Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Title

1) Nisbet, Jack. David Douglas: A Naturalist at Work. 2012. Sasquatch Books. Hardbound: 191 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: During a meteoric career that spanned from 1825 to 1834, David Douglas made the first systematic collections of flora and fauna over many parts of the greater Pacific Northwest. Despite his early death, colleagues in Great Britain attached the Douglas name to more than 80 different species, including the iconic timber tree of the region. David Douglas, a Naturalist at Work is a colorfully illustrated collection of essays that examines various aspects of Douglas's career, demonstrating the connections between his work in the Pacific Northwest of the 19th century and the place we know today. From the Columbia River's perilous bar to luminous blooms of mountain wildflowers; from ever-changing frontiers of technology to the quiet seasonal rhythms of tribal families gathering roots, these essays collapse time to shed light on people and landscapes.
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed the author's biography of David Douglas, The Collector, you should enjoy this book.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Titles

1) Pearson, Bruce. Troubled Waters-Trailing the Albatross: An Artist's Journey. 2012. Langford Press. Hardbound: 136 pages. Price: £38.00 (about $61.00 U.S.).

SUMMARY: The world’s great oceans are largely beyond most people’s experience and imagination. But for the past three decades or more, a tragedy has been unfolding out of sight on the open ocean.
Hundreds of thousands of seabirds, albatrosses especially, have been snared accidentally by long-line fishing vessels.
     After living and working among an abundance of albatrosses thirty five years ago on a remote island in the Southern Ocean, Bruce Pearson returned recently to see what had happened to some of the birds he had known so well.
     Troubled Waters offers insights into our understanding of the seabird’s lives and the ocean environment, and inspires new engagement and identification with an extraordinarily urgent conservation crisis.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in seabird conservation or enjoy bird art.

2) Warren, Michael. American Birding Sketchbook. 2012. Langford Press. Hardbound: 144 pages. Price: £38.00 (about $61.00 U.S.).
SUMMARY: In this Michael’s sixth book, he has brought together the material collected during years of travelling to all 50 American States. The earliest trips at the beginning of the 1970’s were to research work for an exhibition at the Carl Battaglia Gallery in New York but the majority of trips through the 1980’s and early 1990’s were to gather material for projects initiated by Jim Helzer for the National Audubon Society and Unicover Corporation.
     Some of the locations and birds shown in the book are well known but there are some specialist birds and less visited locations. The book conveys the varied habitats and landscapes and richness of both plant and birdlife to be found on this amazing continent. Michael has been able to combine the enthusiasm of the dedicated birdwatcher with the unique talent of an artist able to portray the atmosphere and often intricate environment in which the birds exist and to convey the varied tapestry of American birdlife.
RECOMMENDATION: A good sketchbook of North American birds.

Monday, November 26, 2012

New Title

1) Bessette, Alan E. et al.. Tricholomas of North America: A Mushroom Field Guide. 2013. University of Texas Press. Paperback: 208 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: More than 100 mushrooms in the genus Tricholoma have been reported in North America. Most are relatively large, showy mushrooms that grow on the ground near many species of temperate forest trees, both hardwoods and conifers. They typically fruit from late summer through early winter or even into spring in warmer areas. Some are fine edibles, including the matsutake. Others are inedible or even poisonous.
     Filling the gap between technical publications and the limited representation of Tricholomas in general mushroom field guides, this book is the first comprehensive guide to North American Tricholomas. It contains more than 170 of the best documentary photographs available, often with more than one image of a species to illustrate the dramatic variation exhibited by many Tricholomas. The species descriptions provide extensive identification information including scientific and common names, macroscopic and microscopic features, occurrence/habit, edibility, and a comment section that addresses such things as synonomy, comparisons with similar species, varietial differences, explanations of species’ epithets, and other useful or interesting information. In addition, the authors provide a general introduction to Tricholomas that discusses identification features, ecology, simple chemical tests (for identification), and how to use the keys provided in this book.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in North American mushrooms.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                   Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

HBW Alive

In early 2013, the Handbook of the Birds of the World series will be available on-line as HBW Alive. A preview can be seen in this video:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Titles

1-2) Kennedy, Adam Scott and Vicki Kennedy. Animals of the Masai Mara/ Birds of the Masai Mara. 2012. Princeton University Press. Paperbacks: 152 and 176 pages respectively. Price: $27.95 U.S. each.

