Monday, November 21, 2011
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: http://www.panthera.org/carnivoreguide-maps
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