1) Ellison, Walter G. (editor). Second Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Maryland and the District of Columbia. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 494 pages. Price: $75.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Despite their small sizes, Maryland and Washington, DC, possess a vast range of environments—from the high peaks of the Allegheny Ridges to the low marshes of the Chesapeake Bay. Home to 200 nesting bird species, these habitats are under constant threat from urban sprawl, changing farming practices, and the degradation of coastal wetlands. The Second Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Maryland and the District of Columbia documents the impact of these environmental changes on the region's bird population and discusses the recovery of the endangered Bald Eagle and the new confirmation of breeding by three species—the Common Merganser, the Ruddy Duck, and the Double-crested Cormorant.
Species accounts, each with a stunning color photograph, provide detailed coverage of the habitats, biology, and relative abundance of mid-Atlantic nesting birds. Up-to-date maps reflect changes in their breeding ranges and distributions over the past two decades. Of perhaps greatest value are the comparative analyses with data from the first statewide survey conducted in the 1980s.
Treasured by birders—and an invaluable reference for ornithologists, conservationists, and land use planners—this book will significantly influence our understanding and management of avian species in the region for the next decade.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for birders of the region!
2) Long, John et al.. Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea: One Hundred Million Years of Evolution. 2002. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 244 pages. Price: $86.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: From kangaroos and koalas to the giant Diprotodon and bizarre "thingodontans," prehistoric mammals evolved within the changing and sometimes harsh environments of Australia. As part of Gondwana, Australia was the first landmass to be isolated from the supercontinent Pangaea. In Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea, four respected paleontologists present a history of the development of modern mammals from the unique evolutionary environment of Australia and New Guinea. The authors describe both what is known about prehistoric Australian mammals and what can be reconstructed from the fossil evidence about their appearance and behaviors. This accessible reference work offers facts about how each mammal got its name and provides a description of how the fossil mammal resembles its modern descendants.
Over 200 four-color illustrations enhance the text, which describes the age, diet, and habitat of these extinct mammals. The authors also detail how each mammal evolved and is now classified. Diagrams showing skeletal features and tooth structure and a glossary of technical terms are also included.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in mammalian paleontology.
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