SUMMARY: One of the greatest attractions of a trip to Kenya is the chance to see animals such as lions, cheetah, leopards, zebra, and giraffe up close and in their natural habitats. Animals of the Masai Mara is a lavish photographic guide that explores the charismatic wildlife most likely to be encountered by a safari visitor to the Masai Mara National Reserve in southwest Kenya. More than 140 stunning photographs showcase 65 mammals and 17 reptile species, including 6 snakes. Designed to be informative and locally accurate, rather than purely identification-based, this easy-to-use book pays particular attention to wildlife behavior and is written from the firsthand experiences of the authors and the knowledge of local safari guides. Numerous "Top Tips" throughout show readers how and where to locate specific species. The only field guide to focus solely on the wildlife of the Masai Mara National Reserve, Animals of the Masai Mara will be indispensable to visitors to this famous park and all nature enthusiasts with an interest in this area of the world.
     This book features:

*The only photographic guide specific to the animals of the Masai Mara National Reserve
*More than 140 remarkable photographs covering 65 mammals and 17 reptile species, including 6 snakes
*Accessible text explores animal behavior and other interesting facts
*A brief and informative introduction to the habitats of the Masai Mara.

Birds of the Masai Mara is a remarkably beautiful photographic guide featuring the bird species likely to be encountered by visitors to the popular Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. With an eye-catching layout, easy-to-use format, and no-jargon approach, the book contains more than 300 stunning photographs covering over 200 species of birds and is accessible and informative, rather than purely identification-based. A handy, brief introduction provides visitors with background on the habitats of the national park, and the guide's habitat-based approach makes it simple to identify any bird species according to where it is found. Based on the firsthand experiences of the author, Birds of the Masai Mara is an ideal companion to all those visiting the national reserve and to bird aficionados interested in learning more about the region.
     This book features:

*The only photographic guide to focus solely on the bird species of the Masai Mara National Reserve
*More than 300 remarkable photographs covering over 200 species
*Accessible text explores bird species behavior and species etymology
*A brief and handy introduction examines the habitats of the Masai Mara
*Easy-to-use habitat-based layout makes exciting birdwatching easy.

RECOMMENDATION: Eco-tourists to the region will find these books useful.

New Title

1) Wilson, Andrew M. et al. (editors). Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania. 2012. The Pennsylvania State University Press. Hardbound: 586 pages. Price: $64.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Twenty years after the first Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania was published, the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania brings our knowledge of the state’s bird populations up to date, documenting current distribution and changes in status for nearly two hundred bird species. More than two thousand dedicated birdwatchers completed surveys of birds across the state from 2004 to 2009. The data amassed reveal the distribution of each species and show changes in distribution since the publication of the first Atlas. Additionally, a highly trained survey crew carried out bird counts at more than 34,000 locations statewide. These counts tabulated not just species but individual birds as well, in a manner that—for the very first time—enabled precise estimates of the actual statewide populations for more than half of the 190 breeding species detected. In all, more than 1.5 million sightings were compiled for the second Atlas, providing an unprecedented snapshot of the bird life of Pennsylvania—and perhaps of any comparably sized region in the world.
     The introductory chapters to the second Atlas describe and discuss recent changes in climate and bird habitats within Pennsylvania. The data gathered and summarized for this volume were used by the more than forty contributing authors to write comprehensive and authoritative accounts of each species. These accounts are illustrated by stunning photographs, usually taken somewhere within the state. Up to three maps per species show in fine detail their current distribution based on the second Atlas, changes in distribution since the first Atlas, and, for more than one hundred species, their abundance in Pennsylvania.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in the birds of Pennsylvania.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

New Title

Here's info on an ebook by Nicole Perretta titled Bird Calling:

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

Saturday, November 17, 2012


1) van Grouw, Katrina. The Unfeathered Bird. 2012. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 287 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: There is more to a bird than simply feathers. And just because birds evolved from a single flying ancestor doesn't mean they are structurally all the same. With over 385 stunning drawings depicting 200 species, The Unfeathered Bird is a richly illustrated book on bird anatomy that offers refreshingly original insights into what goes on beneath the feathered surface. Each exquisite drawing is made from an actual specimen and reproduced in sumptuous large format. The birds are shown in lifelike positions and engaged in behavior typical of the species: an underwater view of the skeleton of a swimming loon, the musculature of a porpoising penguin, and an unfeathered sparrowhawk plucking its prey. Jargon-free and easily accessible to any reader, the lively text relates birds' anatomy to their lifestyle and evolution, examining such questions as why penguins are bigger than auks, whether harrier hawks really have double-jointed legs, and the difference between wing claws and wing spurs. A landmark in popular bird books, The Unfeathered Bird is a must for anyone who appreciates birds or bird art.
     This book features:

*A unique book that bridges art, science, and history
*Over 385 beautiful drawings, artistically arranged in a sumptuous large-format book
*Accessible, jargon-free text--the only book on bird anatomy aimed at the general reader
*Drawings and text all based on actual bird specimens
*Includes most anatomically distinct bird groups
*Many species never illustrated before

