Monday, December 22, 2014

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                             Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman


My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-352/

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New Title


1) Held, Jacob M. and James B. South (editors). Philosophy and Terry Pratchett. 2014. Palgrave Macmillan. Paperback: 310 pages. Price: $27.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: It's time to pick up your fedora and embark on a philosophical journey through Discworld!
     Terry Pratchett is world-famous for the narrative verve and surreal humour of his novels. But now meet another Terry Pratchett – a man of serious metaphysical ideas and sophisticated philosophical insights. In Philosophy and Terry Pratchett thirteen professional philosophers survey such key philosophical issues as personal identity, the nature of destiny, the value of individuality, the meaning of existentialism, the reality of universals and the existence of alternative realities. In considering these and many other equally fascinating themes, close reference is made to more than 35 Discworld novels as well as to the ideas of some of history's greatest philosophers including Aristotle, Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, Mill, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein and Rawls.
     During your journey, you will be surprised by numerous provocative conclusions including the startling claim that the existence of Discworld is logically possible! 
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of Terry Pratchett should enjoy this book.

Monday, December 15, 2014

New Title



1) North, Chris and Paul Abel. How to Read the Solar System: A Guide to the Stars and Planets. 2014. Pegasus Books. Hardbound:  320 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: What exactly is the solar system? We've all learned the basics at school but do we really understand what we are seeing in the night sky? Expert astronomers Chris North and Paul Abel, provide a fascinating guided tour of our Solar System and explain its many wonders. They look at all the major players, including our more familiar cosmic neighbors—the Sun, the planets and their moons—as well as the occasional visitors to our planet—asteroids, meteors and comets—in addition to distant stars and what might lie beyond our Solar System, including the mysterious Earth Mark II? North and Abel recount the history of how our Solar System came to be, and the myths that once shaped astronomy. Through their cogent explanations of the latest scientific discoveries, they reveal how any amateur astronomer can view and interpret the Solar System and enrich their understanding of our universe. 
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in astronomy.

The Weekly Birdbooker Report


                                            Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-349-151/

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Best Bird Books of 2014


 

The following are my picks for the best bird books of 2014:

 

BEST BOOK:

 

1) del Hoyo, Josep and Nigel J. Collar. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. 2014. Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 904 pages. Price: $245.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The first ever Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World is really two works in one. It is a complete checklist whose taxonomy incorporates the most up-to-date information and an exhaustive methodology (Tobias et al. 2010 [in the Ibis]) in an entirely systematic and consistent way. At the same time, it contains illustrations and distribution maps for every bird species in the world. This includes the original artwork from the HBW series, as well as hundreds of new illustrations, all in two compact volumes.
     This book features:
    
357 color plates.
     8,290 bird illustrations (including 242 new and 783 improved).
     4,428 distribution maps.
     34 full-page reference maps.
     2,126 bibliographical references.

RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with a serious interest in birds! You can order the book from Lynx here:  http://www.lynxeds.com/product/hbw-and-birdlife-international-illustrated-checklist-birds-world

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS: 

 

1) Howell, Steve N.G., Ian Lewington and Will Russell. Rare Birds of North America. 2014. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 428 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S. 

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Rare Birds of North America is the first comprehensive illustrated guide to the vagrant birds that occur throughout the United States and Canada. Featuring 275 stunning color plates, this book covers 262 species originating from three very different regions--the Old World, the New World tropics, and the world's oceans. It explains the causes of avian vagrancy and breaks down patterns of occurrence by region and season, enabling readers to see where, when, and why each species occurs in North America. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, taxonomy, age, sex, distribution, and status. Rare Birds of North America provides unparalleled insights into vagrancy and avian migration, and will enrich the birding experience of anyone interested in finding and observing rare birds. This book features:

  • Covers 262 species of vagrant birds found in the United States and Canada
  • Features 275 stunning color plates that depict every species
  • Explains patterns of occurrence by region and season
  • Provides an invaluable overview of vagrancy patterns and migration
  • Includes detailed species accounts and cutting-edge identification tips 
  •  
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for all serious birders in North America!




2) Pratt, Thane K. & Bruce M. Beehler. Birds of New Guinea: Second Edition. 2014. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 528 pages. Price: $49.50 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This is the completely revised edition of the essential field guide to the birds of New Guinea. The world’s largest tropical island, New Guinea boasts a spectacular avifauna characterized by cassowaries, megapodes, pigeons, parrots, cuckoos, kingfishers, and owlet-nightjars, as well as an exceptionally diverse assemblage of songbirds such as the iconic birds of paradise and bowerbirds. Birds of New Guinea is the only guide to cover all 780 bird species reported in the area, including 366 endemics. Expanding its coverage with 111 vibrant color plates—twice as many as the first edition—and the addition of 635 range maps, the book also contains updated species accounts with new information about identification, voice, habits, and range. A must-have for everyone from ecotourists to field researchers, Birds of New Guinea remains an indispensable guide to the diverse birds of this remarkable region. 
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for birders with an interest in the region!



