Monday, November 28, 2011

Best Bird Book(s) of the Year(s)

I realized that in the nearly four years that I've been doing the Birdbooker Report, I've never done a "Best Bird Book of the Year" posting. So I decided to do one this year. I'll start by catching up and awarding a "Best Bird Book" for the previous years that I've been doing the Birdbooker Report:

2008: Tennyson, Alan and Paul Martinson. Extinct Birds of New Zealand. 2006. Te Papa Press. Hardbound: 180 pages. Price: $54.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Although technically it's from 2006, I didn't learn about it until 2008. Covers 58 species of "recently" extinct birds of New Zealand. The full page award winning artwork by Paul Martinson almost brings these extinct birds back to life!

Buteo Books Link

2009: Forshaw, Joseph M. Trogons: A Natural History of the Trogonidae. 2009. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 292 pages. Price: $150.00 U.S. [Amazon: $119.34].
SUMMARY: This large folio covers the 39 species of trogons and quetzals of the world's tropical regions. The book is divided into two sections: the introductory material and the species accounts. Each species account includes information on the following: the species name,a range map, distribution, description, subspecies, habitat and status, movements, habits, calls, feeding, breeding and eggs. The artwork by Albert Earl Gilbert highlights this book!
RECOMMENDATION: For those interested in tropical birds, that collect species monographs or fine bird art. Only 1400 copies of this book were printed of which several hundred were damaged during shipping and not sold. That will cause this book to become a collectors item!

Buteo Books Link

2010: Kennerley, Peter and David Pearson. Reed and Bush Warblers. 2010. Helm Identification Guides. Hardbound: 712 pages. Price: 65 GBP (about $105.00 U.S.).
SUMMARY: This detailed and comprehensive identification guide follows in the mo(u)ld of Sylvia Warblers and Pipits and Wagtails. It primarily covers the genera Acrocephalus, Locustella, Cettia and Bradypterus, together with a few smaller related genera. To the uninitiated, these are the archetypal ‘little brown jobs’ and as if they weren’t hard enough to identify anyway, many of them are hard to see as well! This authoritative handbook covers their identification in breathtaking detail, illustrated with line drawings, sonograms, wonderful colour plates and photographs. It is destined to become the ultimate reference for these challenging birds.
RECOMMENDATION: Brian Small's artwork highlight this book! A must have for all World birders!

Buteo Books Link
And finally 2011: Kirwan, Guy and Graeme Green. Cotingas and Manakins. 2011. Helm Identification Guides. Hardbound: 624 pages. Price: GBP 60.00.
SUMMARY: This book looks in detail at two families of South American birds, the cotingas and manakins, perhaps the most colourful of all neotropical bird groups, and widely regarded as the South American equivalent of New Guinea's Birds of Paradise. The book is a synthesis of the very latest research into the identification, taxonomy and behaviour of each of the 160 species, along with detailed colour maps, several hundred previously unpublished colour photographs, and Eustace Barnes's stunning 34 colour plates.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those with an interest in Neotropical birds or collectors of family monographs! Princeton University Press will be co-publishing this title in February 2012 for $55.00 U.S.

Buteo Books Link

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                         Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman
My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Title

1) Groves, Colin and Peter Grubb. Ungulate Taxonomy. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 317 pages. Price: $100.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: A group of special interest to mammalogists, taxonomists, and systemicists, ungulates have proven difficult to classify. This comprehensive review of the taxonomic relationships of artiodactyls and perissodactyls brings forth new evidence in order to propose a theory of ungulate taxonomy.
     With this straightforward volume, Colin Groves and the late Peter Grubb cut through previous assumptions to define ungulate genera, species, and subspecies. The species-by-species accounts incorporate new molecular, cytogenetic, and morphological data, as well as the authors' own observations and measurements. The authors include references and supporting arguments for new classifications.
     A starting point for further research, this book is sure to be discussed and hotly debated in the mammalogical community. A well-reasoned synthesis, Ungulate Taxonomy will be a defining volume for years to come.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with a technical interest in ungulate taxonomy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Titles

1) Seebohm, Henry. The Birds of Siberia: A Record of a Naturalist's Visits to the Valleys of the Petchora and Yenesei. 1901 (2011). Cambridge University Press. Paperback: 512 pages. Price: $39.99 U.S.

