Thursday, August 12, 2010


     1) Guppy, Crispin S. and Jon H. Shepard. Butterflies of British Columbia. 2001. UBC Press. Hardbound: 414 pages. Price: $138.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: Butterflies are found everywhere in British Columbia, from balcony planter boxes in the city to the vast, unexplored expanses of boreal forest and mountains across the north, and from coastal bogs and wild ocean shorelines to the deserts of the southern interior. The total known fauna of 187 species of butterflies in B.C. is by far the largest and most diverse in Canada.
      Butterflies of British Columbia summarizes all available information on the butterflies of B.C. The 187 species and 264 subspecies of butterflies known from B.C., as well as 9 additional hypothetical species, are discussed with descriptions of identifying features, immature stages, larval foodplants, biology and life history, range and habitat, and conservation status. In addition, descriptions are provided for 11 new subspecies. Each species treatment also contains maps of the northwestern North American distribution, colour photographs of adults of all species and subspecies, and flight season graphs.
     The book includes an extensive general introduction to the study of butterflies, containing chapters on the history of butterfly study in B.C., the post-glacial colonization of B.C. by butterflies, the effects of European colonization on the fauna, butterfly conservation, butterfly gardening, ecology, morphology, and biology.
      Butterflies of British Columbia provides butterfly watchers, naturalists, and biologists with an overview of the fascinating butterfly fauna of B.C. and adjacent areas. It can be used by naturalists to identify all the butterfly species and subspecies in B.C. and adjacent areas and includes a wide range of information about both butterflies in general and individual species. There is also much original information in the book that scientists will find invaluable, especially the description of 11 new subspecies and a complete reassessment of the taxonomy of the species.
RECOMMENDATION: A very useful butterfly monograph. The species accounts are well organized and well illustrated.

     2) Sinclair, Pamela H., et al. (editors). Birds of the Yukon Territory. 2003. UBC Press. Hardbound: 595 pages. Price: $165.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: The Yukon is a land of remarkable wilderness, diverse ecosystems, and profound beauty. It is also home to a unique assemblage of birds. As of 2002, 288 bird species have been documented in the Yukon, with 223 occurring regularly. They occupy an amazing range of habitats, from the most barren mountain peaks to lush valley bottom forests, and are an integral part of the cultural heritage of Yukon First Nations people. The vast areas of natural habitat with limited road access can make the study of birds challenging, but are key in defining the nature of birding in the Yukon.
     Birds of the Yukon Territory is the result of a decade-long project initiated to gather and share what is known about the Yukon’s birdlife. Lavishly illustrated with 600 colour photographs and 223 hand-drawn bird illustrations, the book presents a wealth of information on bird distribution, migration and breeding chronology, nesting behaviour, and habitat use, and on conservation concerns. Two hundred and eighty-eight species of birds are documented, including 223 regular species, and 65 casual and accidental species. In compiling this meticulously researched volume, the authors consulted over 166,000 records in a database created by the Canadian Wildlife Service, with information dating back to 1861.
     Sections on birds in Aboriginal culture and history, and bird names in the Yukon First Nations and Inuvialuit languages, enhance the book, as do the numerous easily interpreted charts and graphs. Destined to become a basic reference work on the avifauna of the North, Birds of the Yukon Territory is a must-have for bird enthusiasts and anyone interested in the natural history of the Yukon and the North.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for ornithologists and birders in that part of North America!

3-4) Sandilands, Al. Birds of Ontario: Habitat Requirements, Limiting Factors and Status; Nonpasserines (2 volumes). Hardbound and Paperback: 365 pages (volume 1) and 387 pages (volume 2). Prices: Hardbound: $95.00 U.S., Paperback: $43.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: The volumes in the Birds of Ontario series summarize life history requirements of bird species that are normally part of the ecology of Ontario. These two volumes of the series complete the treatment of the nonpasserine bird species occurring in Ontario on a regular basis. Information on habitat, limiting factors, and status are summarized for 167 species in these volumes. These topics are covered for the three primary avian seasons: breeding, migration, and winter. Habitat, nest sites, territoriality, site fidelity, annual reproductive effort, habitat loss and degradation, environmental contaminants, and a variety of other topics are covered in the species accounts. Maps depicting breeding and wintering range are presented for most species along with drawings by Ross James.
     Birds of Ontario is an essential reference source for wildlife biologists, environmental consultants, and planners preparing or reviewing environmental impact statements and environmental assessments. Serious birders will find the volumes of interest as well. Although the books focus on Ontario birds, the information is highly relevant to adjacent provinces and states.
RECOMMENDATION: These are very useful volumes for the region. Two more volumes covering the passerines are forthcoming.

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