organization, readability, and increased page count (from 503 pages in the 5th to 574 pages in the 6th) with a fresh new design. The Visual Index To Bird Families on the front and rear flaps is retained from the Western/Eastern guides. Major artwork changes are made to the following groups: Anser Geese, Storm-Petrels, Sea-Eagles, long-billed Rails (they look too dark to me), Rhinoceros Auklet and Pacific Puffins, Cuculus Cuckoos, Nightjars, Crows and Ravens, Cistothorus Wrens, Kinglets (although they didn't get the leg color on the Golden-crowned Kinglet quite right), Phylloscopus Warblers, Palm Warbler,  Waterthrushes, Chipping/Clay-colored/Brewer's Sparrows, Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Emberiza Buntings, Passerina Buntings, Brown-headed Cowbird, Rosy-Finches, Carpodacus Finches. This is a MAJOR revision of the guide!
RECOMMENDATION: This title is a MUST have for every birder interested in North American birds, even if you own previous editions of this book! To enter a giveaway related to this book go to FACEBOOK here:

Buteo Books Link


1) Clement, Peter, Alan Harris and John Davis. Finches and Sparrows. 1993 (reprinted 2011). Helm Identification Guides. Hardbound: 500 pages. Price: 65.00 GBP (about $104.90 U.S.).

SUMMARY: This is a guide to true finches (Fringillidae and Estrildidae) and (Old World) sparrows (Passeridae) illustrating all the species, many races and most sex and age variations, with almost 950 portraits. The maps accompanying the illustrations show breeding and wintering ranges for all species. Although the guide is not primarily intended for cagebird enthusiasts, it will also be useful for those wishing to know more about the species encountered in captivity.
RECOMMENDATION: This is a reprint, NOT a new edition of the 1993 book. If you missed out on getting the book the first time, here's a second chance!

                                                        1993 Cover

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Remainder Alert

     Just returned from Half Price Books and bought two books being remaindered by Yale University Press for $9.99 each: The Gyrfalcon by Potapov and Sale and Seabirds: A Natural History by Gaston. For the nearest Half Price Books store nearest you, go here:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Titles

1) Barnard, Peter C.. The Royal Entomological Society Book of British Insects. 2011. Wiley-Blackwell. Hardbound: 383 pages. Price: 39.95 GBP (about $64.01 U.S.).

SUMMARY: The Royal Entomological Society (RES) and Wiley-Blackwell are proud to present this landmark publication, celebrating the wonderful diversity of the insects of the British Isles, and the work of the RES (founded 1833).
     This book is the only modern systematic account of all 558 families of British insects, covering not just the large and familiar groups that are included in popular books, but even the smallest and least known. It is beautifully illustrated throughout in full colour with photographs by experienced wildlife photographers to show the range of diversity, both morphological and behavioural, among the 24,000 species.
     All of the 6,000 genera of British insects are listed and indexed, along with all the family names and higher groups. There is a summary of the classification, biology and economic importance of each family together with further references for detailed identification. All species currently subject to legal protection in the United Kingdom are also listed.
     The Royal Entomological Society is one of the oldest and most prestigious of its kind in the world. It is the leading organisation for professional entomologists and its main aim has always been the promotion of knowledge about insects. The RES began its famous Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects in 1949, and new works in that series continue to be published. The Royal Entomological Society Book of British Insects has been produced to demonstrate the on-going commitment of the RES to educate and encourage each generation to study these fascinating creatures.
     This is a key reference work for serious students of entomology and amateur entomologists, as well as for professionals who need a comprehensive source of information about the insect groups of the British Isles they may be less familiar with.
RECOMMENDATION: A thorough introduction to the insects of Britain! You can read Chapter 8 here:

2) Molenaar, Dee. The Challenge of Rainier: A Record of the Explorations and Ascents, Triumphs and Tragedies on the Northwest's Greatest Mountain, 4th Edition. 2011. The Mountaineers Books. Paperback: 432 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Originally published in 1971, The Challenge of Rainier is a classic in mountaineering reference and literature, long considered the definitive work on the climbing history of Mount Rainier.
     Author Dee Molenaar covers geology, glaciology, and climate; early climbs dating before 1900; the pioneering efforts on over 35 routes in winter and summer; notable summit climbs; mountain tragedies on the steep slopes; and the guides who have led summit seekers over the years. For the 40th anniversary edition new information includes more recent ascents, rescues, mountain guides, and climbing trends; updated statistics through 2010; and a new foreword by famed climber (and former Rainier guide) Ed Viesturs.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in the modern human history of Mt Rainier, Washington State, USA.