3) Baldassarre, Guy. Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America: revised and updated. 2014. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 1027 pages (in 2 volumes). Price: $69.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America has been hailed as a classic since the first edition was published in 1942. A must-have for professional biologists, birders, waterfowl hunters, decoy collectors, and wildlife managers, this fully revised and updated [fourth] edition provides definitive information on the continent’s forty-six species. Maps of both winter and breeding ranges are presented with stunning images by top waterfowl photographers and the acclaimed original artwork of Robert W. (Bob) Hines.
     Originally authored by F. H. Kortright and later revised by Frank Bellrose, this latest edition, which has been meticulously updated by renowned waterfowl biologist Guy Baldassarre, continues the legacy of esteemed authors. Each species account contains in-depth sections on: • identification• distribution• migration behavior• habitat• population status• breeding biology• rearing of young• recruitment and survival• food habits and feeding ecology • molts and plumages• conservation and management
     To facilitate identification, the species accounts also include detailed illustrations of wings. An appendix contains comparative illustrations of ducklings, goslings, and cygnets.
     This edition of Ducks, Geese, and Swans consists of two volumes, printed in full color, and packaged in a slipcase, along with a CD containing references and additional maps. 
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in the waterfowl of North America.



4) Sibley, David Allen. The Sibley Guide to Birds: Second Edition. 2014. Knopf. Flexibound: 598 pages. Price: $40.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The publication of The Sibley Guide to Birds in 2000 quickly established David Allen Sibley as the author and illustrator of the nation’s supreme and most comprehensive guide to birds. Used by millions of birders from novices to the most expert, The Sibley Guide became the standard by which natural history guides are measured. The highly anticipated second edition builds on this foundation of excellence, offering massively expanded and updated information, new paintings, new and rare species, and a new, elegant design.
      The second edition offers a wealth of improvements and updates:
• All illustrations reproduced 15 to 20 percent larger for better detail.
• Includes nearly 7,000 paintings digitally remastered from original art for enhanced print quality.
• Expanded text includes habitat information and voice description for every species and more tips on finding birds in the field.
• More than 600 new paintings, including illustrations of 115 rare species and additional paintings of common species and regional populations.
• More than 700 updated maps of ranges, showing winter, summer, year-round, migration, and rare ranges.
• 85 bird family pages now cross-referenced to species accounts.
• Revised taxonomic order and most current common names for every species.
      The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition, brings the genius of David Allen Sibley to the world once again in a thoroughly updated and expanded volume that every birder must own. 
 
RECOMMENDATION: Now that the color and font problems from the first printing have been corrected in the second printing, I can now endorse this book!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Title



1) Davis, Kate. American Kestrel: Pint-Sized Predator. 2014. Mountain Press. Paperback: 104 pages. Price: $18.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Colorful, noisy, and brash, the American Kestrel is the most endearing of North America’s raptors. With its vivid rufous and blue-gray plumage, peppered with dashes of black and white, this bird of prey is instantly recognizable to both novice and expert bird watchers, whether it’s diving for an insect on the wing or hovering over an open field while hunting for mice. The American Kestrel’s distinctive call, readily heard from miles away, is another identifier that makes this predator more noticeable than others. There’s no mistaking its klee, klee, klee, from which it received the nickname “killy hawk.”
     In American Kestrel: Pint-sized Predator, part natural history, part photographic exploration, renowned bird expert and master educator Kate Davis delves into the world of the American Kestrel, inviting you into the safe confines of its cavity nest and favored habitats. You’ll learn about the American Kestrel’s hunting tactics and prey, breeding strategies, migration paths and patterns, and the kestrel’s current status—their numbers are declining, and nobody’s quite sure why. Davis enthusiastically imparts the wisdom she has gained through extensive research and firsthand experience. One hundred astonishing photos shot by Davis and award-winning photographer Rob Palmer illustrate in full-color glory the story Davis deftly weaves. 
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to the species.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

