Thursday, January 31, 2013

Forthcoming Title

Below are sample pages from the forthcoming: The Warbler Guide (due out in July 2013 via Princeton University Press).

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Titles

1-2) Stokes, Donald and Lillian. The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds: Eastern and Western Regions. 2013. Little Brown. Paperbacks: 495 and 573 pages respectively. Price: $19.99 U.S. each.

SUMMARY: The culmination of many years of research, observation, and study, the The New Stokes Field Guide To Birds: Eastern and Western Regions are factually, visually, and organizationally superior to any other photographic field guide available.
     These easy-to-use guides feature 545 (Eastern) and 636 (Western) North American bird species and more than 2,000 stunning color photographs. And yet it's portable enough to fit in your pocket! The photographs cover all significant plumages, including male, female, summer, winter, immature, morphs, important subspecies, and birds in flight. The guides include:

* the newest scientific and common names and phylogenetic order
* special help for identifying birds in flight through important clues of behavior, plumage, and shape
* detailed descriptions of songs and calls
* important behavioral information and key habitat preferences
* the newest range maps, detailing species' winter, summer, year-round ranges, and migration routes

Whether you are a novice or experienced birder, these new Stokes guides will take your birding to the next level.

RECOMMENDATION: If you liked The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America (2010) but thought it was too heavy to carry into the field, you'll like these smaller guides.

New Titles

1) Gregson, Richard. Green Birding: How to See More Birds and Protect the Environment at the Same Time. 2013. Stackpole Books. Paperback: 134 pages. Price: $16.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: This book discusses:
*Where to look for birds close to home--often-overlooked spots in cities and suburban neighborhoods that can be bird magnets
*How to get deeper by studying the birds around your home and participating in citizen science and conservation projects
*Green birding listing challenges and groups the green birder can get involved in
*Includes advice on how to adapt your equipment to a new style of birding and how to attract more birds to your home garden.

RECOMMENDATION: A brief but detailed overview on the subject.

2) Pagel, Mark. Wired For Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind. 2013. W.W. Norton. Paperback: 416 pages. Price: $18.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: A unique trait of the human species is that our personalities, lifestyles, and worldviews are shaped by an accident of birth—namely, the culture into which we are born. It is our cultures and not our genes that determine which foods we eat, which languages we speak, which people we love and marry, and which people we kill in war. But how did our species develop a mind that is hardwired for culture—and why?
     Evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel tracks this intriguing question through the last 80,000 years of human evolution, revealing how an innate propensity to contribute and conform to the culture of our birth not only enabled human survival and progress in the past but also continues to influence our behavior today. Shedding light on our species’ defining attributes—from art, morality, and altruism to self-interest, deception, and prejudice—Wired for Culture offers surprising new insights into what it means to be human.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in human social evolution.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Title

1) Irving, Kirsten and Jon Stone (editors). Birdbook: Freshwater Habitats. 2012. Sidekick Books. Paperback: 152 pages. Price: £10.00 (about $15.76 U.S.).

SUMMARY: The second volume of Sidekick Books’ sure-footed, full-feathered tour of our native (British) avian population takes us to lakes, marshes and rivers, where surely enough, a sumptuous conglomeration of birds cavort, sidle, gaggle, squabble and goggle. Expanding on the richness and variety of the first book, this collection draws together the work of a further array of poets and illustrators, each active in their own field. It makes for a festival of styles almost as multifarious as the subjects themselves, and just as certain to evoke fascination and breathy delight!
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in bird related poetry.

Monday, January 28, 2013

New Title

1) ffrench, Richard. A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago: Third Edition. 2012. Cornell University Press. Paperback: 407 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Members of nearly all the families of South American birds can be found on the two beautiful West Indian islands of Trinidad and Tobago, where the pleasant climate, varied habitat, and avian diversity create a "birder's paradise." This easy-to-use book is the third edition of a comprehensive yet compact field guide to all 477 species of the islands' birds, including 35 new species accounts added to the country’s bird list since the last edition. Richard ffrench’s work has been a "bible" to birders since the appearance of the first edition in 1973. This new edition incorporates five decades of his notes and records of the island’s birds to present in a handy and readable form detailed and comprehensive information about the birds of Trinidad and Tobago.
     Showcasing 40 all-new color plates by the very best bird artists working under the direction of John P. O’Neill, the third edition now includes illustrations of not only the islands’ endemic and resident species, but also the many migratory species that visit the islands from both the north and the south. The taxonomic arrangement and treatment of families and species has also been brought in line with the most recent determinations of the A.O.U. Committee on Nomenclature for a thoroughly up-to-date presentation. In his introduction, Richard ffrench offers a full treatment of the history of ornithology in Trinidad and Tobago and sets the scene by describing the islands’ physiography, climate, and vegetation. Individual species accounts, arranged by family, make up the core of this identification guide. The accounts cover habitat and status, range and subspecies, field description and basic measurements, voice, food, nesting, and behavior. Richard ffrench’s summary of the distribution of species and their breeding and migration, as well as local conservation and protection measures, makes this volume much more than a typical field-guide treatment, and invites visitors to this premier ecotourism destination.
RECOMMENDATION: I prefer this title over Kenefick's et al. Birds of Trinidad & Tobago: Second Edition (2011).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                     Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Title