Reprinted Title

1) Bach, Richard. Jonathan Livingston Seagull: A Story. 1970 (reprinted 2011). Harper Element. Hardbound: 87 pages. Price: 8.99 GBP (about $14.38 U.S.).

SUMMARY: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the most celebrated inspirational fable of our time, tells the story of a bird determined to be more than ordinary. Now at its 40th anniversary, this bestselling modern classic is released in a beautiful celebratory hardback. This is the perfect gift for anyone who has the courage to follow their dreams.
     ‘Most gulls don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight – how to get from shore to food and back again,’ writes author Richard Bach in this allegory about a unique bird named Jonathan Livingston Seagull. ‘For most gulls it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight.’ Flight is indeed the metaphor that makes this story soar. This bestselling modern classic is a fable about seeking a higher purpose in life, even if your flock, tribe or neighbourhood finds your ambition threatening. It has shown generations to believe in themselves and make their own goals: by not compromising his higher vision, Jonathan earns life’s greatest reward - transcendence. This stunning 40th anniversary edition of a spirituality classic celebrates the timelessness of the story and the inspiration it has brought to thousands: the perfect gift for anyone who knows there is more to life than following the flock.
RECOMMENDATION: I remember reading this book as a kid and I'm glad to see this 40th anniversary edition. Reread it or share it with the next generation!

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Titles

1) Elbroch, Mark and Kurt Rinehart. Peterson Reference Guides: Behavior of North American Mammals. 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 374 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: This new addition to the Peterson Reference Guide series is highly readable and full of curious facts. For example, did you know that when an opossum plays dead it isn’t pretending? Opossums actually do enter a catatonic deathlike state. Or look at armadillos, who sequester air in their guts, blow up to twice their normal volume, and paddle across the water. A guide not for identifying mammals, but to understanding what they do, Behavior of North American Mammals provides detailed information on more than 70 species of mammals and includes illuminating and attractive photographs and drawings. Comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible, the book includes information on daily and seasonal activity, food and foraging, home range and habitat, communication, courtship, and mating, development and dispersal of young, interactions with their own species, and interactions with other species.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those interested in North American Mammals!

2) Matsen, Brad. Death and Oil: A True Story of the Piper Alpha Disaster on the North Sea. 2011. Pantheon. Hardbound: 203 pages. Price: $25.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: The first full account of the most tragic oil rig disaster in history, the human story behind it, and the true nature of its legacy.
     July 6, 1988, began as a normal day on Piper Alpha, the biggest offshore oil rig on the North Sea. But just after 10:00 p.m., a series of explosions rocked the platform, and the inferno continued to burn for weeks. Of the 226 men working on the platform, 162 died, along with two of their would-be rescuers. Brad Matsen talked to the survivors and their families; to the rescue teams, firefighters, and hospital workers; and to other witnesses. Now he brings together the full story of the human error and corporate malfeasance behind this tragedy.
     Here is a comprehensive account of the catastrophe, from the origins of the fires on the rig to the investigation into the causes of its demise to the pain it continues to cause the survivors and the families of the dead. Written with a novelist’s sense of pace and eye for detail, it is a riveting, gut-wrenching saga, made even more timely and important in light of recent disasters.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting story on the true price of oil!

Crossley Giveaway

Got this in from Princeton University Press:

    We are celebrating our new facebook page for birds and all other things in nature by giving away posters and signed copies of The Crossley ID
Guide. Richard Crossley has now spoken at well over 20 societies and
groups, but if you missed your chance to get a signed copy at one of
those events, this is a great opportunity.
     On Halloween, we will give away two different prizes - first up is an
autographed copy of the book with a poster of the {American} kestrel plate; the
second is a poster of the Black-throated Blue Warbler plate. Both
posters are professionally printed and gorgeous. They would be a treat
for any birder to hang in their den or office.
     All you have to do to be entered in the giveaway is to become a fan on
the Princeton Birds & Natural History facebook site: My guess
is that we'll see additional giveaways for other bird and nature books
in the future, so if you become a fan you will be eligible for those
too. We'll also be posting bird/nature specific material there so it's a
great way to keep up to date on what's coming up in our natural history

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                            Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

Thursday, October 20, 2011


1) Coulson, John C.. The Kittiwake. 2011. T&AD Poyser. Hardbound: 304 pages. Price: 50.00 GBP (about $79.05 U.S.).