New Title


1) Eberth, David A. and David C. Evans (editors). Hadrosaurs. Indiana University Press. 2014. Hardbound: 623 pages. Price: $95.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Hadrosaurs—also known as duck-billed dinosaurs—are abundant in the fossil record. With their unique complex jaws and teeth perfectly suited to shred and chew plants, they flourished on Earth in remarkable diversity during the Late Cretaceous. So ubiquitous are their remains that we have learned more about dinosaurian paleobiology and paleoecology from hadrosaurs than we have from any other group. In recent years, hadrosaurs have been in the spotlight. Researchers around the world have been studying new specimens and new taxa seeking to expand and clarify our knowledge of these marvelous beasts. This volume presents the results of an international symposium on hadrosaurs, sponsored by the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the Royal Ontario Museum, where scientists and students gathered to share their research and their passion for duck-billed dinosaurs. A uniquely comprehensive treatment of hadrosaurs, the book encompasses not only the well-known hadrosaurids proper, but also Hadrosaouroidea, allowing the former group to be evaluated in a broader perspective. The 36 chapters are divided into six sections—an overview, new insights into hadrosaur origins, hadrosaurid anatomy and variation, biogeography and biostratigraphy, function and growth, and preservation, tracks, and traces—followed by an afterword by Jack Horner. 
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in these dinosaurs.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New Title


1) Emlen, Douglas J.. Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle. 2014. Henry Holt. Hardbound: 271 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The story behind the stunning, extreme weapons we see in the animal world--teeth and horns and claws--and what they can tell us about the way humans develop and use arms and other weapons
     In Animal Weapons, Doug Emlen takes us outside the lab and deep into the forests and jungles where he’s been studying animal weapons in nature for years, to explain the processes behind the most intriguing and curious examples of extreme animal weapons—fish with mouths larger than their bodies and bugs whose heads are so packed with muscle they don’t have room for eyes. As singular and strange as some of the weapons we encounter on these pages are, we learn that similar factors set their evolution in motion. Emlen uses these patterns to draw parallels to the way we humans develop and employ our own weapons, and have since battle began. He looks at everything from our armor and camouflage to the evolution of the rifle and the structures human populations have built across different regions and eras to protect their homes and communities. With stunning black and white drawings and gorgeous color illustrations of these concepts at work, Animal Weapons brings us the complete story of how weapons reach their most outsized, dramatic potential, and what the results we witness in the animal world can tell us about our own relationship with weapons of all kinds.  
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting take on this aspect of animal evolution and how it relates to Human warfare.

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Titles



1) Garrigues, Richard. The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide (Second Edition). 2014. Cornell University Press. Paperback: 426 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This is the one compact, portable, and user-friendly field guide the novice or experienced birder needs to identify birds in the field in the diverse habitats found in Costa Rica. It features descriptions and illustrations of all 903 species definitely known from Costa Rica, including pelagics and species regular to Cocos Island. Fifty-six of these species are placed in a "Rarities" section that includes accidentals, rarer pelagics, and species that have not been reported in more than twenty years.
     The detailed full-color illustrations show identifying features—including plumage differences among males, females, and juveniles—and views of birds in flight wherever pertinent. Robert Dean has supplied more than 360 new illustrations, including sixty-four species that are illustrated for the first time in this edition. These include recent additions to the country list, pelagic species, Cocos Island species, and all accidentals recorded from the Costa Rican mainland. Range maps and nomenclature have been updated for this edition, which also has a new user-friendly organizational scheme and an alphabetical quick-find index of groups on the inside back cover. 
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in the birds of Costa Rica!







2) Witze, Alexandra and Jeff Kanipe. Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano That Changed the World. 2014. Pegasus Books. Hardbound: 224 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Can a single explosion change the course of history? An eruption at the end of the 18th century led to years of climate change while igniting famine, disease, even perhaps revolution. Laki is one of Iceland’s most fearsome volcanoes.
     Laki is Iceland’s largest volcano. Its eruption in 1783 is one of history’s great, untold natural disasters. Spewing out sun-blocking ash and then a poisonous fog for eight long months, the effects of the eruption lingered across the world for years.  It caused the deaths of people as far away as the Nile and created catastrophic conditions throughout Europe. Island on Fire is the story not only of a single eruption but the people whose lives it changed, the dawn of modern volcanology, as well as the history—and potential—of other super-volcanoes like Laki around the world. And perhaps most pertinently, in the wake of the eruption of another Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, which closed European air space in 2010, acclaimed science writers Witze and Kanipe look at what might transpire should Laki erupt again in our lifetime.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in history and/or geology.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Weekly Birdbooker Report


