Monday, November 1, 2010

New Titles

1) Lebbin, Daniel J. et al.. The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation. 2010. University of Chicago Press. Hardbound: 446 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: Whether we live in cities, in the suburbs, or in the country, birds are ubiquitous features of daily life, so much so that we often take them for granted. But even the casual observer is aware that birds don’t fill our skies in the number they once did. That awareness has spawned conservation action that has led to notable successes, including the recovery of some of the nation’s most emblematic species, such as the Bald Eagle, Brown Pelican, Whooping Crane, and Peregrine Falcon. Despite this, a third of all American bird species are in trouble—in many cases, they’re in imminent danger of extinction. The most authoritative account ever published of the threats these species face, The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation will be the definitive book on the subject.
     The Guide presents for the first time anywhere a classification system and threat analysis for bird habitats in the United States, the most thorough and scientifically credible assessment of threats to birds published to date, as well as a new list of birds of conservation concern. Filled with beautiful color illustrations and original range maps, the Guide is a timely, important, and inspiring reference for birders and anyone else interested in conserving North America’s avian fauna. But this book is far more than another shout of crisis. The Guide also lays out a concrete and achievable plan of long-term action to safeguard our country’s rich bird life. Ultimately, it is an argument for hope. Whether you spend your early weekend mornings crouched in silence with binoculars in hand, hoping to check another species off your list, or you’ve never given much thought to bird conservation, you’ll appreciate the visual power and intellectual scope of these pages.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those interested in bird conservation of the Americas!

     A) Winker, Kevin and Susan M. Haig, editors. Avian Subspecies. 2010. American Ornithologists' Union. Paperback: 200 pages. Price: $40.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: The 13 papers in this monograph on avian subspecies were delivered at the meeting of the A.O.U., the Cooper Ornithological Society and the Society of Canadian Ornithologists in Portland, Oregon during 4-9 August 2008.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in avian subspecies.
     B) Martinez-Sanchez, Juan C. and Tom Will, editors. Thomas R. Howell's Check-list of the Birds of Nicaragua as of 1993. 2010. American Ornithologists' Union. Paperback: 107 pages. Price: $40.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: A previously unpublished checklist to the birds of Nicaragua by the late Thomas R. Howell.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the avifauna of Nicaragua. These titles can be ordered here:

3) Wilson, Robert M.. Seeking Refuge: Birds and Landscapes of the Pacific Flyway. 2010. University of Washington Press. Hardbound: 245 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Each fall and spring, millions of birds travel the Pacific Flyway, the westernmost of the four major North American bird migration routes. The landscapes they cross vary from wetlands to farmland to concrete, inhabited not only by wildlife but also by farmers, suburban families, and major cities. In the twentieth century, farmers used the wetlands to irrigate their crops, transforming the landscape and putting migratory birds at risk. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service responded by establishing a series of refuges that stretched from northern Washington to southern California.
     What emerged from these efforts was a hybrid environment, where the distinctions between irrigated farms and wildlife refuges blurred. Management of the refuges was fraught with conflicting priorities and practices. Farmers and refuge managers harassed birds with shotguns and flares to keep them off private lands, and government pilots took to the air, dropping hand grenades among flocks of geese and herding the startled birds into nearby refuges. Such actions masked the growing connections between refuges and the land around them.
     Seeking Refuge examines the development and management of refuges in the wintering range of migratory birds along the Pacific Flyway. Although this is a history of efforts to conserve migratory birds, the story Robert Wilson tells has considerable salience today. Many of the key places migratory birds use - the Klamath Basin, California's Central Valley, the Salton Sea - are sites of recent contentious debates over water use. Migratory birds connect and depend on these landscapes, and farmers face pressure as water is reallocated from irrigation to other purposes. In a time when global warming promises to compound the stresses on water and migratory species, Seeking Refuge demonstrates the need to foster landscapes where both wildlife and people can thrive.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the history of wildlife management along the Pacific flyway.

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