SUMMARY: Returning to its breeding sites in the spring after a winter spent far out at sea, the Kittiwake is a familiar sight around the coasts of Britain and Europe. A pale, medium-sized gull with a 'gentle' expression and bright yellow bill, the Kittiwake has been the subject of behavioural research since the late 1950s - one of the longest running studies in the world. In this Poyser Monograph, John Coulson summarises these decades of research, revealing amazing insights into the life of these gulls, with wider implications for the behavioural ecology of all colonial birds. There are sections on life at sea, nest-site selection, breeding biology, feeding ecology, colony dynamics, moult, survivorship and conservation.
     This book is essential for academics working on colonial species, and is also of great interest to birders who want to learn more about these elegant cliff-dwelling birds.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone interested in this species!

2) Dutson, Guy. Birds of Melanesia: Bismarcks, Solomons, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia. 2011. Helm Field Guides. Paperback: 447 pages. Price: 40.00 GBP (about $63.24 U.S.).
SUMMARY: This new Helm Field Guide covers the species-rich Melanesia region of the south-west Pacific, from New Caledonia and the Solomons through the Bismarcks to Vanuatu, an increasingly popular destination for tours and travellers and one that has never before had complete field-guide coverage. The cover star is the Kagu, the region's most iconic bird species and a highly sought-after endemic of New Caledonia.
     Superb colour plates illustrate the 650 species that occur in the region, allied with concise identification text and a series of distribution colour bars.
     For anyone travelling to this far-flung Pacific region, this book is indispensable.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for birders interested in the region! This title will be co-published in North America by Princeton University Press in March 2012.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


NIKON Trailblazer All Terrain Binocular: #8239 10 x 42. Also available as 8 x 42 and 10 x 50. PRICE: $149.95 U.S.
     Fusing top-end optical performance with Nikon ATB ruggedness, and a full-sized view, this binocular can tackle the most extreme conditions. Turn-and-slide rubber eyecups make for clear and comfortable viewing for everyone. These binoculars feature:

*Bright, multicoated lenses
*Multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds deliver bright, high-resolution images.
*Smooth central focus knob
*Fast range of focus for quick viewing.
*Lightweight, roof prism design
*Provides excellent ergonomics, strength and durability in a package that is comfortable to carry all day.
*Durable and protective, rubber-armored coating
*Provides a sure, non-slip grip, wet or dry.
*Generous eye relief
*For a clear and comfortable view, especially for eyeglass wearers. Includes turn-and-slide rubber eyecups.
*Nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed.
*Manufactured Responsibly with Lead and arsenic-free Eco-Glass™.

RECOMMENDATION: best for beginning birders and birders on a budget.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Titles

1) Galobart, Angel et al.(editors). Dinosaurs of Eastern Iberia. 2011. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 322 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: Written for the general reader, this book is both a colorful introduction to the history and study of dinosaurs and an eye-opening survey of dinosaur discoveries in Spain. At the time of the dinosaurs, Iberia was in the process of becoming a peninsula of Continental Europe and looked very different than it does today. Now an area only slightly larger than Vermont and New Hampshire, Eastern Iberia contains one of the richest fossil records of Mesozoic vertebrates in Europe. This record spans an 80-million-year period that includes key moments in Earth’s history, such as the extinction events at the Jurassic-Cretaceous and the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundaries. Dinosaurs of Eastern Iberia tells the story of Iberia’s tumultuous geological history and presents a detailed synthesis of the region’s dinosaur discoveries, with fact sheets and reconstructions of each species found there. This volume also describes the flora and fauna that made up the ancient ecosystems and explores the paleobiogeography of this dynamic region.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those interested in the dinosaurs and other Mesozoic life of the region!