                                            Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-348/

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Title


1) Tunnell Jr., John W. et al.. Texas Seashells: A Field Guide. 2014. Texas A&M University Press. Flexibound: 278 pages. Price: $25.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Walking along the beach and picking up seashells is a favorite pastime enjoyed by millions of people every year. This field guide covers three hundred of the better-known or more common seashells found on Texas coastlines, and anyone interested in identifying and collecting shells along Texas bays and Gulf coast beaches will find Texas Seashells an essential companion. With more than 600 detailed and data-rich color photographs, each species with at least two views, Texas Seashells is sure to make shell identification fun, quick, and easy. Those new to collecting can get started with the introductory chapters on building your shell collection, local laws and regulations protecting this resource, seashell clubs, adopting a “Sheller’s Creed,” and basic seashell taxonomy. A glossary is also included for technical terms not defined in the text.
     Although this field guide is for seashells found along the Texas coast, it will also be useful in other regions of the Gulf of Mexico and  western Atlantic Ocean.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in the seashells of the region.

New Titles



1) Eldredge, Niles and Sidney Horenstein. Concrete Jungle: New York City and Our Last Best Hope for a Sustainable Future. 2014. University of California Press. Hardbound: 276 pages. Price: $34.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: If they are to survive, cities need healthy chunks of the world’s ecosystems to persist; yet cities, like parasites, grow and prosper by local destruction of these very ecosystems. In this absorbing and wide-ranging book, Eldredge and Horenstein use New York City as a microcosm to explore both the positive and the negative sides of the relationship between cities, the environment, and the future of global biodiversity. They illuminate the mass of contradictions that cities present in embodying the best and the worst of human existence. The authors demonstrate that, though cities have voracious appetites for resources such as food and water, they also represent the last hope for conserving healthy remnants of the world’s ecosystems and species. With their concentration of human beings, cities bring together centers of learning, research, government, finance, and media—institutions that increasingly play active roles in solving environmental problems. 
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in urban ecology.


2) Thewissen, J.G.M. "Hans". The Walking Whales: From Land to Water in Eight Million Years. 2014. University of California Press. Hardbound: 245 pages. Price: $34.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Hans Thewissen, a leading researcher in the field of whale paleontology and anatomy, gives a sweeping first-person account of the discoveries that brought to light the early fossil record of whales. As evidenced in the record, whales evolved from herbivorous forest-dwelling ancestors that resembled tiny deer to carnivorous monsters stalking lakes and rivers and to serpentlike denizens of the coast.
     Thewissen reports on his discoveries in the wilds of India and Pakistan, weaving a narrative that reveals the day-to-day adventures of fossil collection, enriching it with local flavors from South Asian culture and society. The reader senses the excitement of the digs as well as the rigors faced by scientific researchers, for whom each new insight gives rise to even more questions, and for whom at times the logistics of just staying alive may trump all science.
     In his search for an understanding of how modern whales live their lives, Thewissen also journeys to Japan and Alaska to study whales and wild dolphins. He finds answers to his questions about fossils by studying the anatomy of otters and porpoises and examining whale embryos under the microscope. In the book's final chapter, Thewissen argues for approaching whale evolution with the most powerful tools we have and for combining all the fields of science in pursuit of knowledge.  
 RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical or semi-technical interest in whale evolution.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                              Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman


My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-346-7/

Friday, November 14, 2014

New Title



1) Nye, Bill. Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. 2014. St. Martin's Press. Hardbound: 309 pages. Price: $25.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Sparked by a controversial debate in February 2014, Bill Nye has set off on an energetic campaign to spread awareness of evolution and the powerful way it shapes our lives. In Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, he explains why race does not really exist; evaluates the true promise and peril of genetically modified food; reveals how new species are born, in a dog kennel and in a London subway; takes a stroll through 4.5 billion years of time; and explores the new search for alien life, including aliens right here on Earth.
     With infectious enthusiasm, Bill Nye shows that evolution is much more than a rebuttal to creationism; it is an essential way to understand how nature works—and to change the world. It might also help you get a date on a Saturday night. 
RECOMMENDATION: A readable introduction to the subject by someone taking heat for being on the front lines of this controversy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Title


1) Pratchett, Terry. The Compleat Ankh-Morpork. 2012. Doubleday. Hardbound: 128 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A brand-new street directory of Discworld city Ankh-Morpork complete with a beautifully illustrated pull-out map.
     'There's a saying that all roads lead to Ankh-Morpork. And it's wrong. All roads lead away from Ankh-Morpork, but sometimes people just walk along the wrong way.'
      Ankh-Morpork! City of One Thousand Surprises (according to the famous publication by the Guild of Merchants)! All human life is here! Although, if it walks down the wrong alley, often quite briefly!
      This is the city celebrated in Terry Pratchett's bestselling Discworld series as you've never seen it before. A stunning map and comprehensive street directory covering each and every district from Unseen University to the Shades, major landmarks like the Patrician's Palace to little-known, er, nooks like Dwarf Bread Museum in Whirligig Alley. See the notorious establishments and famous streets along which so many heroes have walked, in some cases quite hurriedly. As leading Ankh-Morpork entrepreneur CMOT Dibbler would say, 'A nip at any price -- and that's cutting our own throat. Well, close.'  
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for Discworld fans!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                             Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman


My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-345/

Friday, October 31, 2014

Update


UPDATE:  I have seen the second printing of this book and it looks like the color and font problems have been solved! So I can now endorse this book.