SUMMARY: Henry Seebohm (1832–95) was a Yorkshire steel manufacturer and passionate amateur ornithologist. He travelled widely in Greece, Scandinavia, Turkey and South Africa studying birds in their native habitats. He served as secretary of the Royal Geological Society, was a fellow of the Linnean Society, and member of the British Ornithologists' Union and of the Zoological Society. This volume, published in 1901, contains two books recounting his travels in Siberia. Siberia in Europe (1880) was the result of an expedition to the lower Pechora River valley in 1875 with zoologist J. A. Harvie-Brown, and also his study of bird migrations in Heligoland with ornithologist Heinrich Gätke. He located the breeding grounds of several visitors to Britain, including the grey plover and Bewick's swan. Siberia in Asia (1882) was published after his 1877 journey with Arctic explorer Joseph Wiggins along the Yenisey River. There are numerous woodcuts illustrating birds and Siberian landscapes.
RECOMMENDATION: For those that have an interest in early ornithological studies or Siberian exploration.

2) Wormworth, Janice and Cagan H. Sekercioglu. Winged Sentinels: Birds and Climate Change. 2011. Cambridge University Press. Paperback: 262 pages. Price: $40.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: 'The ability of the birds to show us the consequences of our own actions is among their most important and least appreciated attributes. Despite the free advice of the birds, we do not pay attention', said Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 1947. From ice-dependent penguins of Antarctica to songbirds that migrate across the Sahara, birds' responses provide early warning signs of the impact of climate change. Winged Sentinels: Birds and Climate Change uses colourful examples to show how particular groups of birds face heightened threats from climate change and to explore how we can help birds adapt in a warming world. Generously illustrated with colour photographs, the book is a fascinating insight into what climate change means for birds, and the potential consequences of ignoring these warning signs.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction on the subject.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Titles

1) Fallon, Katie. Cerulean Blues: A Personal Search for a Vanishing Songbird. 2011. Ruka Press. Paperback: 210 pages. Price: $17.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Cerulean Blues describes the plight of the cerulean warbler, a tiny migratory songbird, and its struggle to survive in ever-shrinking bands of suitable habitat. This elusive creature, a favorite among bird watchers and the fastest-declining warbler species in the United States, has lost 3% of its total population each year since 1966. This precipitous decline means that today there are 80% fewer ceruleans than 40 years ago, and their numbers continue to drop due to threats including deforestation, global warming, and an ecologically devastating practice—mountaintop removal coal mining—that affects not only the cerulean warbler but all residents of the Appalachian mountains, including humans.
     With both scientific rigor and a sense of wonder, Fallon leads readers on a journey of more than two thousand miles—from the top of the forest canopy in the ancient mountains of Appalachia to a coffee plantation near troubled Bogotá, Colombia—and shows how the fate of a creature weighing less than an ounce is vitally linked to our own.
     Cerulean Blues will appeal to nature lovers, bird watchers, actual and armchair adventurers, and anyone interested in the health and future of our planet.
RECOMMENDATION: A thorough and entertaining account (especially the "warbler parade" scene in chapter 16) on the plight of the Cerulean Warbler.

2) Hunter, Luke and Priscilla Barrett. Carnivores of the World. 2011. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 240 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Carnivores are among the most spectacular creatures in the natural world, and also the most feared. Carnivores of the World is the first comprehensive field guide to all 245 terrestrial species of true carnivores, from the majestic polar bear and predatory wild cats to the tiny least weasel. This user-friendly illustrated guide features 86 color plates by acclaimed wildlife artist Priscilla Barrett that depict every species and numerous subspecies, as well as about 400 line drawings of skulls and footprints. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, distribution and habitat, feeding ecology, behavior, social patterns, reproduction and demography, status, threats, lifespan, and mortality. Carnivores of the World includes an introduction that provides a concise overview of taxonomy, conservation, and the distinct families within the order Carnivora.
     This book features:

*Covers all 245 terrestrial species of true carnivores
*Includes 86 color plates by acclaimed wildlife artist Priscilla Barrett
*Features detailed species accounts and hundreds of line drawings
*The first field guide of its kind

RECOMMENDATION: The only drawback to this useful guide is the lack of range maps in the book, but they can be found on-line here:

Buteo Books Link

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                        Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman
My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New Title

1) Meldahl, Keith Heyer. Rough-Hewn Land: A Geologic Journey from California to the Rocky Mountains. 2011. University of California Press. Hardbound: 296 pages. Price: $34.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: “Unfold a map of North America,” Keith Heyer Meldahl writes, “and the first thing to grab your eye is the bold shift between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains.” In this absorbing book, Meldahl takes readers on a 1000-mile-long field trip back through more than 100 million years of deep time to explore America’s most spectacular and scientifically intriguing landscapes. He places us on the outcrops, rock hammer in hand, to examine the evidence for how these rough-hewn lands came to be. We see California and its gold assembled from pieces of old ocean floor and the relentless movements of the Earth’s tectonic plates. We witness the birth of the Rockies. And we investigate the violent earthquakes that continue to shape the region today. Into the West’s geologic story, Meldahl also weaves its human history. As we follow the adventures of John C. Frémont, Mark Twain, the Donner party, and other historic characters, we learn how geologic forces have shaped human experience in the past and how they direct the fate of the West today.

RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction to the geology of the region.

Monday, November 14, 2011

4 New Titles

1) Aspinall, Simon and Richard Porter. Birds of the United Arab Emirates. 2011. Helm Field Guides. Paperback: 240 pages. Price: GBP 24.99 (about $39.73 U.S.).
SUMMARY: The UAE is an increasingly popular tourist destination, with a good infrastructure for visitors. This new field guide is based on the bestselling Birds of the Middle East (2nd edition) and covers all the birds of these Gulf states. The new text written by Simon Aspinall and Richard Porter is specific to the Gulf, and new maps are provided for all breeding birds and regular visitors. The plates are recomposed from Birds of the Middle East, with three extra plates of introduced species.
RECOMMENDATION: Birders interested in the UAE will like this book.

Buteo Books Link

2) Dunlap, Thomas R.. In the Field, Among the Feathered: A History of Birders and Their Guides. 2011. Oxford University Press. Hardbound: 241 pages. Price: $34.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: America is a nation of ardent, knowledgeable birdwatchers. But how did it become so? And what role did the field guide play in our passion for spotting, watching, and describing birds?
     In the Field, Among the Feathered tells the history of field guides to birds in America from the Victorian era to the present, relating changes in the guides to shifts in science, the craft of field identification, and new technologies for the mass reproduction of images. Drawing on his experience as a passionate birder and on a wealth of archival research, Thomas Dunlap shows how the twin pursuits of recreation and conservation have inspired birders and how field guides have served as the preferred method of informal education about nature for well over a century.
     The book begins with the first generation of late 19th-century birdwatchers who built the hobby when opera glasses were often the best available optics and bird identification was sketchy at best. As America became increasingly urban, birding became more attractive, and with Roger Tory Peterson's first field guide in 1934, birding grew in both popularity and accuracy. By the 1960s recreational birders were attaining new levels of expertise, even as the environmental movement made birding's other pole, conservation, a matter of human health and planetary survival. Dunlap concludes by showing how recreation and conservation have reached a new balance in the last 40 years, as scientists have increasingly turned to amateurs, whose expertise had been honed by the new guides, to gather the data they need to support habitat preservation.
     Putting nature lovers and citizen-activists at the heart of his work, Thomas Dunlap offers an entertaining history of America's long-standing love affair with birds, and with the books that have guided and informed their enthusiasm. This book features:

*First book to examine the development of this book genre, relating changes in the guides to shifts in science, the craft knowledge of field identification, and the developing technologies of birding photography.
*As a birder himself, author brings passion for the subject, inner knowledge of how birders think, and familiarity with guides.
*Examines the intersection of recreation, social class, and birding.