2) Sanderson, James G. and Patrick Watson. Small Wild Cats: The Animal Answer Guide. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press. Paperback: 144 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Did you know that most wild cat species are small and that lions, tigers, and other large cats are the exception? That adult bobcats, clouded leopards, and other small wild cats are completely asocial? And that they fight only as a last resort? This entertaining and informative book reveals these and hundreds of other facts about the behavior, biology, and conservation of the more than 30 small wild cat species.
     From bobcats to servals, small cats are spread across the globe. They range in size from the rusty-spotted cat and African black-footed cat, each of which weighs around 5 pounds when fully grown, to the Eurasian lynx, which can reach an adult weight of 60 pounds. These felids are elusive, some are nocturnal, others are arboreal, and all are rare and secretive, making them especially difficult to study. James G. Sanderson, the world's leading field expert on small wild cats, and naturalist and wildlife artist Patrick Watson provide informative and entertaining answers to common and unexpected questions about these animals. The authors explain why some small cats live on the ground while others inhabit trees, discuss the form and function of their coat types and colors, offer scientifically sound information on human–small wild cat interactions, and even review the role that small wild cats have played in literature, religion, and mythology.
     The world of cats is as fascinating as it is diverse. Small Wild Cats: The Animal Answer Guide shows just how important and interesting the littlest of the nondomesticated feline family are.
RECOMMENDATION: A good general introduction on these wild cats.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Title

1) Day, Leslie. Field Guide to the Street Trees of New York City. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press. Paperback: 289 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Field Guide to the Street Trees of New York City acquaints New Yorkers and visitors alike with fifty species of trees commonly found in the neighborhoods where people live, work, and travel. Beautiful, original drawings of leaves and stunning photographs of bark, fruit, flower, and twig accompany informative descriptions of each species. Detailed maps of the five boroughs identify all of the city's neighborhoods, and specific addresses pinpoint where to find a good example of each tree species.
     Trees provide invaluable benefits to the Big Apple: they reduce the rate of respiratory disease, increase property values, cool homes and sidewalks in the summer, block the harsh winds of winter, clean the air, absorb storm water runoff, and provide habitat and food for the city's wildlife.
     Bald cypress, swamp oak, silver linden, and all of New York's most common trees are just a page turn away. Your evening walk will never be the same once you come to know the quiet giants that line the city's streets.
RECOMMENDATION: The artwork by Trudy Smoke highlights this book! This book will be useful for those with an interest in the trees of the region.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Big Year movie

      I saw the THE BIG YEAR movie this afternoon. I have mixed feelings about the movie. I liked most of the birding scenes especially those that are set on Attu. But I found the home life of the birders in the movie predictable. I could rant on about the birding mistakes made in the movie, but I'll just mention of a couple:
     1) The CGI birds. For the most part I found these birds unrealistic looking. This is especially true in the scene when the gulls attack birders on Attu. I don't know why Hollywood can't get birds quite right? Is it the feathers? I hope they do a better job of making realistic birds in the remake of Hitchcock's The Birds that's due out in 2013.
     2) The birdcalls the actors make in the film. I could barely recognize them! Birdcalling expert Nicolle Perretta did coach the actors, but she wrote to me: "I saw the movie on Friday, and I actually did coach Rashida [Jones, who played Jack Black's love interest]. They hired me and sent me up to Canada for a few days to work with her. The problem is, they did not get me involved in the post production process so I could check up on her bird calling. She sounded good when I was working with her, but it did not carry through once she was being filmed. She did her [Red-tailed] hawk and Audubon's [Oriole] ok, but the rest she should have redone. Actually they should have just dubbed in my calls. They also forgot to mention me in the credits, oh well."

     Another point I want to bring up about this movie. On various blogs and listservers I've been reading state how they hope this movie will help make birding more mainstream. I doubt that will happen. For one thing it bombed at the U.S. box office on its opening weekend: It came in ninth earning only $3.25 million, which means there WON'T be a THE BIG YEAR 2! Secondly in order to become more mainstream, birding needs something more attention grabbing then this movie. Action heros are always popular with teenagers (probably the main demographic in the movie business). How about a movie like THE BIRDMAN where mild-mannered ornithologist Bax Barton becomes The Birdman (the hard-hitting super hero). Or perhaps a very popular author writes a series of fictional books related to birding. J.K. Rowling comes to mind and it would help her with her "owlgate" problem. Otherwise I see birding remaining for: The Few, The Proud, The Birders!

RECOMMENDATION: Read the book and rent the movie.

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                                  Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman 

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New African Titles

1) Ertel, Rainer Christian. Birds in Africa: An Introduction and Survey to the Birdlife of Africa. 2011. Fauna Verlag. Hardbound: 415 pages. Price: GBP 39.99 (about $62.96 U.S.).
SUMMARY: This is an English translation of the German book "Vogel in Afrika", which covers 1,300 species breeding or migrating in Africa. There is a colour photo and a distribution map included for most species, together with a short description of the bird's appearance, habitat, and song. This book was translated and revised by Nik Borrow. Species names are given in English, French, German. Scientific names are also given.
RECOMMENDATION: Might make a useful supplement to the standard field guides of Africa.

