Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reprinted Title

1) Greene, Brian. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. 2003 (2010). W. W. Norton. Paperback: 448 pages. Price: $15.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: The international bestseller that inspired a major Nova special and sparked a new understanding of the universe, now with a new preface and epilogue.
     Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away layers of mystery to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where the fabric of space tears and repairs itself, and all matter—from the smallest quarks to the most gargantuan supernovas—is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy. The Elegant Universe makes some of the most sophisticated concepts ever contemplated accessible and thoroughly entertaining, bringing us closer than ever to understanding how the universe works.
RECOMMENDATION: You can watch the NOVA series here:
This edition can be ordered here:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


1) Paul, Gregory S.. The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs. 2010. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 320 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: This lavishly illustrated volume is the first authoritative dinosaur book in the style of a field guide. World-renowned dinosaur illustrator and researcher Gregory Paul provides comprehensive visual and textual coverage of the great Mesozoic animals that gave rise to the living dinosaurs, the birds. Incorporating the new discoveries and research that are radically transforming what we know about dinosaurs, this book is distinguished both by its scientific accuracy and the quality and quantity of its illustrations. It presents thorough descriptions of more than 735 dinosaur species and features more than 600 color and black-and-white images, including unique skeletal drawings, "life" studies, and scenic views--illustrations that depict the full range of dinosaurs, from small, feathered creatures to whale-sized supersauropods.
     Heavily illustrated species accounts of the major dinosaur groups are preceded by an extensive introduction that covers dinosaur history and biology, the extinction of nonavian dinosaurs, the origin of birds, and the history of dinosaur paleontology--and that also gives a taste of what it might be like to travel back to the time of the dinosaurs. The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs is a must-have for anyone who loves dinosaurs, from the amateur enthusiast to the professional paleontologist.

-The first authoritative field guide to dinosaurs
-Covers more than 735 species
-Beautiful, large-format volume
-Lavishly illustrated throughout, with more than 600 color and black-and-white drawings and figures, including:
   -More than 130 color life studies, including scenic views
   -Close to 450 skeletal, skull, head, and muscle drawings
   -8 color paleo-distribution maps
   -Color timeline
   -Describes anatomy, physiology, locomotion, reproduction, and growth of dinosaurs, as well as the origin of birds and the extinction of nonavian dinosaurs.
 RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in dinosaurs. I also recommend this title:                                                  

Friday, September 24, 2010

New Title

1) Cox, George W.. Bird Migration and Global Change. 2010. Island Press. Paperback: 291 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: Because of their dependence on specific habitats and resources in different geographic regions at diff erent phases of their annual cycle, migratory species are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Therefore, conservation scientists and birdwatchers are very interested in changes in the seasonal movements and population dynamics of migratory birds.
      In Bird Migration and Global Change, eminent ecologist George W. Cox brings his extensive experience as a scientist and bird enthusiast to bear in evaluating the capacity of migratory birds to adapt to the challenges of a changing climate.
      Cox reviews, synthesizes, and interprets recent and emerging science on the subject, beginning with a discussion of climate change and its effect on habitat, and followed by eleven chapters that examine responses of bird types across all regions of the globe. The final four chapters address the evolutionary capacity of birds, and consider how best to shape conservation strategies to protect migratory species in coming decades.
       The rate of climate change is faster now than at any other moment in recent geological history. How best to manage migratory birds to deal with this challenge is a major conservation issue, and Bird Migration and Global Change is a unique and timely contribution to the literature.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in bird biology and/or global change.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Title

1) Couzens, Dominic. Atlas of Rare Birds. 2010. MIT Press. Hardbound: 240 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
SUMMARY:  This book offers a guide to some of the rarest birds in existence, with maps that show where to find them. Focusing on fifty captivating stories of the very rare, it describes remarkable discoveries of species not seen for centuries and brought back from the brink of extinction, successes like the Seychelles Magpie-Robin and the California Condor. The book is organized around key groups of species, with each species the subject of its own mini-chapter; we learn about the five most amazing tales of island endemics, the five most bizarre cases of a bird's becoming threatened, and other astonishing tales of bird life.