RECOMMENDATION: This book covers the time period between 1889 to 2008. A very good treatment on the subject and a must have for those interested in the history of the field guide!

Buteo Books Link

3) Harris, Mike P. and Sarah Wanless. The Puffin (2nd edition). 2011. T&AD Poyser. Hardbound: 256 pages. Price: GBP 50.00 (about $79.49 U.S.).
SUMMARY: With its colourful beak and fast, whirring flight, the Atlantic Puffin is the most recognisable and popular of all North Atlantic seabirds. Puffins spend most of the year at sea, but for a few months of the year the come to shore, nesting in burrows on steep cliffs or on inaccessible islands. Awe-inspiring numbers of these birds can sometimes be seen bobbing on the sea or flying in vast wheels over the colony, bringing fish in their beaks back to the chicks. However, the species has declined sharply over the last decade; this is due to a collapse in fish stocks caused by overfishing and global warming, combined with an exponential increase in Pipefish (which can kill the chicks).
     The Puffin is a revised and expanded second edition of Poyser's 1984 title on these endearing birds, widely considered to be a Poyser classic. It includes sections on their affinities, nesting and incubation, movements, foraging ecology, survivorship, predation, and research methodology; particular attention is paid to conservation, with the species considered an important ‘indicator’ of the health of our coasts.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those with an interest in the species!

4) Redman, Nigel et al.. Birds of the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Socotra (2nd edition). 2011. Helm Field Guides. Paperback: 512 pages. Price: GBP 35.00 (about $55.64 U.S.).
SUMMARY: The Horn of Africa has the highest endemism of any region in Africa, and around 70 species are found nowhere else in the world. Many of these are confined to the isolated highlands of Ethiopia and Eritrea, but a large number of larks specialise in the arid parts of Somalia and adjoining eastern Ethiopia, whilst the island of Socotra has its own suite of endemic species. The region is also an important migration route and wintering site for many Palearctic birds.
     This is the first field guide to the birds of this fascinating region, and a companion to Birds of East Africa by two of the same authors. Over 200 magnificent plates by John Gale and Brian Small illustrate every species that has ever occurred in the five countries covered by the guide, and the succinct text covers the key identification criteria. Special attention is paid to the voices of the species, and over 1000 up-to-date colour distribution maps are included.
     This long-awaited guide is a much-needed addition to the literature on African birds and an essential companion for birders visiting the region.
RECOMMENDATION: The page count has increased from 496 pages (1st edition) to 512 pages. If you didn't get the first edition, here's you chance to own this guide!


1) Kirwan, Guy and Graeme Green. Cotingas and Manakins. 2011. Helm Identification Guides. Hardbound: 624 pages. Price: GBP 60.00.

SUMMARY: This book looks in detail at two families of South American birds, the cotingas and manakins, perhaps the most colourful of all neotropical bird groups, and widely regarded as the South American equivalent of New Guinea's Birds of Paradise. The book is a synthesis of the very latest research into the identification, taxonomy and behaviour of each of the 160 species, along with detailed colour maps, several hundred previously unpublished colour photographs, and Eustace Barnes's stunning 34 colour plates.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those with an interest in Neotropical birds or collectors of family monographs! Princeton University Press will be co-publishing this title in February 2012 for $55.00 U.S.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                         Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman 