2) Oates, John F.. Primates of West Africa: A Field Guide and Natural History. 2011. Conservation International. Paperback: 556 pages. Price: GBP 34.99 (about $55.09 U.S.).

SUMMARY: West Africa, from the coast of Senegal to Lake Chad and Cameroon's Sanaga River, is home to 60 primate species and subspecies, 46 of which - more than three-quarters - occur nowhere else. They range from the nocturnal angwantibo, pottos, and galagos, to the mangabeys, baboons, and the drill, to an extraordinary diversity of guenons and colobus monkeys.
     In addition, no less the three of the great apes are restricted to this region, including two chimpanzees and the Cross River gorilla. The savannas and open woodlands in the north are home to baboons, vervets and patas monkey, but the main focus of this guide is the Guinean Forest, ranking high among the world's 35 Biodiversity Hotspots, the richest and most endangered of our planet's terrestrial systems. Forest loss, degradation and fragmentation, and widespread and intensive hunting for bushmeat mean that no less than 30 of the region's primates are now threatened.
     This comprehensive guide provides a brief introduction to the region, its topography, climate, vegetation, native peoples and history, and includes as well essays on the classification and evolutionary history of the region's primates, and a review of conservation activities and primate field research projects since the 1960's.
     The bulk of the book is dedicated to accounts for each primates species and subspecies, providing information not only on their identifying features and geographic distributions, but also on their natural history - their populations and habitats, locomotion, vocalizations, activity patterns, diets and feeding, ranging, and social behaviors.
     The guide is richly illustrated with full-color plates by Stephen D. Nash, distribution maps for every species and subspecies, and more than 140 color photographs of the primates and their habitats. An appendix describes key sites where these primates can be seen in the wild.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those interested in the primates of Africa!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                          Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman
My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

New Titles

1) Hilmarsson, Johann Oli. Icelandic Bird Guide (2nd edition). 2011. Mal Og Menning. Paperback: 341 pages. Price: $59.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: This new edition of the popular Icelandic Bird Guide has been completely revised and expanded. It covers all Icelandic breeding birds and regular visitors in detail and also describes numerous annual vagrants – more than 160 species in total.
     This book is an ideal identification guide when travelling around Iceland for experienced birdwatchers and beginners alike. The clear and concise text describes the birds’ appearance and behaviour, as well their diet and habitat. Maps and diagrams clearly show distribution, movements and population sizes. The book contains:

*More than 700 stunning photos
*Breeding range and winter distribution maps
*Diagrams showing information on breeding and migration
*Photographs of eggs shown in actual size

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for birders with an interest in Iceland! This title is available from Buteo Books here:

2) Tomelleri, Joseph R. and Mark E. Eberle. Fishes of the Central United States (Second edition, revised and expanded). 2011. University Press of Kansas. Paperback: 192 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: This is the greatly-expanded second edition of a book that has been hailed by In-Fisherman as “magnificent . . . the finest, most comprehensive book on the fishes of the central United States.” Featuring the artwork of nationally acclaimed fish illustrator Joseph Tomelleri, it bridges the gap between technical studies and popular field guides in a volume that is indispensable for anglers and naturalists alike.
     Working with Prismacolor, graphite pencils, and painstaking attention to scientifically precise detail, Tomelleri showcases his ability with stunning illustrations that are both technically and aesthetically satisfying, while also capturing subtle variations among fishes that the camera lens misses. In this new edition he depicts 250 fishes, including 87 appearing for the first time (a more than 50% increase over the original edition), found in 21 states from the Great Lakes in the north through the Mississippi Valley to the southern tip of Texas, and west to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and Rio Grande.
     Tomelleri teams up once again with Mark Eberle to provide keen insights into the ecology, natural history, and conservation of these fishes and the types of threats they face. Species accounts are informative but not technical, and are interwoven with folklore and anecdotes.
RECOMMENDATION: The artwork highlights this book! A must have for anyone with an interest in the fishes of this region.