1) Martin, Anthony J.. Life Traces of the Georgia Coast: Revealing the Unseen Lives of Plants and Animals. 2012. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 670 pages. Price: $60.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: Have you ever wondered what left behind those prints and tracks on the seashore, or what made those marks or dug those holes in the dunes? Life Traces of the Georgia Coast is an up-close look at these traces of life and the animals and plants that made them. It tells about the how the tracemakers lived and how they interacted with their environments. This is a book about ichnology (the study of such traces), a wonderful way to learn about the behavior of organisms, living and long extinct. Life Traces presents an overview of the traces left by modern animals and plants in this biologically rich region; shows how life traces relate to the environments, natural history, and behaviors of their tracemakers; and applies that knowledge toward a better understanding of the fossilized traces that ancient life left in the geologic record. Augmented by numerous illustrations of traces made by both ancient and modern organisms, the book shows how ancient trace fossils directly relate to modern traces and tracemakers, among them, insects, grasses, crabs, shorebirds, alligators, and sea turtles. The result is an aesthetically appealing and scientifically accurate book that will serve as both a source book for scientists and for anyone interested in the natural history of the Georgia coast.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Georgia coastal ecology.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Title

1) Johnson, William P. and Mark W. Lockwood. Texas Waterfowl. 2013. Texas A&M University Press. Flexicover: 176 pages. Price: $25.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: In this beautifully illustrated guide, two practicing wildlife biologists describe the life histories of forty-five species of ducks, geese, and swans that occur in Texas. For common species and those that breed in the state, each account begins with an interesting fact (such as, “Red-breasted Mergansers have been clocked at over 80 mph, the fastest recorded flight speed for a duck . . .”) and provides information on Texas distribution and harvest, population status, diet, range and habitats, reproduction, and appearance.
     Exquisite photographs, informative distribution maps, and a helpful source list accompany the species descriptions, and the book offers a glossary and full bibliography for those who want to explore the literature further.
     With the degradation and disappearance of the inland and coastal habitats that these birds depend upon, the natural history of these waterfowl species provides a vital reminder of the interconnectedness and crucial importance of all wetlands.
     Birders, biologists, landowners, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and all those interested in the health and preservation of our coastal and inland wetland resources will enjoy and learn from this book.
RECOMMENDATION: Texas birders and waterfowl biologists will find this guide useful.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Reprinted Title

1) Peterson, Roger Tory and Virginia Marie Peterson. Audubon's Birds of America: The National Audubon Society Baby Elephant Folio. 1981, 1990 (reprinted 2012). Abbeville Press. Hardbound: 694 pages. Price: $185.00 U.S.
SUMMARY:  This marvelous edition of Audubon's Birds of America displays all 435 of Audubon's brilliant handcolored engravings in exquisite reproductions taken from the original plates of the Audubon Society's archival copy of the rare Double Elephant Folio. Although many attempts have been made to re-create the magnificent illustrations in Audubon's masterpiece, nothing equals the level of fidelity or scale achieved in this high-quality edition.
     Organized and annotated by Roger Tory Peterson, America’s best-known ornithologist, and issued with the full endorsement and cooperation of the Audubon Society, this magnificent volume is as thorough in scientific classification as it is beautiful. Peterson's fascinating introduction places Audubon in the context of the history of American ornithological art and also reproduces a wide sampling of the work of Audubon's notable predecessors and disciples, including Peterson's own justly famous paintings. This new systematic arrangement of the prints, complete with informative commentaries about each bird, made it possible to correct many of the problems or errors in Audubon's original edition revealed by later scholarship. The colorful captions in the back provide fascinating commentaries on each featured bird.
RECOMMENDATION: This reprinted edition has a new binding and the thumbnail images in the commentaries on the plates are now in color. I especially like the introduction which contains sample artwork by other bird artists.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                 Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Recent Title

1) Cillie, Burger. The Mammal Guide of Southern Africa. 2004 (reprinted 2011). Briza Publications. Paperback: 224 pages. Price: $21.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: The new edition of this popular field guide has been fully revised and updated, making it one of the most comprehensive guides to the land mammals of the subregion. This edition includes:

* An easy-to-use system to identify the mammals in the book
* Detailed species descriptions, including information on the conservation status, size, food, life expectancy, enemies, habits, voice and breeding of more than 120 of the most common land mammals of southern Africa
* More than 200 excellent color photographs of the male and female animals
* Photographs and illustrations of field signs, such as droppings and spoor, as well as distribution maps
* A table illustrating the tracks (spoor) of all the animals featured
* Illustrations showing the difference in size between each animal and a human
* A brand-new section which includes examples from all the families of smaller mammals, such as shrews, elephant shrews, moles, mole rats, bats, rats and mice.