     Atlas of Rare Birds is an accessible, readable, and visually appealing take on the serious subject of threatened birds and possible extinctions—a timely topic because of increasing concerns about climate change and habitat destruction. The atlas format—featuring 200 color photographs and 61 color maps—shows the global nature of the problem and brings together the many strands of the concerted bird conservation effort taking place on every continent.
     Atlas of Rare Birds is published in association with BirdLife International, the world's largest global alliance of bird conservation organizations
RECOMMENDATION: This book would make a nice gift for birders!

New Title

1) Hawking, Stephen and Leonard Mlodinow. The Grand Design. 2010. Bantam. Hardbound: 198 pages. Price: $28.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? Why are the laws of nature so finely tuned as to allow for the existence of beings like ourselves? And, finally, is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation?
     The most fundamental questions about the origins of the universe and of life itself, once the province of philosophy, now occupy the territory where scientists, philosophers, and theologians meet—if only to disagree. In their new book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about the mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by both brilliance and simplicity.
     In The Grand Design they explain that according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. When applied to the universe as a whole, this idea calls into question the very notion of cause and effect. But the “top-down” approach to cosmology that Hawking and Mlodinow describe would say that the fact that the past takes no definite form means that we create history by observing it, rather than that history creates us. The authors further explain that we ourselves are the product of quantum fluctuations in the very early universe, and show how quantum theory predicts the “multiverse”—the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature.
     Along the way Hawking and Mlodinow question the conventional concept of reality, posing a “model-dependent” theory of reality as the best we can hope to find. And they conclude with a riveting assessment of M-theory, an explanation of the laws governing us and our universe that is currently the only viable candidate for a complete “theory of everything.” If confirmed, they write, it will be the unified theory that Einstein was looking for, and the ultimate triumph of human reason.
     A succinct, startling, and lavishly illustrated guide to discoveries that are altering our understanding and threatening some of our most cherished belief systems, The Grand Design is a book that will inform—and provoke—like no other.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of Stephen Hawking's works will like this book!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Kington, John. Climate and Weather. 2010. Collins. Paperback: 484 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S. (30 GBP).

SUMMARY: Reviewing the history and causes of climatic change and evaluating regional models, this New Naturalist volume offers an important analysis of climatic variations.
     Much has happened in our knowledge of climate and weather over the past fifty years. The recording of relations between weather and natural history has continued to be of constant interest, with the weather providing a continual and essential backdrop to natural history accounts. But the significance of this backdrop has been very much widened by our better understanding of climate change and its effects on flora, fauna and biodiversity and also by our increased knowledge of historical climates and weather events. In this timely addition to the New Naturalist Library, leading climatologist John Kington offers a comprehensive and up-to-date survey of the diverse climate of the British Isles. Examining the ways in which regional climates evolve from the interplay of meteorological conditions and geography of the British Isles, the author analyses the climatic characteristics and provides a historical overview of changing weather patterns, which is complemented by fascinating and never-before published photographs. Kington reviews the many ways in which people have observed and recorded weather conditions throughout the ages. It is a story based on a rich and varied resource stretching back 2000 years. This approach has allowed climatic trends, anomalies and extremes to be identified over the past two millennia, putting our present experience of weather into striking perspective.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in British climate and weather or collect the titles in the New Naturalist series.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


1) Scott, S. David and Casey McFarland. Bird Feathers: A Guide to North American Species. 2010. Stackpole Books. Paperback: 358 pages. Price: $34.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: This guide teaches birders to use the characteristics of wing types and feather morphology to identify feathers--not only by species but also by their place on the bird’s body.
     The introductory chapters give a detailed overview of the feather--how feathers developed, the parts of a single feather, and the variety of types of feathers on a bird. In the feather identification section, more than 400 color photographs show feather samples from 379 bird species from all over North America. Along with the wing type of the species and a map showing its range, several types of feathers are included for each bird; each feather is labeled with its type and its size.
RECOMMENDATION: North American birders will want to have this book! Other naturalists with a general interest in birds will find it useful.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Titles

