Monday, January 27, 2014

New Title

 
1) Flannery, Tim. An Explorer's Notebook. 2014. Atlantic Monthly Press. Hardbound: 321 pages. Price: $26.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Best known today for The Weather Makers, his #1 international bestseller, Tim Flannery is one of the world’s most influential scientists, a foremost expert on climate change credited with discovering more species than Charles Darwin. But Flannery didn’t come to his knowledge overnight. With its selection of exhilarating essays and articles written over the past twenty-five years, An Explorer’s Notebook charts the evolution of a young scientist doing fieldwork in remote locations to the major thinker who has changed the way we understand global warming.
      In over thirty pieces, Flannery writes about his journeys in the jungles of New Guinea and Indonesia and about the extraordinary people he met and the species he discovered. He writes about matters as wide-ranging as love, insects, population, water, and the stresses we put on the environment. He shows us how we can better predict our future by understanding the profound history of life on Earth. And he chronicles the seismic shift in the world’s attitude toward climate change. An Explorer’s Notebook is classic Flannery—wide-ranging, eye-opening science, conveyed with richly detailed storytelling.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the author's other writings should enjoy this book.
 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Featured Title

 
1) Mikkola, Heimo. Owls of the World: A Photographic Guide (Second Edition). 2014. Firefly Books. Hardbound: 528 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Owls of the World, second edition, is the ultimate photographic resource dedicated to the identification of these charismatic birds of prey. The new edition is packed with spectacular photography of 268 species of owls from all over the world -- 19 more species than the original book. Many of the photos are of highly elusive species that are very rarely caught on camera.
      The photos are accompanied by detailed text describing:
  • Identification notes
  • Habitat
  • Population status
  • Voice
  • Food
  • Distribution
  • Accurate range maps
  • Similar species.
     The photographic coverage includes plumages and subspecies which promotes differentiation between species, making this the definitive work on owl identification. Similar-looking ("confusion") species are included and owls are shown as adults from a perspective that clearly shows markings that assist in identification.
     For birders, naturalists, photographers, researchers and any fan of these birds, Owls of the World is the definitive work on species identification as well as a comprehensive encyclopedia for reference and reading.
RECOMMENDATION: The page count has increased from 512 to 528. As with the first edition, the taxonomy in this book basically follows Owls of the World (2nd edition) by Konig et al. (2008). That book is prone to splitting up species (e.g. the Barn Owl, Tyto alba) into separate species. This taxonomy is at odds with other published sources. Also, some of the range maps of North American species still need to be reworked. I still recommend this book for those with a serious interest in owls.
 
 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Title

 
1) Toms, Mike. Owls. William Collins. Paperback: 419 pages. Price: £35.00 (about $34.36 U.S.).
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Owls have been a source of inspiration to writers, artists, historians and naturalists alike. In a much-anticipated volume on one of Britain’s most fascinating group of birds, Mike   Toms draws on a wealth of experience and research, providing a comprehensive natural history of British owls.
      The first part of the book covers various aspects of owl taxonomy, origins, anatomy, behaviour and ecology and looks across the British owl species, drawing comparisons and highlighting differences. The second part takes each species in turn to provide a more detailed perspective, fleshing out relevant conservation issues, behaviour and status.
      Toms explores Britain’s beloved Barn Owl, Tawny Owl and Snowy Owl amongst several others. He uses the vast database and latest research from his work with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to focus particularly on the specifics of owls’ breeding ecology, their dispersal patterns, diet, vocalisations, description, population changes and mortality. He addresses conservation issues, changes in legislation and potential changes in the status of one of Britain’s most iconic birds, providing a fascinating overview of the biology and history of British owls.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in British owls or collect the New Naturalist series.
 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New Title


