1) The Bird Name Book: A History of English Bird Names. 2022. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 416 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: The Bird Name Book is an
alphabetical reference book on the origins and meanings of common group
bird names, from “accentor” to “zeledonia.” A cornucopia of engaging
facts and anecdotes, this superbly researched compendium presents a
wealth of incisive entries alongside stunning photos by the author and
beautiful historic prints and watercolors. Myers provides brief
biographies of prominent figures in ornithology―such as John Gould, John
Latham, Alfred Newton, and Robert Ridgway―and goes on to describe the
etymological history of every common group bird name found in
standardized English. She interweaves the stories behind the names with
quotes from publications dating back to the 1400s, illuminating the
shared evolution of language and our relationships with birds, and
rooting the names in the history of ornithological discovery.
Whether you are a well-traveled birder or have ever wondered how the birds in your backyard got their names, The Bird Name Book is an ideal companion.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in ornithological etymology!
2) De Roy, Tui. A Pocket Guide to Birds of Galápagos. 2022. Princeton University Press. Flexibound: 136 pages. Price: $17.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: A lifelong resident of Galápagos, Tui De Roy has been
observing, studying, and photographing the islands’ astonishing birdlife
for sixty years. In A Pocket Guide to Birds of Galápagos,
she distills everything she has learned to create a one-of-a-kind field
guide that every birder visiting the archipelago will want to carry
with them wherever they go.
A compact yet comprehensive combination of field guide and natural history, the book features more than 600 of De Roy’s superb photographs and is packed with detailed, easy-to-access information in bullet-point format. Every resident bird species is fully described and abundantly illustrated, showing different aspects of their life cycle, habitat, and behavior. And the islands’ most iconic bird group―Darwin’s Finches―is given special attention. With precise descriptions including plumage and beak variations, the book corrects many common identification errors about this group.
Unique in design and content, A Pocket Guide to Birds of Galápagos is a must-have for all wildlife enthusiasts traveling to this fabled archipelago―and anyone who wants to better understand its spectacular birds.
- A compact yet comprehensive photographic identification guide
- Covers all resident species and frequent migrants
- Features more than 600 of Tui De Roy’s superb color photographs
distribution maps and easy-to-find information for identifying and
understanding each species, including life cycles, habits, range, and
RECOMMENDATION: Also available from Princeton University Press is: Galápagos: A Natural History (Second Edition) by John Kricher and Kevin Loughlin. Both these titles are a must have for any naturalist interested in the Galapagos Islands!
3)When Dinosaurs Conquered the Skies: The incredible story of bird evolution. 2022. words & pictures. Hardbound: 64 pages. Price: $
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: What are birds, and where did they come from? Discover fascinating facts about bird evolution, including:
- How the oldest bird fossils are about 150 million years old.
- That birds evolved from a group of meat-eating dinosaurs called theropods. That’s the same group that Tyrannosaurus Rex belonged to, although birds evolved from small theropods.
- How these ancient birds looked quite a lot like small, feathered dinosaurs and they had much in common. Their mouths still contained sharp teeth.
- That over time, birds lost their teeth and evolved beaks.
Through digestible information and absorbing illustrations, young readers will be given an insight into how dinosaurs evolved flight and conquered the skies.
This book is from the Incredible Evolution series, a fascinating, informative collection of books which examine the development of life on earth. Other titles available include: When Plants Took Over the Planet, When We Became Humans, and When the Whales Walked.
RECOMMENDATION: For ages 8 - 12 years. A must read for any kid with an interest in dinosaurs and their relatives the birds!
4) Clavreul, Denis. In the Footsteps of Audubon. 2022. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 242 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: In the nineteenth century, ornithologist and painter John James
Audubon set out to create a complete pictorial record of North American
birdlife, traveling from Louisiana and the Florida Keys to the Gulf of
Saint Lawrence and the cliffs of the Yellowstone River. The resulting
work, The Birds of America,
stands as a monumental achievement in American art. Over a period of
sixteen years, recording his own journey in journals and hundreds of
original paintings, renowned French watercolorist Denis Clavreul
followed in the naturalist’s footsteps.
In the Footsteps of Audubon brings together some 250 of Clavreul’s stunning watercolors along with illuminating selections from Audubon’s journals and several of his paintings. With pencil and brush in hand, Clavreul turns his naturalist’s eye and painterly skill to the landscapes that Audubon encountered on his travels, and to the animals and plants that Audubon depicted in his art. A passionate ornithologist, Clavreul sketches birds in the wild with rare dexterity, bringing them vividly to life on the page. He documents his encounters along the way with people who live with nature, many of whom are passionately engaged in preserving it, drawing on his insights as both a biologist and an artist to connect the past, present, and future.
A spellbinding, richly evocative journey, In the Footsteps of Audubon is an invitation to see the natural world as Audubon saw it―and to see with new eyes what it has become today.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an in interest Audubon and/or bird art!