1) Ayala, Francisco J.. Am I A Monkey? Six Big Questions about Evolution. 2010. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 85 pages. Price: $12.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Despite the ongoing cultural controversy in America, evolution remains a cornerstone of science. In this book, Francisco J. Ayala -- an evolutionary biologist, member of the National Academy of Sciences, and winner of the National Medal of Science and the Templeton Prize -- cuts to the chase in a daring attempt to address, in nontechnical language, six perennial questions about evolution:

• Am I a Monkey?
• Why Is Evolution a Theory?
• What Is DNA?
• Do All Scientists Accept Evolution?
• How Did Life Begin?
• Can One Believe in Evolution and God?

This to-the-point book answers each of these questions with force. Ayala's occasionally biting essays refuse to lend credence to disingenuous ideas and arguments. He lays out the basic science that underlies evolutionary theory, explains how the process works, and soundly makes the case for why evolution is not a threat to religion.
     Brief, incisive, topical, authoritative, Am I a Monkey? will take you a day to read and a lifetime to ponder.
RECOMMENDATION: A very good introduction on the subject.

2)Drisdelle, Rosemary. Parasites: Tales of Humanity's Most Unwelcome Guests. 2010. University of California Press. Hardbound: 258 pages. Price: $27.50 U.S.

SUMMARY: Hidden away within living tissues, parasites are all around us—and inside us. Yet, despite their unsavory characteristics, as we find in this compulsively readable book, parasites have played an enormous role in civilizations through time and around the globe.
     Parasites: Tales of Humanity’s Most Unwelcome Guests puts amoebae, roundworms, tapeworms, mites, and others at the center of the action as human cultures have evolved and declined. It shows their role in exploration, war, and even terrorist plots, often through an unpredictable ripple effect. It reveals them as invisible threats in our food, water, and luggage; as invaders that have shaped behaviors and taboos; and as unexpected partners in such venues as crime scene investigations.
     Parasites also describes their evolution and life histories and considers their significant benefits. Deftly blending the sociological with the scientific, this natural and social history of parasites looks closely at a fascinating, often disgusting group of organisms and discovers that they are in fact an integral thread in the web of life.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting guide to what's eating you, literally! Not for the squeamish!

The weekly Birdbooker Report

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

New Titles on fossils

I came across these two fossil related items:

1) Samples from the forthcoming The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs by Gregory S. Paul can be found here:
2) A special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences) that deals with early Hominid evolution can be found here:

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Title

1 ) Taylor, Richard Cachor. Birds of Southeastern Arizona. 2010. R.W. Morse Company. Paperback: 430 pages. Price: $19.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Birds of Southeastern Arizona is an identification guide for the birds that live in, or migrate through, Pima, Santa Cruz, and Cochise Counties, as well as southern Maricopa, Pinal, Graham, and Greenlee Counties, an area of approximately 25,000 square miles.
      The Species Account pages provide color photographs of 640 birds and have a companion page with key information about birds..Elevation Charts (exclusive to this new title) show during which season and at what elevation most birds can be found.
      A Quick Guide to Local Birds provides an easy color-coded means to find birds in the book.
Common Local Birds shows photographs of the most common birds in southeastern Arizona.
      There are a number of sections of the book designed for the beginning and expert birder:
· Identifying Birds (how to tell one bird from another)
· Bird Habitats in Southeastern Arizona (habitat map and text describes ten primary habitats)
· Elevation Charts (show elevation and seasonal occurrence)
· Helpful Resources (where to get more information)
· Index/Checklist (use this checklist to record your bird sightings)
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction to the birds of the region.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Title