1) Sibley, David Allen. The Sibley Guide to Birds: Second Edition. 2014. Knopf. Flexibound: 598 pages. Price: $40.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The publication of The Sibley Guide to Birds in 2000 quickly established David Allen Sibley as the author and illustrator of the nation’s supreme and most comprehensive guide to birds. Used by millions of birders from novices to the most expert, The Sibley Guide became the standard by which natural history guides are measured. The highly anticipated second edition builds on this foundation of excellence, offering massively expanded and updated information, new paintings, new and rare species, and a new, elegant design.
      The second edition offers a wealth of improvements and updates:
• All illustrations reproduced 15 to 20 percent larger for better detail.
• Includes nearly 7,000 paintings digitally remastered from original art for enhanced print quality.
• Expanded text includes habitat information and voice description for every species and more tips on finding birds in the field.
• More than 600 new paintings, including illustrations of 115 rare species and additional paintings of common species and regional populations.
• More than 700 updated maps of ranges, showing winter, summer, year-round, migration, and rare ranges.
• 85 bird family pages now cross-referenced to species accounts.
• Revised taxonomic order and most current common names for every species.
      The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition, brings the genius of David Allen Sibley to the world once again in a thoroughly updated and expanded volume that every birder must own.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Title


1) Danielson, Olaf. Boobies, Peckers and Tits: One Man's Naked Perspective. 2014. Cable Publishing. Paperback: 320 pages. Price: $18.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Boobies, Peckers & Tits: One Man’s Naked Perspective documents Olaf’s epic quest, which combined seeing as many species of birds In one year…while he was nude.
     Called “wickedly extraordinary,” the never-to-be-forgotten tales range from being shot at in Texas to a heart-stopping chase by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone, all while trying his best to avoid arrest. Described by Olaf as containing “rampant nudity,” Boobies, Peckers & Tits as also a story filled with a love and respect for nature and family as well as the realization that, with the passing of each day, now is the time to start that life quest. 
RECOMMENDATION: An unusual tale of an unusual big year!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Title


1) Fisher, Celia. The Magic of Birds. 2014. British Library. Hardbound: 160 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Of all the animals with which we share the planet, few have captured people’s imaginations as thoroughly, or enchantingly, as birds. Symbols of freedom but also of captivity, good fortune but also ill omen, the human spirit and the unknowable animal—birds have delighted and haunted us for millennia.
     The Magic of Birds brings that fascination to the printed page. A marvelous mix of words and images, it carries readers around the globe, from the myths of ancient Egypt to the Finnish epic The Kalevala, to find the tracks of birds in art and literature. We see birds peeking out of illuminated medieval manuscripts, swooping across antique maps, and preening in natural history paintings. Alongside, Celia Fisher offers a dazzling cultural history of birds, tracing their presence, as animals and symbols, in the literature, art, and religion of Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas.
      A truly stunning volume, worthy of our eternal love affair with birds, The Magic of Birds is the perfect book to set beside your birdseed and binoculars. 
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to the relationships between birds and Humans.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                      Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman


My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-344/

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New Title


1) Beolens, Bo, Michael Watkins, Michael Grayson. The Eponym Dictionary of Birds. 2014. Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 624 pages. Price: $86.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Birdwatchers often come across bird names that include a person's name, either in the vernacular (English) name or latinised in the scientific nomenclature. Such names are properly called eponyms, and few people will not have been curious as to who some of these people were (or are).
     Names such as Darwin, Wallace, Audubon, Gould and (Gilbert) White are well known to most people. Keener birders will have yearned to see Pallas's Warbler, Hume's Owl, Swainson's Thrush, Steller's Eider or Brünnich's Guillemot. But few people today will have even heard of Albertina's Myna, Barraband's Parrot, Guerin's Helmetcrest or Savigny's Eagle Owl. This extraordinary new work lists more than 4,000 eponymous names covering 10,000 genera, species and subspecies of birds. Every taxon with an eponymous vernacular or scientific name (whether in current usage or not) is listed, followed by a concise biography of the person concerned. These entries vary in length from a few lines to several paragraphs, depending on the availability of information or the importance of the individual's legacy. The text is punctuated with intriguing or little-known facts, unearthed in the course of the authors' extensive research.
     Ornithologists will find this an invaluable reference, especially to sort out birds named after people with identical surnames or in situations where only a person's forenames are used. But all birders will find much of interest in this fascinating volume, a book to dip into time and time again whenever their curiosity is aroused. 
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in ornithological etymology.

New Titles



1) Campbell, Iain, Sam Woods and Nick Leseberg. Birds of Australia: A Photographic Guide. 2014. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 391 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Australia is home to a spectacular diversity of birdlife, from parrots and penguins to emus and vibrant passerines. Birds of Australia covers all 714 species of resident birds and regularly occurring migrants and features more than 1,100 stunning color photographs, including many photos of subspecies and plumage variations never before seen in a field guide. Detailed facing-page species accounts describe key identification features such as size, plumage, distribution, behavior, and voice. This one-of-a-kind guide also provides extensive habitat descriptions with a large number of accompanying photos. The text relies on the very latest IOC taxonomy and the distribution maps incorporate the most current mapping data, making this the most up-to-date guide to Australian birds.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in the birds of Australia.


2) Bach, Richard. Jonathan Livingston Seagull: The Complete Edition. 2014. Scribner. Paperback: 133 pages. Price: $12.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The new complete edition of a timeless classic that includes the never-before-published Part Four and Last Words by Richard Bach.
      This is the story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules…people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves…people who know there’s more to this living than meets the eye: they’ll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than they ever dreamed.
      A pioneering work that wed graphics with words, Jonathan Livingston Seagull now enjoys a whole new life.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the book can now read the final Part Four.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Title



1) Quammen, David. Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus. 2014. W.W. Norton. Paperback: 122 pages. Price: $13.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In 1976 a deadly virus emerged from the Congo forest. As swiftly as it came, it disappeared, leaving no trace. Over the four decades since, Ebola has emerged sporadically, each time to devastating effect. It can kill up to 90 percent of its victims. In between these outbreaks, it is untraceable, hiding deep in the jungle. The search is on to find Ebola’s elusive host animal. And until we find it, Ebola will continue to strike. Acclaimed science writer and explorer David Quammen first came near the virus while he was traveling in the jungles of Gabon, accompanied by local men whose village had been devastated by a recent outbreak. Here he tells the story of Ebola—its past, present, and its unknowable future.
     Extracted from Spillover by David Quammen, updated and with additional material. 
RECOMMENDATION: A quick introduction on a topic that's in the headlines.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                          Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman


My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-343/

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Featured Title





1) Ceballos, Gerardo (editor). Mammals of Mexico. 2014. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 957 pages. Price: $150.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Mammals of Mexico is the first reference book in English on the more than 500 types of mammal species found in the diverse Mexican habitats, which range from the Sonoran Desert to the Chiapas cloud forests. The authoritative species accounts are written by a Who’s Who of experts compiled by famed mammalogist and conservationist Gerardo Ceballos.
     Ten years in the making, Mammals of Mexico covers everything from obscure rodents to whales, bats, primates, and wolves. It is thoroughly illustrated with color photographs and meticulous artistic renderings, as well as range maps for each species. Introductory chapters discuss biogeography, conservation, and evolution. The final section of the book illustrates the skulls, jaws, and tracks of Mexico’s mammals.
     This unparalleled collection of scientific information on, and photographs of, Mexican wildlife belongs on the shelf of every mammalogist, in public and academic libraries, and in the hands of anyone curious about Mexico and its wildlife. 
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in the mammals of Mexico!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New Titles


1) Doyle, Brian. Children and Other Wild Animals. 2014. OSU Press. Paperback: 163 pages. Price: $18.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In Children and Other Wild Animals, bestselling novelist Brian Doyle (Mink River, The Plover) describes encounters with astounding beings of every sort and shape. These true tales of animals and human mammals (generally the smaller sizes, but here and there elders and jumbos) delightfully blur the line between the two.
     In these short vignettes, Doyle explores the seethe of life on this startling planet, the astonishing variety of our riveting companions, and the joys available to us when we pause, see, savor, and celebrate the small things that are not small in the least.
     Doyle’s trademark quirky prose is at once lyrical, daring, and refreshing; his essays are poignant but not pap, sharp but not sermons, and revelatory at every turn. Throughout there is humor and humility and a palpable sense of wonder, with passages of reflection so true and hard earned they make you stop and reread a line, a paragraph, a page.
     Children and Other Wild Animals gathers previously unpublished work with selections that have appeared in Orion, The Sun, Utne Reader, High Country News, and The American Scholar, as well as Best American Essays (“The Greatest Nature Essay Ever”) and Best American Nature and Science Writing (“Fishering”). 
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of Doyle's other writings should enjoy this book.










2) Russell, Sharman Apt. Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World. 2014. OSU Press. Paperback: 222 pages. Price: $18.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In the exploding world of citizen science, hundreds of thousands of volunteers are monitoring climate change, tracking bird migration, finding stardust for NASA, and excavating mastodons. The sheer number of citizen scientists, combined with new technology, has begun to shape how research is conducted. Non-professionals become acknowledged experts: dentists turn into astronomers and accountants into botanists.
     Diary of a Citizen Scientist
is a timely exploration of this phenomenon, told through the lens of nature writer Sharman Apt Russell’s yearlong study of a little-known species, the Western red-bellied tiger beetle. In a voice both humorous and lyrical, Russell recounts her persistent and joyful tracking of an insect she calls “charismatic,” “elegant,” and “fierce.” Patrolling the Gila River in southwestern New Mexico, collector’s net in hand, she negotiates the realities of climate change even as she celebrates the beauty of a still-wild and rural landscape.
     Russell’s self-awareness—of her occasionally-misplaced confidence, her quest to fill in “that blank spot on the map of tiger beetles,” and her desire to become newly engaged in her life—creates a portrait not only of the tiger beetle she tracks, but of the mindset behind self-driven scientific inquiry. Falling in love with the diversity of citizen science, she participates in crowdsourcing programs that range from cataloging galaxies to monitoring the phenology of native plants, applauds the growing role of citizen science in environmental activism, and marvels at the profusion of projects around the world.
     Diary of a Citizen Scientist
offers its readers a glimpse into the transformative properties of citizen science—and documents the transformation of the field as a whole. 
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting take on citizen science projects.

Monday, October 13, 2014

New Title



1) Alderfer, Jonathan (editor). National Geographic Complete Birds of North America, 2nd Edition. 2014. National Geographic Society. Hardbound: 744 pages. Price: $40.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Essential, comprehensive, and easy to use, the revised edition of National Geographic Complete Birds of North America is an astonishing resource that covers every bird species found in North America as well as all the seasonal visitors. Entries are organized by family group, the taxonomic organization newly updated to match current American Ornithologists' Union guidelines. Within a family, each separate bird entry has dozens of tips and illustrations on species' gender, age group, behavior, habitat, nesting and feeding habits, and migration routes. Providing full information on more than 1,000 species, this book features hundreds of range and migration maps, cutting-edge information on identification, and more than 4,000 annotated illustrations by expert bird artists. 
RECOMMENDATION: This book is a useful supplement to the National Geographic field guide.

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                           Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman


My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-342/

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Featured Title


1) Pratt, Thane K. & Bruce M. Beehler. Birds of New Guinea: Second Edition. 2014. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 528 pages. Price: $49.50 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This is the completely revised edition of the essential field guide to the birds of New Guinea. The world’s largest tropical island, New Guinea boasts a spectacular avifauna characterized by cassowaries, megapodes, pigeons, parrots, cuckoos, kingfishers, and owlet-nightjars, as well as an exceptionally diverse assemblage of songbirds such as the iconic birds of paradise and bowerbirds. Birds of New Guinea is the only guide to cover all 780 bird species reported in the area, including 366 endemics. Expanding its coverage with 111 vibrant color plates—twice as many as the first edition—and the addition of 635 range maps, the book also contains updated species accounts with new information about identification, voice, habits, and range. A must-have for everyone from ecotourists to field researchers, Birds of New Guinea remains an indispensable guide to the diverse birds of this remarkable region. 
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for birders with an interest in the region!

New Title


1) O'Connor, George. Olympians Boxed Set. 2014. First Second. 6 paperback volumes in boxed set. Price: $59.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: By Zeus, it's Athena, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Aphrodite!
     This sturdy boxed set includes paperback editions of the first six Olympians books by multiple New York Times–bestselling author/illustrator George O'Connor.
     Holy Hera, it's got a free poster!
     Collectors will adore this package, with lots of new artwork and the complete Olympians family tree on the free poster. Plus, the boxed set is also a great way for classrooms to get all six books at once.
     Aphrodite Almighty, what a value!
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the series should enjoy this boxed set!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

