Saturday, March 4, 2017

New Titles



1) Breisch, Alvin R. and Matt Patterson. The Snake and the Salamander: Reptiles and Amphibians from Maine to Virginia. 2017. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 222 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In the best tradition of natural history writing and art, The Snake and the Salamander explores the diverse collection of reptiles and amphibians that inhabit the northeastern quadrant of the United States. Covering 13 states that run from Maine to Virginia, author Alvin R. Breisch and artist Matt Patterson showcase the lives of 83 species of snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, and salamanders. These intriguing animals are organized by habitat and type, from forest to grassland to bogs to big waters, and revealed through a combination of Breisch’s engaging prose and Patterson’s original color illustrations.
     Breisch’s guided tour combines historical notes and conservation issues with lessons on genetics, evolution, habitats, life histories, and more. Discover how careful attention to frog calls coupled with DNA analysis led to the discovery of a new species of frog in New York City, why evolutionary adaptations made the Eastern Ratsnake a superb climber, and the surprising fact that Spiny Softshell turtles actually sprint on land to retreat from predators. Breisch also tells the odd tale of the Green Frog and the Smooth Greensnake, two "green species" that do not actually have any green pigment in their skin. Every species has a story to tell―one that will keep the reader wanting to learn more.
     The breadth of herpetofauna in the area will surprise many readers: more than 8% of the world’s salamanders and 11% of all turtle species live in the region. Beyond numbers, however, lie aesthetics. The surprising colors and fascinating lifestyles of the reptile and amphibian species in this book will mesmerize readers young and old.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to the natural history of these species in the region.


2) Pieplow, Nathan. Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America. 2017. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Paperback: 593 pages. Price: $28.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The first comprehensive guide to the sounds of eastern North American birds, featuring an innovative visual index that allows readers to quickly look up unfamiliar sounds in the field.​
     Bird songs and calls are just as important as visual field marks in identifying birds. But until now, the only way to learn them was by memorization. With this groundbreaking book, it’s possible to visually distinguish bird sounds and identify birds using a field guide format. 
      At the core of this guide is the spectrogram, a visual graph of sound. With a brief introduction to five key aspects—speed, repetition, pauses, pitch pattern, and tone quality—readers can learn to visualize sounds, without any musical training or auditory memorization. Picturing sounds makes it possible to search this book visually for a bird song heard in the field.  
      The Sound Index groups similar songs together, narrowing the identification choices quickly to a brief list of birds that sound alike. Readers can then turn to the species account for more information and/or listen to the accompanying audio tracks available online, through Cornell's Lab of Ornithology. 
      Identifying birds by sound is arguably the most challenging and important skill in birding. This book makes it vastly easier to master than ever before.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting way to learn bird sounds. A Western version is in the works.

No comments:

Post a Comment