Ungar, Peter S.. Mammal Teeth: Origin, Evolution, and Diversity. 2010. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 304 pages. Price: $95.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: In this unique book, Peter S. Ungar tells the story of mammalian teeth from their origin through their evolution to their current diversity.
     Mammal Teeth traces the evolutionary history of teeth, beginning with the very first mineralized vertebrate structures half a billion years ago. Ungar describes how the simple conical tooth of early vertebrates became the molars, incisors, and other forms we see in mammals today. Evolutionary adaptations changed pointy teeth into flatter ones, with specialized shapes designed to complement the corresponding jaw.
     Ungar explains tooth structure and function in the context of nutritional needs. The myriad tooth shapes produced by evolution offer different solutions to the fundamental problem of how to squeeze as many nutrients as possible out of foods. The book also highlights Ungar's own path—breaking studies that show how microwear analysis can help us understand ancient diets.
     The final part of the book provides an in—depth examination of mammalian teeth today, surveying all orders in the class, family by family. Ungar describes some of the more bizarre teeth, such as tusks, and the mammal diversity that accompanies these morphological wonders.
     Mammal Teeth captures the evolution of mammals, including humans, through the prism of dental change. Synthesizing decades of research, Ungar reveals the interconnections among mammal diet, dentition, and evolution. His book is a must read for paleontologists, mammalogists, and anthropologists.
RECOMMENDATION: I think dentists will like to read this book too!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New and Recent Titles

 1) Pyle, Robert Michael. Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year. 2010. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 558 pages. Price: $27.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: Part road-trip tale, part travelogue of lost and found landscapes, all good-natured natural history, Mariposa Road tracks Bob Pyle’s journey across the United States as he races against the calendar in his search for as many of the 800 American butterflies as he can find.
      Like Pyle’s classic Chasing Monarchs, Mariposa Road recounts his adventures, high and low, in tracking down butterflies in his own low-tech, individual way. Accompanied by Marsha, his cottonwood-limb butterfly net; Powdermilk, his 1982 Honda Civic with 345,000 miles on the odometer; and the small Leitz binoculars he has carried for more than thirty years, Bob ventured out in a series of remarkable trips from his Northwest home.
     From the California coastline in company with overwintering monarchs to the Far Northern tundra in pursuit of mysterious sulphurs and arctics; from the zebras and daggerwings of the Everglades to the leafwings, bluewings, and border rarities of the lower Rio Grande; from Graceland to ranchland and Kauai to Key West, these intimate encounters with the land, its people, and its fading fauna are wholly original. At turns whimsical, witty, informative, and inspirational, Mariposa Road is an extraordinary journey of discovery that leads the reader ever farther into butterfly country and deeper into the heart of the naturalist.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of Pyle's other works should like this title.

2) Thompson III, Bill. Identifying and Feeding Birds. 2010. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Paperback: 246 pages. Price: $14.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: This readable, friendly guide is intended for bird watchers and non–bird watchers alike—for anyone who wants to enjoy nature right in his or her own backyard.
     The longtime editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest and author of numerous books on birds, Bill Thompson III has been feeding and watching birds for forty years. He has tried everything, and here he shares what he’s learned so that readers can avoid mistakes and skip right to successful bird feeding. He also debunks common myths about bird feeding: Does feeding birds stop them from migrating? Will birds starve if you leave your feeders empty after the birds have come to rely on them?
     In an easygoing and lighthearted style, seven chapters cover all the elements needed to attract birds to a backyard (food, water, shelter) and address special cases and problems (keeping bees out of the hummingbird feeder, preventing birds from flying into windows, and much more). The final chapter profiles the 130 species that are most common at backyard feeders. No separate field guide is needed; it’s all right here—everything a beginner needs to know to attract birds and then figure out what kind they are.
RECOMMENDATION: A good general introduction on the subjects, but the eastern bias will limit its usefulness in western North America.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Washington State Fossils Map

    I just came across this poster: Washington State Fossils Map, by Ray Troll. It is available from the UW Burke Museum, UW Bookstore, Metsker Maps in Pike Place Market and from Good Nature Publishing Company:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Titles

 1) Bales, Stephen Lyn. Ghost Birds: Jim Tanner and the Quest for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, 1935-1941. 2010. The University of Tennessee Press. Hardbound: 270 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: In 1935 naturalist James T. Tanner was a twenty-one-year-old graduate student when he saw his first ivory-billed woodpecker, one of America’s rarest birds, in a remote swamp in northern Louisiana. At the time he was part of an ambitious expedition traveling across the country to record and photograph as many avian species as possible, a trip organized by Dr. Arthur Allen, founder of the famed Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Two years later Tanner hit the road again, this time by himself and in search of only one species—that ever-elusive ivory-bill. Sponsored by Cornell and the Audubon Society, Jim Tanner’s work would result in some of the most extensive field research of the magnificent woodpecker ever conducted.
     Drawing on Tanner’s personal journals and written with the cooperation of his widow, Nancy, Ghost Birds recounts, in fascinating detail, the scientist’s dogged quest for the ivory-bill as he chased down leads in eight southern states. With Stephen Lyn Bales as our guide, we experience the same awe and excitement that Tanner felt when he returned to the Louisiana wetland he had visited earlier and was able to observe and document several of the “ghost birds”—including a nestling that he handled, banded, and photographed at close range. Investigating the ivory-bill was particularly urgent because it was a fast-vanishing species, the victim of indiscriminant specimen hunting and widespread logging that was destroying its habitat. As sightings became rarer and rarer in the decades following Tanner’s remarkable research, the bird was feared to have become extinct. Since 2005, reports of sightings in Arkansas and Florida made headlines and have given new hope to ornithologists and bird lovers, although extensive subsequent investigations have yet to produce definitive confirmation.
     Before he died in 1991, Jim Tanner himself had come to believe that the majestic woodpeckers were probably gone forever, but he remained hopeful that someone would prove him wrong. This book fully captures Tanner’s determined spirit as he tracked down what was then, as now, one of ornithology’s true Holy Grails.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting read about an extinct species.

2) Marchetti, Michael P. and Peter B. Moyle. Protecting Life on Earth: An Introduction to the Science of Conservation. 2010. University of California Press. Paperback: 220 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Written to be accessible to any college-level reader, Protecting Life on Earth offers a non-technical, yet comprehensive introduction to the growing field of conservation science. This multifaceted exploration of our current biodiversity crisis delivers vivid examples throughout, including features on some of nature’s most compelling wildlife.
      Beginning with a brief introduction to environmental history, the text introduces the central concepts of evolution and ecology, and covers several major issues related to the conservation of biodiversity including extinction, climate change, sustainability, conservation law, and invasive species. It also touches on adjacent disciples such as economics and sociology as they relate to conservation. The text even includes practical advice on the decisions we make every day—how we spend our money, where we live and work, what we eat and buy. Throughout, Protecting Life on Earth underscores the ways in which our future is tied to that of Earth’s threatened species, and demonstrates exactly why conservation is so vitally important for us all.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction on the subject that many people, not just college students, will find useful!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Recent Title