3) Helfman, Gene and Bruce Collette. Fishes: The Animal Answer Guide. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press. Paperback: 178 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Fishes range in size from tiny gobies to the massive Ocean Sunfish, which weighs thousands of pounds. They live in just about every body of water on the planet. Ichthyologists Gene Helfman and Bruce Collette provide accurate, entertaining, and sometimes surprising answers to over 100 questions about these water dwellers, such as "How many kinds of fishes are there?" "Can fishes breathe air?" "How smart are fishes?" and "Do fishes feel pain?" They explain how bony fishes evolved, the relationship between them and sharks, and why there is so much color variation among species. Along the way we also learn about the Devils Hole Pupfish, which has the smallest range of any vertebrate in the world; Lota lota, the only freshwater fish to spawn under ice; the Candiru, a pencil-thin Amazonian catfish that lodges itself in a very personal place on male bathers and must be removed surgically; and many other curiosities.
     With more than 100 photographs—including two full-color photo galleries—and the most up-to-date facts on the world's fishes from two premier experts, this fun book is the perfect bait for any curious naturalist, angler, or aquarist.
RECOMMENDATION: A good general introduction to fish biology.

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Title

1) Schein, Michael. Bones Beneath Our Feet. 2011. Bennett & Hastings Publishing. Paperback: 372 pages. Price: $16.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: BONES BENEATH OUR FEET is the moving historical epic of the conquest of Puget Sound by the "Boston" tribe. This is lyrical fiction deeply rooted in the people and events that made our history. BONES BENEATH OUR FEET resonates with political intrigue, tenderness and betrayal, misunderstanding and fear, greed and sacrifice--all the richness and grit of life. The gravestone of Chief Leschi, leader of the Native cause, reads:

                                  LESCHI - Judicially Murdered Feb. 19, 1858

Behind these words lies an essential story for all who are passionate about tolerance, dignity and liberty.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in historical fiction.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


1) Gould, John. The Family of Toucans. 2011. Taschen. 51 color plates with booklet in box. Price: $99.99 U.S.

SUMMARY: John Gould's toucans are arguably the most striking and dramatic bird illustrations ever published. Gould (1804–1881) was without question the most prolific ornithological artist of the 19th century, and the only one to rival John James Audubon in ambition and quality. Gould had a romantic enthusiasm for winged creatures, as well as a passion for natural history and a impulse to catalog. Drawing on his outstanding scientific and artistic talents, he embarked on a series of projects that would eventually make him the leading publisher of ornithological illustrations in Victorian Britain. Gould's unparalleled career spanned five decades, during which he produced a series of books depicting birds from all over the world.
     The dazzling illustrations from Gould's Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans, 1852-1854 represent his most dramatic, magnificent images. The amazing range of vivid colors—shiny black, vibrant red, yellow, and orange—creates an unprecedented sense of animation. Shown against simple backgrounds, Gould's toucans look very much alive, as if they were about to take flight. The inspiration for Toucans came while Gould was working on his Birds of Europe, when he became fascinated by the toucan collection of a fellow ornithologist. He made several trips to central European museums to gather material for Toucans, and after publication of the first edition, redrew some of the plates and added 20 new birds to this revised and expanded second edition. All are included in these touchingly beautiful reproductions of Gould's hand-colored lithographs.Booklet text is by Jonathan Elphick.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those that collect bird art or like toucans!


2) Audubon, John James. The Birds of America. 2011. Sterling. Hardbound with slipcase: 448 pages. Price: $80.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: John James Audubon's paintings and descriptions of the birds of North America remain the gold standard against which all ornithological portraits are judged. His landmark work, Birds of America (1838), consisted of 435 life-size prints that were published in batches of five over the course of thirteen years. Because the prints were extremely large and had to be hand-colored by a team of painters, the cost of creating the original sets was exorbitant. Today, complete copies are rare--the last to be sold commanded approximately $11.5 million in a December 2010 auction, making it the most expensive book ever.
     The exquisitely preserved, complete set of prints from which this slip-cased facsimile edition was created is part of the permanent collection of the Natural History Museum of London. The images were captured using state-of-the-art digital scanning techniques to preserve the intricate detail and vibrant colors of Audubon's original work. It's a stunning book--and a reminder to us of the importance of preserving these lovely creatures and their natural habitats. David Sibley wrote the introduction to this volume.
RECOMMENDATION: An affordable and accurate reproduction of Audubon's master work. Would make a nice gift for bird art collectors or birders.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

H. Douglas Pratt's artwork

      Most of you know H. Douglas Pratt as the senior author and illustrator of: A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific (1987). He has begun work on a second edition of this book but needs financial support to be able to continue working on this much needed update. You can help by three ways detailed at his blog here:

     If you collect bird art or enjoy Pratt's artwork, here's a chance to own a piece or to sponsor his artwork!
Plate 30 from Pratt's A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific.
Artwork Copyright H. Douglas Pratt