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Title

1) Harvey, Michael J. et al.. Bats of the United States and Canada. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press. Paperback: 202 pages. Price: 24.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: The only mammals capable of true flight, bats are among the world's most fascinating creatures. This accessible guide to the forty-seven species of bats found in the United States and Canada captures and explains the amazing diversity of these marvels of evolution.
     A wide variety of bat species live in the United States and Canada, ranging from the California leaf-nosed bat to the Florida bonneted bat, from the eastern small-footed bat to the northern long-eared bat. The authors provide an overview of bat classification, biology, feeding behavior, habitats, migration, and reproduction. They discuss the ever-increasing danger bats face from destruction of habitat, wind turbines, chemical toxicants, and devastating diseases like white-nose syndrome, which is killing millions of cave bats in North America. Illustrated species accounts include range maps and useful identification tips.
     Written by three of the world's leading bat experts and featuring J. Scott Altenbach's stunning photographs, this fact-filled and easy-to-use book is the most comprehensive and up-to-date account of bats in the U.S. and Canada
RECOMMENDATION: A thorough introduction to the bats of the region.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Title

1) Dickinson, Edward C. et al. (editors). Priority! The Dating of Scientific Names in Ornithology: Directory to the Literature & its Reviewers. 2011. Aves Press. Hardbound: 319 pages. Price: 80.00 GBP ($135.00 U.S.).

SUMMARY: This is the first book to explain the importance of priority in relation to names in ornithology and in the context of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Backgrounds are first provided on the Code and on printing and publishing over the last 250 years. The compilers then bring together reports on 148 books and 121 periodicals in zoology which, between them, present almost all the challenges that can make date determination problematic.
     The reports provide links to the published authorities and are supported by tables containing extensive detail about the subsidiary parts or issues with their pagination and dates. This book and the included CD Rom are a searchable treasure trove.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with a technical interest in ornithological nomenclature. The title is available from Aves Press here: and from Buteo Books here:

New Title

1) Chaline, Eric. Fifty Animals that Changed the Course of History. 2011. Firefly Books. Hardbound: 223 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Fifty Animals that Changed the Course of History is a beautifully presented guide to the animals that have had the greatest impact on human civilization. Entries are organized by scientific name, except for Homo sapiens, which is featured last.
     The 50 animals include the horse, dog, rat, whale, reindeer, beaver, flea, leech, dodo, falcon, oyster and shark. These creatures, great and small, have played central roles in the evolution of humankind, but they have remained at the periphery of our understanding of history. Whether it is an advancement in scientific knowledge, a trade war, disease and death, battles won and lost, or encounters with explorers in unknown lands, these animals have changed the course of history.
     More than 150 elegant drawings, photographs and paintings, as well as excerpts from literature, highlight the concise text. Each animal is judged by its influence in four categories:

*Edible -- animals that have shaped agriculture, such as the cow
*Medical -- animals that are "disease vectors," spreading bacteria and viruses, from malaria to plague
*Commercial -- animals used for trade or in manufacturing
*Practical -- animals used for transportation or clothing.

The animals described in Fifty Animals that Changed the Course of History are familiar, but their roles in human history are easily overlooked. This attractive reference gives us a fresh perspective on our place in the animal kingdom.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated account of human/animal interactions over the centuries.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Titles

1) Hayes, Derek. Historical Atlas of Washington and Oregon. 2011. University of California Press. Hardbound: 240 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: This gorgeous atlas, illustrated throughout with more than 500 colorful images and maps, provides a visually rich and textually engaging history of the states of Oregon and Washington. Derek Hayes brings his enthusiasm and expertise to a full range of topics, beginning with the first inhabitants and tracing the westward expansion, conflict between settlers and Native Americans, and the establishment of the Oregon Trail. We see in vivid images, old maps, and lively text the coming of the railroads and the rapid establishment of the coastal ports, northwest cities and roads, the fur and lumber industries, and the large farms. We also witness the twentieth-century development of the war industries, the establishment of the aviation industry, and the celebratory 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. At once a valuable reference and an exhilarating adventure through history, the Historical Atlas of Washington and Oregon presents readers with a fascinating chronicle of how these proud states came into their own and how they each look toward the future.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those interested in the history of these two states!