1) Bondrup-Nielsen, Soren. A Sound Like Water Dripping: In search of the Boreal Owl. 2009. Gaspereau Press. Paperback: 236 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: With enthusiasm and sincerity biologist Soren Bondrup-Nielsen recalls his experience as a graduate student in the 1970s researching the Boreal Owl in northern Ontario and Alberta. After receiving his B.Sc. in the spring of 1974, Bondrup-Nielsen travels by train to Kapuskasing to begin his study of this tiny, elusive species, cousin to the Tengmalm’s Owl of Scandinavia. Though initially dissuaded by his supervisor, the author sets about recording the owl’s call and locating individual territories. On cross-country skis, pulling a toboggan of supplies, Bondrup-Nielsen begins his first field season with reason for optimism, recording two distinct calls and being struck in the head by a male Boreal within his first week.
     After repairing to the nearby logging camp (Camp 86) where the food is plentiful and the beds much warmer than his tent, Bondrup-Nielsen continues his research to the great amusement of the cutting crew and camp staff. Taking the first photos of the owls, learning to differentiate between male and female calls, and observing mating behaviour, he finishes the season having located ten males on territories. In subsequent field seasons, Bondrup-Nielsen completes his graduate research. The book details his experimental tracking and recording methods, including telemetry, homemade traps, and a recording device fashioned out of an alarm clock, some tinfoil and a sewing needle.
     Bondrup-Nielsen’s inquiring mind and passion for both winter and the outdoors bring an infectious sense of adventure to his fieldwork. His studies are punctuated by close encounters with coyotes, bears and a moose, glimpses of the Aurora Borealis, first love and self-discovery. With some of the author’s original journal entries, notes and sketches, A Sound Like Water Dripping captures the beginning of what continues to be a committed and inspiring dedication to the study of ecology.
     “Owls seem to hold a fascination for just about everyone,” says Bondrup-Nielsen. “Maybe it’s their appearance: We see ourselves reflected in their faces. Their beaks resemble our noses and their big eyes, similar to ours, look forward, with eyelids that close from above, unlike other birds whose eyelids close from below. They seem to represent wisdom rather than reminding us of the fierce predators that they are. Owls also have ghost-like qualities, flying on silent wings, active mainly at night. In some cultures, owls are harbingers of death. In any case, there’s something magical about them. I studied the Boreal Owl in northern Ontario and Alberta from 1974 to 1976, and am still approached by naturalist societies with invitations to talk about this small northern owl so few people have ever seen. In my teaching, as well, when I get a chance to talk about my research on owls the whole class listens intently. Thus, after I had finished my first book, Winter on Diamond, I felt a longing for the solitary but exciting experience of disappearing into my head again, this time to relive my discovery of the Boreal Owl.”
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting read on an interesting subject (Boreal owls)! The book is also available here:

Friday, September 3, 2010

New Titles

1) Moore, John V.. A Bird Walk At Chan Chich. 2010. John V. Moore Nature Recordings. 1 CD. Price: $10.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: This CD is an updated version of the cassette originally published in 1994. It features the vocalizations of 153 species of birds as well as other nature sounds. Four new species and 26 new vocalizations have been added to the original play list. In addition, 25 cuts from the original cassette have been replaced with better recordings. The vocalizations are arranged as part of a hypothetical walk covering some of the most productive birding areas at Chan Chich.
     All but one of the vocalizations were recorded along the trails and roads adjoining the Chan Chich Lodge which is located in northwestern Belize near the Guatemalan border. The lodge itself is situated in the midst of 300,000 acres of seasonal rainforest and has a well maintained and convenient trail system encompassing over 9 miles of trails and over 10 miles of little used roads. Hunting has been prohibited in the area for many years; and this and its isolation make Chan Chich extremely rich in wildlife.
      The CD is available here:
RECOMMENDATION: The CD is narrated and the species names are announced. Birders to the region will find this CD useful!

Winker, Kevin (editor). Moments of Discovery: Natural History Narratives from Mexico and Central America. 2010. University Press of Florida. Hardbound: 401 pages. Price: $75.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Throughout the twentieth century, pioneering biological field work was conducted from Mexico through Panama by such giants in the field as Miguel Alvarez del Toro, Charles Sibley, John T. Emlen Jr., and many others. But the written reports and scientific papers detailing their discoveries leave out the adventure, sense of discovery, and unexpected humor of their time in the field.
     Moments of Discovery collects twenty autobiographical descriptions of the incongruous situations, captivating people and places, and the inevitable trials and tribulations that surround some of the greatest biological discoveries in Mexico and Central America from the 1930s through the 1990s. The anthology allows the entertaining and illuminating events that have mostly lived in oral history to be read and enjoyed by a broad audience.
     A significant contribution to the history of biological exploration, this book is a must-read for anyone considering biological field work in the region--or the amateur, armchair fieldworker who wonders what those trips were really like.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Neotropical birds (and mammals).