5) Wilson, Helen F.. Robin (Animal Series). 2022. Reaktion Books. Paperback: 196 pages. Price: $19.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: The [European] robin is a small bird with a distinctive ruddy breast, at once a British national treasure and a bird with a global reputation. In this superbly illustrated account, Helen F. Wilson looks at many aspects of the cherished robin, from its status as a harbinger of seasonal change and, in the United Kingdom, an icon of Christmas, to its place in fairy tales, environmental campaigns, and scientific discovery. In moving between cultural and natural histories, Robin asks wide-ranging questions, such as how did the robin’s name travel the world? Why is the robin so melancholy? Who was Cock Robin? And how has the history of the color red shaped the robin’s ambivalent associations and unusual origin stories?
RECOMMENDATION: A must read for those with an interest in the European Robin.
6) Reid, Fiona A. and Gianfranco Gómez Zamora. Pocket Guide to the Mammals of Costa Rica. 2022. Comstock Publishing Associates. Paperback: 286 pages. Price: $
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Pocket Guide to the Mammals of Costa Rica is the first guide to provide comprehensive coverage of every currently known mammal species found in Costa Rica. From the Central American Silky Anteater to the West Indian Manatee, Fiona A. Reid and Gianfranco Gómez Zamora introduce readers to over 200 species inhabiting the country and its waters. This pocket guide features:
• 60 plates with full-color illustrations and over 100 photographs
• An illustrated introduction covering the history of mammalogy in Costa Rica, how to find mammals, and more
• Up-to-date species accounts, range maps, and natural history vignettes
Lavishly illustrated and highly portable, the Pocket Guide to the Mammals of Costa Rica is indispensable for biologists, eco-tourists, and naturalists eager to learn more about the mammalian fauna of this small but biologically rich country.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in the mammals of Costa Rica!
7) Paul, Gregory S.. The Princeton Field Guide to Mesozoic Sea Reptiles. 2022. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 208 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: New discoveries are revealing that many ancient oceangoing
reptiles were energetic animals capable of inhabiting an array of watery
habitats and climates, including polar winters. The Princeton Field Guide to Mesozoic Sea Reptiles
provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive coverage of the great
Mesozoic groups that commanded the seas for tens of millions of years.
This incredible field guide covers 435 species and features stunning
illustrations of swimming reptiles ranging in size from little lizards
to others with great necks longer than their bodies. It discusses the
history of sea reptiles through 185 million years of the Mesozoic, their
anatomy, physiology, locomotion, reproduction and growth, and
extinction, and even gives a taste of what it might be like to travel
back to the Mesozoic. This one-of-a-kind guide also challenges the
common image of these reptiles as giants of the prehistoric waters,
showing how the largest weighed far less than today’s biggest whales.
- Features detailed species accounts of 435 different kinds of sea reptiles, with the latest size and mass estimates
- Written and illustrated by the acclaimed researcher and artist who helped to redefine our understanding of dinosaur anatomy
- Describes placodonts, plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, mosasaurs, sea snakes, sea turtles, marine crocs, and more
- Covers everything from biology to the colorful history of sea reptile paleontology
- Includes dozens of original skeletal drawings and full-color life scenes
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in these extinct marine reptiles!
8) Darwin, Charles. On The Origin of Species: Evolutionary Edition. 2014. Simon Phillipson. Paperback: 964 pages. Price: $27.00 Euros (about $28.00 U.S.).
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: This "evolutionary edition" is a typographic inspired variorum edition of On the Origin of Species
that highlights all the linguistic changes Charles Darwin introduced to
the book since its first publication in 1859, by presenting them
alongside the complete sixth and final edition of the book later
published in 1872. The evolutionary format of this book allows you to
compare all the alterations Darwin made over thirteen years due to his
further understanding and testing on his own theories.
The book is printed on 30gsm semi-translucent ‘bible paper’. The text is printed with black and special metallic bronze ink. The special double fold-out of Charles Darwin’s ‘Tree of Life’ diagram that was included in the original book from 1872 also features in this book.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in Darwin's writings! The book can be ordered here.
9) Bashford, Alison. The Huxleys: An Intimate History of Evolution. 2022. University of Chicago Press. Hardbound: 529 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Two hundred years of modern science and culture told through one family history.
The Huxleys’ specialty was evolution in all its forms—at the grandest level of species, deep time, the Earth, and at the most personal and intimate. They illuminated the problems and wonders of the modern world and they fundamentally shaped how we see ourselves, as individuals and as a species.
But perhaps their greatest subject was themselves. Bashford’s engaging, brilliantly ambitious book interweaves the Huxleys’ momentous public achievements with their private triumphs and tragedies. The result is the history of a family, but also a history of humanity grappling with its place in nature. This book shows how much we owe—for better or worse—to the unceasing curiosity, self-absorption, and enthusiasms of a small, strange group of men and women.