2) Kirk, Jay. Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession, Adventure, and One Man's Quest to Preserve the World's Great Animals. 2011. Picador. Paperback: 387 pages. Price: $18.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: In this epic account of an extraordinary life lived during remarkable times, Jay Kirk follows the adventures of legendary explorer and taxidermist Carl Akeley, who revolutionized taxidermy and environmental conservation and created the famed African Hall at New York’s Museum of Natural History. Akeley risked death time and again in the jungles of Africa as he stalked animals for his dioramas and hobnobbed with outsized personalities of the era, such as Theodore Roosevelt and P. T. Barnum.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting read, but could have used more than the five photos provided to illustrated the story.

Forthcoming Title

Here's a sneak peak of the forthcoming Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America:


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Title

1) Sidles, Constance. Second Nature: Tales from the Montlake Fill. 2011. Constancy Press, LLC. Hardbound: 248 pages. Price: $23.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: In the rush of modern life, in the chaos of a world that is often in crisis, where can you find peace of mind? Constance Sidles finds it in nature. If, like her, you're searching for a haven that gives you respite from care and grants you hope for the future, then come with her as she takes you on a journey into the wilds of a natural area set in the heart of a big city: the Montlake Fill in Seattle.
     The Fill is 75 acres of wild beauty on the campus of the University of Washington. In 32 essays arranged into four seasons, Connie describes the birds who come here and the things they do.In the process, she reflects on the meaning of wild nature and its healing role in our modern lives.
     Connie's essays are by turns funny, serious, light, and dark. Like her first book about the Fill, In My Nature: A Birder's Year at the Montlake Fill, Connie writes about the human heart, as wild and free as the birds she finds at the Fill, as worn by care, and as lifted up by beauty.
     Her essays are illustrated with spectacular photos of the birds of the Fill, taken by some of the best wildlife photographers in the world. Visually stunning and emotionally uplifting, this book is for everyone who loves nature, both human and wild...
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed the author's first book about the Montlake Fill: In My Nature, you'll enjoy this one! You can order the book here:

Monday, November 7, 2011

New Title

1) Brooks, Matt et al.(editors). Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona (8th edition). 2011. Tucson Audubon Society. Spiralbound: 371 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Tucson Audubon's updated edition of Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona, its eighth, brings together all the latest information on finding birds in southeast Arizona. This is your best source of detailed information that will help in planning bird watching adventures throughout southeast Arizona.
New for the eighth edition:

*15 new birding sites across Southeast Arizona
*New maps and updated older maps
*Updated contact information and web addresses
*Updated information on existing site locations
*Updated information on entering Mexico
*Updated IBA (Important Bird Areas) information, including sites
*Information pertaining to areas affected by the 2011 fires
*New Classifieds section for businesses catering to birders
*Updated bar graphs and species accounts for all species
*Easier to use index with bolding of key pages
*Printed locally on recycled paper using renewable energy
*New simple butterfly checklist

RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for birders interested in the region! You can order the book from the Tucson Audubon Society here:
 Also available:              

Buteo Books Link

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                    Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Title

1) Sinclair, Ian et al.. Birds of Southern Africa (4th edition). 2011. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 464 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: Birds of Southern Africa continues to be the best and most authoritative guide to the bird species of this remarkable region. This fully revised edition covers all birds found in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and southern Mozambique. The 213 dazzling color plates depict more than 950 species and are accompanied by more than 950 color maps and detailed facing text.
     This edition includes new identification information on behavior and habitat, updated taxonomy, additional artwork, improved raptor and wader plates with flight images for each species, up-to-date distribution maps reflecting resident and migrant species, and calendar bars indicating occurrence throughout the year and breeding months. This book features:

*Fully updated and revised
*213 color plates featuring more than 950 species
*950+ color maps and over 380 new improved illustrations
*Up-to-date distribution maps show the relative abundance of a species in the region and indicate resident or migrant status
*New identification information on behavior and habitat
*Taxonomy includes relevant species lumps and splits
*Raptor and wader plates with flight images for each species
*Calendar bars indicate occurrence throughout the year and breeding months.

RECOMMENDATION: The page count has increased from 447 pages (in the 3rd edition) to 464 pages. I prefer this title over the Newman's Birds of Southern Africa guide.

Buteo Books Link

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Titles

1) Liddell, Judy and Barbara Hussey. Birding Hot Spots of Central New Mexico. 2011. Texas A&M University Press. Flexibound: 203 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: From pine forest to desert scrub, from alpine meadow to riparian wetland, Albuquerque and its surrounding area in New Mexico offer an appealing variety of wildlife habitat. Birders are likely to see more than two hundred species during a typical year of bird-watching. Now, two experienced birders, Judith Liddell and Barbara Hussey, share their intimate knowledge of the best places to find birds in and around this important region.
     Covering the Rio Grande corridor, the Sandia and Manzano Mountains, Petroglyph National Monument, and the preserved areas and wetlands south of Albuquerque (including crane and waterfowl haven Bosque del Apache), Birding Hotspots of Central New Mexico offers twenty-nine geographically organized site descriptions, including maps and photographs, trail diagrams, and images of some of the birds and scenery birders will enjoy. Along with a general description of each area, the authors list target birds; explain where and when to look for them; give driving directions; provide information about public transportation, parking, fees, restrooms, food, and lodging; and give tips on availability of water and picnic facilities and on the presence of hazards such as rattlesnakes, bears, and poison ivy.
     The book includes a “helpful information” section that discusses weather, altitude, safety, transportation, and other local birding resources. The American Birding Association’s code of birding ethics appears in the back of the book, along with an annotated checklist of 222 bird species seen with some regularity in and around Albuquerque.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those birding in the region!

Buteo Books Link

2) Tattersall, Ian and Rob DeSalle. Race? Debunking A Scientific Myth. 2011. Texas A&M University Press. Hardbound: 226 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Race has provided the rationale and excuse for some of the worst atrocities in human history. Yet, according to many biologists, physical anthropologists, and geneticists, there is no valid scientific justification for the concept of race.
     To be more precise, although there is clearly some physical basis for the variations that underlie perceptions of race, clear boundaries among “races” remain highly elusive from a purely biological standpoint. Differences among human populations that people intuitively view as “racial” are not only superficial but are also of astonishingly recent origin.
     In this intriguing and highly accessible book, physical anthropologist Ian Tattersall and geneticist Rob DeSalle, both senior scholars from the American Museum of Natural History, explain what human races actually are—and are not—and place them within the wider perspective of natural diversity. They explain that the relative isolation of local populations of the newly evolved human species during the last Ice Age—when Homo sapiens was spreading across the world from an African point of origin—has now begun to reverse itself, as differentiated human populations come back into contact and interbreed. Indeed, the authors suggest that all of the variety seen outside of Africa seems to have both accumulated and started reintegrating within only the last 50,000 or 60,000 years—the blink of an eye, from an evolutionary perspective.
     The overarching message of Race? Debunking a Scientific Myth is that scientifically speaking, there is nothing special about racial variation within the human species. These distinctions result from the working of entirely mundane evolutionary processes, such as those encountered in other organisms.
RECOMMENDATION: If you think you understand what "race" is, read this book!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Title

1) Congedo, Fiorella (editor). Birds: Adapted from Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon's Histoire Naturelle. 2011. Harper Design. Paperback: 287 pages with DVD. Price: $22.99 U.S.

SUMMARY: This lovely book showcases the delicate copper engravings of birds created by Georges-Louis Leclerc, Compte de Buffon (1707-88), for his masterpiece work Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière.
     The glorious birds captured within are original reproductions of Leclerc’s art, which depicts the vibrant hues of the birds’ feathers, the varying length of their wings, and their wide eyed expressions as they stand perched, always alert for symbols of danger or other forms of life that might serve as their next meal. Leclerc’s original text from Histoire naturelle is also faithfully reproduced to provide descriptive information on the birds, such as their living locations and their unique physical characteristics.
     To bring this lovely book into the 21st century, the paperback format and low price make this rare and significant volume accessible and affordable. A DVD is also included with images of the birds to be used by readers at their discretion.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those that collect bird art!