Friday, March 16, 2012
1) Joyce, E.B. and D.A. McCann (editors). Burke & Wills: The Scientific Legacy of the Victorian Exploring Expedition. 2011. CSIRO Publishing. Hardbound: 343 pages. Price: $66.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: This book challenges the common assumption that little or nothing of scientific value was achieved during the Burke and Wills expedition.
The Royal Society of Victoria initiated the Victorian Exploring Expedition as a serious scientific exploration of hitherto unexplored regions of inland and northern Australia. Members of the expedition were issued with detailed instructions on scientific measurements and observations to be carried out, covering about a dozen areas of science. The tragic ending of the expedition meant that most of the results of the scientific investigations were not reported or published. Burke and Wills: The Scientific Legacy of the Victorian Exploring Expedition rectifies this historic omission.
It reveals for the first time the true extent and limits of the scientific achievements of both the Burke and Wills expedition and the various relief expeditions which followed.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Australian natural history history.
2) Olsen, Jerry. Australian High Country Owls. 2011. CSIRO Publishing. Paperback: 366 pages. Price: $77.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Australian High Country Owls provides the latest scientific information on Australian owl species, especially Ninox owls. It details studies of Southern Boobooks and Powerful Owls, visits to North America and Europe to learn about owl research, and the resulting publications that overturned some existing beliefs about Australian owls. Ultimately, this led to the discovery of a new owl species in Indonesia, the Little Sumba Hawk-Owl.
Appendices cover the biology, conservation and rehabilitation of Australian owls, including: field recognition, subspecies taxonomy, habitat, behaviour, food, range, migration, breeding, voice and calls, status and myths, questions about each species, and techniques for caring for injured and orphaned owls.
The book includes numerous photographs of different owl species, and will be a handy reference for bird researchers and amateur bird watchers alike.
RECOMMENDATION: Owl biologists will find this volume useful.
3) Zickefoose, Julie. The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 355 pages. Price: $28.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Julie Zickefoose lives for the moment when a wild, free living bird that she has raised or rehabilitated comes back to visit her; their eyes meet and they share a spark of understanding. Her reward for the grueling work of rescuing birds—such as feeding baby hummingbirds every twenty minutes all day long—is her empathy with them and the satisfaction of knowing the world is a birdier and more beautiful place.
The Bluebird Effect is about the change that's set in motion by one single act, such as saving an injured bluebird—or a hummingbird, swift, or phoebe. Each of the twenty five chapters covers a different species, and many depict an individual bird, each with its own personality, habits, and quirks. And each chapter is illustrated with Zickefoose's stunning watercolor paintings and drawings. Not just individual tales about the trials and triumphs of raising birds, The Bluebird Effect mixes humor, natural history, and memoir to give readers an intimate story of a life lived among wild birds.
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed the author's Letters From Eden, you'll enjoy this book! Her artwork reminds me of Roger Tory Peterson's artwork.