RECOMMENDATION: This coffee-table book would make a good gift for someone with an interest in bird or anatomy art.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Title

1) King, Heidi. Peruvian Featherworks: Art of the Precolumbian Era. 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hardbound: 222 pages. Price: $60.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: Of universal appeal and great beauty, Peruvian featherworking was part of a highly sophisticated textile tradition spanning several thousand years. Although these rare treasures, which include vibrantly colored and detailed garments, headdresses, personal ornaments, and ritual objects, have been admired and collected by connoisseurs for decades, this unusual and exquisite art form has not been much investigated or published.
     Peruvian Featherworks, a magnificently illustrated publication, is the first in-depth and authoritative review of featherworking traditions in Ancient Peru. Written by seven international experts in the textile arts and archaeology, the texts include a discussion of important recent discoveries, considerations of iconography, and basic technical characteristics of featherworks. Nearly seventy outstanding pieces are discussed, as well as evidence of feather mosaic on textiles and other media in most major Andean cultures, from the Paracas (about 600–100 B.C.) through the Inca (1470–1534).
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in feather artwork or Precolumbian art.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Revised Title

1) Boysen, Sally and Deborah Custance. The Smartest Animals on the Planet: Revised & Updated. 2012. Firefly Books. Paperback: 192 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: This compelling book is from a world authority in animal intelligence and brings together the cumulative research relating to non-human "smart" species. It reveals how intelligent animals communicate, how they learn behavior, how they show feelings and emotions -- and for some species, how they use tools, count, and pick up a foreign language!
     Fully illustrated with photographs and step-by-step graphics, and drawing on data from historical and current experiments and observations, the book examines intelligence in the great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans), monkeys, and a surprisingly long list of non-primate species: sea otters, eagles, elephants, dolphins, lions, whales, parrots, honeybees, beetles, rats, woodpeckers, crows, and dogs.
     The book's chapters are:

*Comparing Animal Skills and Intelligence -- with each other and with humans
*Animal Tool Use -- in nature, in captivity, environmental adaptation
*Communication in Animals -- language, intention, meaning, alarms
*Imitation and Social Learning -- culture, observational learning
*Social Cognition and Emotion -- cooperation, altruism, empathy, deception
*Self-recognition and Awareness -- consciousness, mirror self-recognition
*Numerical Abilities in Animals -- counting, uses of quantity
*Animals and Human Non-verbal Language -- sign language, shapes, graphic symbols.

This new edition's updates reflect the massive surge in research on animal cognitiion in the last 3 years -- in companion dogs, birds, insects, stingrays and mongooses.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in animal behavior.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Recent Title

1) Pittie, Aasheesh. Birds in Books: Three Hundred Years of South Asian Ornithology- A Bibliography. 2010. Permanent Black. Hardbound: 845 pages. Price: $40.00 U.S./ £25.

SUMMARY: This bibliography includes details of over 1700 books covering the ornithology of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet and also provides brief glimpses into the lives of over 200 ornithologists. This book is available directly from the author here:
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in ornith-bibliography!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Title

1) Strange, Morten. A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Indonesia: Second Edition. 2012. Tuttle Publishing. Flexicover: 544 pages. Price: $34.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Indonesia is a newly revised edition of the first—and best—comprehensive photographic guide to the birds of Indonesia. Because of its vast size and geographical location, Indonesia has the world's most diverse avifauna. It boasts of more than 1,600 species—of which 235 species are only found in Indonesia, making it the world's number one travel destination for bird-watching.
     This book covers a total of 912 species, including most of the non-migratory and endemic species that are seen only in Indonesia. A photograph and distribution map is given for each bird. Many new photographs appear in this volume for the first time and have been carefully selected to show the important characteristics of each bird. The concise text provide vital information, and an index of common names is provided at the back of the book.
RECOMMENDATION: A useful guide to have if you're interested in the birds of region.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New Title

1) McLaren, Ian A.. All The Birds of Nova Scotia: Status and Critical Identification. 2012. Gaspereau Press. Hardbound: 247 pages. Price: $47.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: All the Birds of Nova Scotia aims to help observers evaluate bird sightings in Nova Scotia by focusing on the finer details of occurrence and identification. Compiling and evaluating a broad range of historical and contemporary data gathered by both ornithologists and amateur observers, Ian McLaren provides brief accounts of the status and key identification issues for all bird species, distinctive subspecies, and variations believed to have occurred in Nova Scotia up to 2010. In these accounts, readers can find answers to questions such as: Where does the bird normally occur? Is it common or rare, or becoming more, or less, common? Is it unusually late or early for the season? This book is required reading for any serious observer of Nova Scotia birds.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in Nova Scotian birds. Birders in Eastern Canada and Northeastern USA should find the ID ISSUES section useful.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                               Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: