Sunday, September 29, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
1) Scofield, Paul and Brent Stephenson. Birds of New Zealand: A Photographic Guide. 2013. Yale University Press. Paperback: 546 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: New Zealand’s birdlife developed extraordinary diversity as a consequence of evolving on isolated islands without mammalian predators. For many years, habitat destruction brought on by humans posed a distinct threat to the wide variety of birdlife, but thanks to recent conservation efforts, many of the country’s species of birds are now protected in parks and island sanctuaries. Illustrated with nearly a thousand new photographs from one of New Zealand’s top nature photographers and drawing on the latest information from birders and biologists, Birds of New Zealand offers a definitive introduction to the identification and behavior of the country’s extraordinary avian life. The book includes expert and up-to-date information on the 365 bird species found in New Zealand, including species ranging from albatrosses and shearwaters to kiwi and kaka. It will be a valuable addition to the existing literature on birding.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those birding New Zealand.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Friday, September 20, 2013
1) Haupt, Lyanda Lynn. The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild. 2013. Little Brown. Hardbound: 338 pages. Price: $27.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In THE URBAN BESTIARY, acclaimed nature writer Lyanda Lynn Haupt journeys into the heart of the everyday wild, where coyotes, raccoons, chickens, hawks, and humans live in closer proximity than ever before. Haupt's observations bring compelling new questions to light: Whose "home" is this? Where does the wild end and the city begin? And what difference does it make to us as humans living our everyday lives? In this wholly original blend of science, story, myth, and memoir, Haupt draws us into the secret world of the wild creatures that dwell among us in our urban neighborhoods, whether we are aware of them or not. With beautiful illustrations and practical sidebars on everything from animal tracking to opossum removal, THE URBAN BESTIARY is a lyrical book that awakens wonder, delight, and respect for the urban wild, and our place within it.
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed the author's other books, you'll enjoy this one!
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
1) Dessau, Ralph. Flying Jewels/ Joyas voladoras. 2013. Piggy Press Books. Paperback: 80 pages. Price: $19.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The Flying Jewels are the “Flower Visitors” or hummingbirds, that play an essential role in nature of greatest importance, for only they can pollinate many of its trees and shrubs. But lately the number of these small birds has dwindled because we have invaded and destroyed their habitats, but this book explains what we can do to protect and preserve this national treasure. In Panama, 59 species of hummingbirds have been observed; some of these are migratory, but still they play a significant role while in the country. This book is the work of the engineer Ralph Dessau and represents the result of his 8-year study of Panama’s hummingbirds, with 49 color photographs and a list of the hummingbirds found in Panama which gives their names in English, Spanish and their scientific classification.
RECOMMENDATION: This is a brief bilingual (Spanish and English) introduction to the hummingbirds with a focus on Panamanian species.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
1) Sidles, Constance. Fill of Joy: More Tales from Montlake Fill. 2013. Constancy Press. Hardbound: 247 pages. Price: $23.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In her newest collection of 32 essays about wild nature, Constance Sidles describes in luminous prose the natural beauty and wonder she finds at Montlake Fill, an island of nature in a sea of urban development (Seattle, Washington State). The birds Connie observes here are living gems of color, celestial singers who fill the air with their liquid notes, selfless parents, ruthless predators, clever survivors--and always fascinating. This is not a book about birds, however. It's a guide that describes how to find joy in ordinary life. By studying the interactions of the wild creatures who share our planet, Connie distills the essence of what it means to be human -- and happy.
Share the joy.
Buy your own copy of "Fill of Joy" and find out why Connie writes, "There is real joy to be found in nature, and gladness in the world. We create it ourselves."
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed the author's other books about the Montlake Fill, you'll enjoy this one. The book is available here: http://www.constancypress.com/publications/
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
1) Behrens, Ken, and Cameron Cox. Peterson Reference Guide to Seawatching: Eastern Waterbirds in Flight. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 602 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Seawatching is the challenging act of identifying waterbirds in flight. Since more than one hundred different species can fly past an observation point, often at great speed or in tightly packed, mixed-species flocks, identification of these distant shapes can be a mystery. The keys to the mystery—the subtle traits that unlock the identity of flying waterbirds, be it wingbeat cadence, individual structure, flock shape and behavior, or subtle flashes of color—are revealed in this guide.Though commonly called seawatching, this on-the-fly observation and identification method is by no means restricted to the coast. There are impressive waterbird migrations on the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, and many inland lakes and rivers. Nor is it restricted to migrating waterfowl, as the principles of flight identification apply as effectively to ducks flushed off a pond as to distant migrating flocks. Like Hawks in Flight and The Shorebird Guide, the Peterson Reference Guide to Seawatching breaks new ground, provides cutting-edge techniques, and pushes the envelope in bird identification even further.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for birders in eastern North America!
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Thursday, September 5, 2013
1) Thompson III, Bill. Bird Homes and Habitats. 2013, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Paperback: 203 pages. Price: $14.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Two of the best-known names in birding—Peterson and Bird Watcher’s Digest—team up to provide reliable, expert advice on how to attract the birds you want into your yard. Which birds use nest boxes? What’s required to maintain a birdhouse? What kind of habitat will attract which birds? What does it take to be a bluebird trail operator? What does it mean if baby birds or eggs disappear from their nest? Bill Thompson III answers all of these questions and more, helping readers to create yards and gardens where birds will make their homes and raise their young. It’s easy enough to hang a birdfeeder. But there are plenty of other things that can attract birds to a landscape—and, in fact, birds need four essentials: food, water, shelter, and a place to nest. The more of these elements a yard has, the more attractive it is to birds. A lavishly illustrated chapter provides ideas and inspiration for creating bird havens by profiling “Birdy Backyard All-Stars,” fifteen homeowners from around the country who have actively worked to create bird-friendly habitats.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction to birdscaping your property focusing mainly on cavity-nesting birds.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
1) Beolens, Bo. A-Z of Birds: A Birder's tales from around the world. 2013. Brambleby Books. Paperback: 240 pages. Price: £8.99/ about $14.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: In these entertaining birding anecdotes from around the world, Bo Beolens, alias the Fatbirder, traverses many of the planet’s wild places, along with his wife Maggie, looking at birds – some familiar, others exotic, a few beyond a person’s most extravagant expectations. On the way, he meets up with a wide variety of human, animal and bird characters and experiences a plenitude of amusing and sometimes bizarre happenstances, all told with the author’s well-known flair and panache.
The book, with a prelude by celebrity naturalist and broadcaster Mike Dilger, comprises twenty-six alphabetical ‘chapters’, each being accompanied by a humorous drawing by cartoonist and illustrator Des Campbell.
RECOMMENDATION: World birders should enjoy this book.