The Mammal Guide of Southern Africa is a must for game watchers, hikers and anyone with a love for nature.

RECOMMENDATION: A useful guide to the common mammals of the region.

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Title

1) Fuller, Robert J. (editor). Birds and Habitat: Relationships in Changing Landscapes. 2012. Cambridge University Press. Paperback: 542 pages. Price: $65.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: The successful conservation of bird species relies upon our understanding of their habitat use and requirements. In the coming decades the importance of such knowledge will only grow as climate change, the development of new energy sources and the needs of a growing human population intensify the, already significant, pressure on the habitats that birds depend on. Drawing on valuable recent advances in our understanding of bird-habitat relationships, this book provides the first major review of avian habitat selection in over twenty years. It offers a synthesis of concepts, patterns and issues that will interest students, researchers and conservation practitioners. Spatial scales ranging from landscape to habitat patch are covered, and examples of responses to habitat change are examined. European landscapes are the main focus, but the book has far wider significance to similar habitats worldwide, with examples and relevant material also drawn from North America and Australia.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in avian habitats.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                      Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Title

1) Koomey, Jonathan. Cold Cash, Cool Climate: Science-Based Advice for Ecological Entrepreneurs. 2012. Analytics Press. Paperback: 199 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Written for entrepreneurs and investors, this book describes how to profit from tackling climate change, one of this century's greatest challenges. Industry expert Dr. Jonathan Koomey acts as your company's scientific advisor, summarizing the business implications of the climate problem for both new and existing ventures. Koomey helps you effectively allocate scarce time and resources to the most promising opportunities, drawing upon his more than 25 years of experience in analyzing and implementing climate solutions.
RECOMMENDATION: Recommended by here:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Title

1) Debus, Stephen. Birds of Prey of Australia: A Field Guide (Second Edition). 2012. CSIRO Publishing. Paperback: 180 pages. Price: $41.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: This book is an illustrated field guide to diurnal raptors, a bird group that many people find among the most difficult birds to identify. Raptors are popular and iconic birds, and important ecologically as well as in legislation, with some species listed as threatened. Birds of Prey of Australia will enable people to more easily identify them. It also provides a brief overview of the biology of raptors and an indication of the current state of knowledge on them.
     The book has been completely revised and updated, with 15 years of new data, a section on difficult species-pairs (split-images providing direct contrast), and rearranged in modern field-guide format, making it easy to use and enabling rapid identification of ‘difficult’ raptors.
     Birds of Prey of Australia will appeal to a wide range of readers, including ornithologists, raptor biologists, birdwatchers, wildlife rescuers/carers, raptor rehabilitators, zookeepers, naturalists, bushwalkers, ecological consultants, fauna authorities, park rangers, state forestry personnel and students.
RECOMMENDATION: A good general over of the subject, but I would have preferred range maps over the written distribution notes.

Featured Title

1) Jackson, Stephen and Peter Schouten. Gliding Mammals of the World. 2012. CSIRO Publishing. Hardbound: 215 pages. Price: $105.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: The world's gliding mammals are an extraordinary group of animals that have the ability to glide from tree to tree with seemingly effortless grace. There are more than 60 species of gliding mammals including the flying squirrels from Asia, Europe and North America, the scaly-tailed flying squirrels from central Africa and the gliding possums of Australia and New Guinea. But the most spectacular of all are the colugos – or so called flying lemurs – that occur throughout South-East Asia and the Philippines.
     Animals that glide from tree to tree descend at an angle of less than 45 degrees to the horizontal, while those that parachute descend at an angle greater than 45 degrees. Gliding is achieved by deflecting air flowing past well-developed gliding membranes, or patagia, which form an effective airfoil that allows the animal to travel the greatest possible horizontal distance with the least loss in height. The flying squirrels and scaly-tailed flying squirrels even have special cartilaginous spurs that extend either from the wrist or elbow, respectively, to help support the gliding membrane.
     Gliding Mammals of the World provides, for the first time, a synthesis of all that is known about the biology of these intriguing mammals. It includes a brief description of each species, together with a distribution map and a beautiful full-colour painting. An introduction outlines the origins and biogeography of each group of gliding mammals and examines the incredible adaptations that allow them to launch themselves and glide from tree to tree.
RECOMMENDATION: Peter Schouten's artwork highlights this book! Anyone with an interest in these mammals (especially the flying squirrels) will want this book!