1) Adams, R.J. and Tim D. Manolis. Field Guide to the Spiders of California and the Pacific Coast States. 2014. University of California Press. Paperback: 305 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: With over 40,000 described species, spiders have adapted to nearly every terrestrial environment across the globe. Over half of the world’s spider families live within the three contiguous Pacific Coast states—not surprising considering the wide variety of habitats, from mountain meadows and desert dunes to redwood forests and massive urban centers. This beautifully illustrated, accessible guide covers all of the families and many of the genera found along the Pacific Coast, including introduced species and common garden spiders. The author provides readers with tools for identifying many of the region’s spiders to family, and when possible, genus and species. He discusses taxonomy, distribution, and natural history as well as what is known of the habits of the spiders, the characters of families, and references to taxonomic revisions of the pertinent genera. Full-color plates for each family bring to life the incredible diversity of this ancient arachnid order.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in West Coast spiders.
 

Monday, January 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-304/

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Title

 
1) Donald, Paul F. et al.. Facing Extinction: The world's rarest birds and the race to save them (2nd edition). 2013. Bloomsbury/Helm. Paperback: 320 pages. Price: $42.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Almost two hundred species of birds have become extinct in the past 400 years, and a similar number today are in imminent danger of following them. The world's conservationists are leading the fight to prevent the demise of these remaining critically endangered birds, with a fair degree of success. This new book examines the process and issues concerning extinction - how and why it happens and what can be done about it. Whilst man is to blame for many of the causes, such as persecution and habitat loss, species have become extinct on a regular basis since life began. After several thought-provoking introductory chapters, the book showcases about 20 species on the brink of extinction from around the world and describes the work that is being undertaken to save them. Some are success stories, but a few are not. This is a subject close to the hearts of all birders and ornithologists and this book, written by a team of leading conservationists, will strike a chord in most of them.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in avian conservation.
 
 

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Title




1) Gil, Diego and Henrik Brumm. Avian Urban Ecology. 2014. Oxford University Press. Paperback: 217 pages. Price: $62.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: As natural habitat continues to be lost and the world steadily becomes more urbanized, biologists are increasingly studying the effect this has on wildlife. Birds are particularly good model systems since their life history, behaviour, and physiology are especially influenced by directly measurable environmental factors such as light and sound pollution. It is therefore relatively easy to compare urban individuals and populations with their rural counterparts. This accessible text focuses on the behavioural and physiological mechanisms which facilitate adaptation and on the evolutionary process that ensues. It discusses topics such as acoustics, reproductive cues, disease, and artificial feeding, and includes a series of case studies illustrating cutting edge research on these areas.
      Avian Urban Ecology is suitable for professional avian biologists and ornithologists as well as graduate students of avian ecology, evolution, and conservation. It will also be of relevance and use to a more general audience of urban ecologists and conservation biologists.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in the subject.
 

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                                Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-303/

Friday, January 10, 2014

New Title

 
1) Greenway, Alice. The Bird Skinner. 2014. Atlantic Monthly Press. Hardbound: 312 pages. Price: $25.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Alice Greenway’s new novel is a stunning successor to her Los Angeles Times Book Prize–winning debut about two young sisters growing up in the shadow of the Vietnam War. Inspired by the career of her grandfather—noted ornithologist James C. Greenway Jr.—The Bird Skinner is a wide-ranging story of lost love and rebirth, set on islands in Maine and the Solomons.
      Jim Kennoway was once an esteemed member of the ornithology department at the Museum of Natural History in New York, collecting and skinning birds as specimens. Slowing down from a hard-lived life and a recent leg amputation, Jim retreats to an island in Maine: to drink, smoke, and to be left alone. As a young man he worked for Naval Intelligence during World War II in the Solomon Islands. While spying on Japanese shipping from behind enemy lines, Jim befriended Tosca, a young islander who worked with him as a scout. Now, thirty years later, Tosca has sent his daughter Cadillac to stay with Jim in the weeks before she begins premedical studies at Yale. She arrives to Jim’s consternation, yet she will capture his heart and the hearts of everyone she meets, irrevocably changing their lives.
      Written in lush, lyrical prose—rich in island detail, redolent of Maine in summer and of the Pacific—The Bird Skinner is wise and wrenching, an unforgettable masterwork from an extraordinarily skillful novelist.
RECOMMENDATION: For those that like ornithologically themed fiction.
 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Title