New Title



1) Orenstein, Ronald and Michael and Patricia Fogden. Hummingbirds. 2014. Firefly. Hardbound: 256 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The tiny hummingbird has long been a source of fascination for birdwatchers and naturalists alike. They number 300 species and Ronald Orenstein has a passion for all of them.
     Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world. A hummingbird egg is the size of a pea, barely, and the chick that emerges will be smaller than a penny, if that. But these tiny birds pack a powerful engine: a hummingbird's heart beats more than 1,200 times per minute.
     Nicknamed the "avian helicopter", a hummingbird's wings beat from 70 times per second in direct flight, to more than 200 times per second when diving. Not surprisingly, that whirlwind of wing power creates a humming sound. To fuel such energy, hummingbirds must eat as much as eight times their body weight on a daily basis, which means visiting an average of 1,000 flowers -- every day -- to get enough nectar.  
     Hummingbirds are found in North and South America, with the greatest number in Ecuador, although some species breed as far north as Canada. Most species migrate from Mexico to Alaska, a distance of more than 5,000 miles.
     In this book Orenstein covers all aspects of hummingbird natural history, their relationship with the plants on which they feed, the miracle of their flight, their elaborate social life and nesting behavior, and their renowned feats of migration.
     More than 170 color photographs of these magnificent creatures, taken in the wild, adorn the pages of Hummingbirds. Birders and natural history readers alike will gain new insight into the tiny bird and revel in the stunning images. 
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to hummingbirds.

Monday, October 6, 2014

New Title


1) Borrow, Nik and Ron Demey. Birds of Western Africa: Second Edition. 2014. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 592 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This revised and expanded edition of Birds of Western Africa is now the most up-to-date field guide available to the 1,285 species of birds found in the region—from Senegal and southern Mauritania east to Chad and the Central African Republic and south to Congo. It now features all maps and text opposite the plates for quick and easy reference. The comprehensive species accounts have been fully updated and expanded, and the color distribution maps have been completely revised. This premier guide also includes more than 3,000 illustrations on 266 stunning color plates.
     Compact and lightweight, this new edition of Birds of Western Africa is the must-have field guide to one of the most exciting birding regions in the world. 
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for birders to/from the region.

The Weekly Birdbooker Report


                                            Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-341/

Thursday, October 2, 2014

New Titles



1) Nichols, Wallace J., Brad Nahill, and Melissa Gaskill. A Worldwide Travel Guide to Sea Turtles. 2014. Texas A&M University Press. Flexibound: 221 pages. Price: $25.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Sea turtle populations around the world are endangered, and in recent years tourism has been a critical element in worldwide efforts to save them. More travelers seek meaningful experiences that bring them close to nature and wildlife, and opportunities to interact with and help sea turtles now exist at locations around the globe, from remote beaches to urban labs.
     In A Worldwide Travel Guide to Sea Turtles, a scientist, a conservationist, and a journalist have come together to provide a guide to the places where people can view sea turtles and participate in authentic conservation projects.
     Covering five continents and including the South Pacific and Caribbean, the authors direct readers to the parks, reserves, and research sites where they can responsibly observe turtles in the wild, especially nesting beaches where people can see female sea turtles lay eggs and hatchlings make their harrowing journey from nest to sea. Options for on-site lodging and other amenities are included, if available, as well as details of other nearby attractions that travelers may wish to include in their itineraries.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for sea turtle fans!




2) Pratchett, Terry. A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction. 2014. Doubleday. Hardbound: 307 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A Slip of the Keyboard is the first collection of Pratchett’s nonfiction work, and it brings together the finest examples of his extraordinary wit and his persuasive prose. Whether in short opinion pieces (on death and taxes), or in long essays, speeches, and interviews (covering a range of topics from mushrooms to orangutans), this collection is a fascinating look inside an extraordinary writer’s mind. It includes his remarks at science-fiction and fantasy conventions, his thoughts on the importance of banana daiquiris on book tours, his observations on fan mail, and his belief that an author is obligated to sign anything a fan puts in front of him (especially if it is very sharp). He also writes about the books that shaped his love of language and legends, not to mention his entrance into science-fiction fandom when he attended his first sci-fi convention as a teenager.
     Filled with all the humor and humanity that have made his novels so enduringly popular, this collection brings Pratchett out from behind the scenes of Discworld to speak for himself—man and boy, bibliophile and computer geek; a champion of hats, orangutans, and Dignity in Dying.
     With a foreword by Pratchett’s close friend and Good Omens coauthor Neil Gaiman to lead off, A Slip of the Keyboard is a must-have for any Pratchett fan.
RECOMMENDATION: As it says above, this book is a must have for Terry Pratchett fans!