 
1) de Queiroz, Alan. The Monkey's Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life. 2014. Basic Books. Hardbound: 360 pages. Price: $27.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: How did related species wind up on lands separated by vast oceans? Scientists have long conjectured that plants and animals were scattered over the globe as passengers on drifting continents, but in The Monkey’s Voyage, biologist Alan de Queiroz shows that the latest evidence points to a more mysterious explanation. He describes how species as diverse as monkeys, frogs, and baobab trees made incredible long-distance ocean journeys: animals swam or rode natural rafts, seeds were carried on storm winds or in the plumage of seabirds, creating the map of life as we know it. Like Basin and Range and The Song of the Dodo, The Monkey’s Voyage combines lyrical prose with a profound exploration of deep history and the nature of scientific discovery.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in biogeography.


Monday, January 6, 2014

New Title



1) White, Clayton M., Tom J. Cade and James H. Enderson. Peregrine Falcons of the World. 2013. Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 379 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S. (plus shipping).
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Perhaps beginning near the end of the Pleistocene, Peregrines began to acquire a vast cosmopolitan distribution, and set the stage for fascinating structural, behavioral, and population distinctions related to where they lived. Those divergences were driven by the various demands of landscapes as different as one can find on earth, including Greenland tundra, South Pacific islands, Utah arid scrublands, the cold wind-swept Aleutians, and warm, moist Indonesian forests. Modern Peregrines reveal that geographic isolation may befall even a creature renowned for great speed and mobility.
      Peregrine Falcons of the World brings together the lifetime experiences of the authors with this splendid falcon in the field and in museums, hundreds of personal accounts by Peregrine observers worldwide, a vast literature on this falcon which is surely among the best-studied birds, scores of superb photographic images so generously supplied, and the matchless art of Andrew Ellis. The goal is to provide a feel for how Peregrines have responded to their varied world, and to earmark the many gaps in what we know. Oddly, Peregrines have not colonized many places, where by any reckoning, they should be.
      In recent times, roughly twenty subspecies of Peregrines were described. The historical reasons for these designations, and our current analyses are provided here. Some populations are very distinct in form and color, but sometimes they geographically overlap and intergrades appear. Each subspecies account also describes distribution, hunting and nesting habitats, migration and wintering ranges, estimated population sizes, and conservation aspects.
      In the end, present day Peregrines appear in at least a score of populations experiencing different degrees of isolation and enjoying different rates of divergence. The challenge of understanding their relationships is sometimes made greater by almost complete lack of information or specimens from vast regions where neighboring subspecies apparently come together because no obvious barrier exists. But the Peregrine Falcon will never lack for serious aficionados. Field people around the world add to the growing literature almost weekly so that someday a more complete appreciation is inevitable.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in this species!

 

The Weekly Birdbooker Report


                                          Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:
http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-302/

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Title

 
1) Paiero, Steven M. et al.. Field Guide to Jewel Beetles (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) of Northeastern North America. 2012. Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Paperback: 411 pages. Price: FREE.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This 411 page field guide (6×9*) covers 164 jewel beetle species for northeastern North American (Manitoba and eastward) and includes 2 identification keys for the 23 genera in the region: one a technical key adapted from previously published works, and the other a “field key”, designed for use with a hand lens or digital camera and which uses characters that are more easily observed. Each species is fully illustrated with high magnification colour photos of the dorsal & ventral views, head and male genitalia (plus additional colour morphs or variations when available). A review of taxonomic synonyms, ESC & ESA approved common names, and all known larval host plants is provided in addition to thorough morphological diagnoses, characters useful for differentiating similar species, and notes on species abundance, habitat preference and economic importance.
       This guide is intended to assist municipal foresters, arborists, technicians, entomologists, woodlot owners and naturalists in recognizing specimens encountered in the field.
RECOMMENDATION: This book is available in both English and French. To place an order, please phone 1-800-442-2342 (USA and Canada only). LARGE PDF files of the book are available here: