Wednesday, June 20, 2018

New Title


1) Todd, Frank S.. North American Ducks, Geese and Swans: Identification Guide. 2018. Hancock House Publishers. Paperback: 203 pages. Price: $34.95 U.S. ($29.95 U.S. from the publisher's website here.)
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Hancock House Publishers is pleased to announce the release of "Ducks, Geese & Swans of North America: identification guide" by the late Frank S. Todd. This book is the result of renowned zoologist Mr. Todd's life work photographing waterfowl around the world, in an attempt to obtain images of every sex, age and plumage type feasible prior to his passing in December 2016. This book is a richly detailed photographic guide to the Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America, including the Hawaiian Islands, Greenland, Mexico and the U.S. Territories in the Pacific Ocean. The photographs, mostly by the author, were selected to highlight plumage phases, age classes and variation and behavioral postures. Brief text describes the different categories of waterfowl and brief bullet points highlight important identification features. Range maps and population estimates are noted in the text and some details of morphology are also provided in an Appendix.
RECOMMENDATION: This book reminds me of the: The Crossley ID Guide: Waterfowl but with minimal text. Does include three Hawaiian species (Hawaiian Goose (Nene), Laysan and Hawaiian Ducks) that the Crossley guide does not include.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

New Title


1) Werdelin, Lars et al. (editors). Smilodon: The Iconic Sabertooth. 2018. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 212 pages. Price: $110.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Few animals spark the imagination as much as the sabertooth cat Smilodon. With their incredibly long canines, which hung like fangs past their jaws, these ferocious predators were first encountered by humans when our species entered the Americas. We can only imagine what ice age humans felt when they were confronted by a wild cat larger than a Siberian tiger.
     Because Smilodon skeletons are perennial favorites with museum visitors, researchers have devoted themselves to learning as much as possible about the lives of these massive cats. This volume, edited by celebrated academics, brings together a team of experts to provide a comprehensive and contemporary view of all that is known about Smilodon. The result is a detailed scientific work that will be invaluable to paleontologists, mammalogists, and serious amateur sabertooth devotees.
    The book:
• covers all major aspects of the animal’s natural history, evolution, phylogenetic relationships, anatomy, biomechanics, and ecology
• traces all three Smilodon species across both North and South America
• brings together original, unpublished research with historical accounts of Smilodon’s discovery in nineteenth-century Brazil

     The definitive reference on these iconic Pleistocene mammals, Smilodon will be cited by researchers for decades to come.

RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in this genus of prehistoric cat.



Saturday, June 9, 2018

New Edition



1) Morris, Desmond. Owl. 2018. Reaktion Books. Paperback: 216 pages. Price: $16.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: From ancient Babylon and the Greek goddess Athena to Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat; from Harry Potter’s Hedwig and the grandiloquent, absent-minded Wol from Winnie the Pooh to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, owls are woven into the fabric of human culture. Beautiful, silent, pitiless predators of the night, these enigmatic beings dwell throughout the world yet barely make their presence known. For people, owls are contradictory beasts, at times depicted as dignified, wise old scholars and at other times as foreboding voyeurs who see all—omens both good and evil, in turn. In this fascinating book, best-selling author and broadcaster Desmond Morris explores the natural and cultural history of one of nature’s most popular winged creatures.
     Excluding Antarctica, owls are found on every land mass across the globe, and they range in size from well under a foot tall (the tiny least pygmy owl) to more than two feet (the orange-eyed Eurasian eagle owl). As a result of their wide distribution, owls also occur in the folktales, myths, and legends of many native peoples around the world. Morris spreads his wings wide to explore these stories alongside owl evolution, owl species, and the many examples of owls in art, film, literature, and popular culture. Despite the fact that many of us have never seen an owl or even heard its accusatory “Who? Who?,” Morris’s enticing read makes clear this creature’s looming presence in our lives. Featuring more than one hundred telling illustrations from nature and culture, Owl will enthrall the many devotees of this surreal bird.
RECOMMENDATION: This title is once again available at a lower price.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

New Title


1) Last, Peter R. et al. (editors). Rays of the World. 2016. Comstock/Cornell. Hardbound: 790 pages. Price: $149.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Rays are among the largest fishes and evolved from sharklike ancestors nearly 200 million years ago. They share with sharks many life history traits: all species are carnivores or scavengers; all reproduce by internal fertilization; and all have similar morphological and anatomical characteristics, such as skeletons built of cartilage. Rays of the World is the first complete pictorial atlas of the world's ray fauna and includes information on many species only recently discovered by scientists while undertaking research for the book. It includes all 26 families and 633 valid named species of rays, but additional undescribed species exist for many groups.
     Rays of the World features a unique collection of paintings of all living species by Australian natural history artist Lindsay Marshall, compiled as part of a multinational research initiative, the Chondrichthyan Tree of Life Project. Images sourced from around the planet were used by the artist to illustrate the fauna. This comprehensive overview of the world’s ray fauna summarizes information such as general identifying features and distributional information about these iconic, but surprisingly poorly known, fishes. It will enable readers to gain a better understanding of the rich diversity of rays and promote wider public interest in the group.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with a serious interest in rays!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

New Title


1) Freile, Juan and Robin Restall. Birds of Ecuador (Helm Field Guides). 2018. Bloomsbury/Helm. Paperback: 656 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This up-to-date and comprehensive guide to the birds of mainland Ecuador is a valuable resource for anyone exploring the mountains, forests and wetlands of this incredibly bird-rich country. With thousands of beautiful and detailed paintings, accompanied by concise descriptions and accurate maps, this is an indispensable guide to bird identification in Ecuador.
· Covers every species and most subspecies recorded in Ecuador, including migrants and vagrants, with accurate and up-to-date distribution maps.
· 291 colour plates illustrating more than 1,630 species, with text on facing pages for quick and easy reference.
· Concise text covering identification, voice, habits, habitats, range, distribution and status.

RECOMMENDATION: The most up-to-date of the widely available guides to the country.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

New Title


1) Chavarría-Duriaux, Liliana, David C. Hille, and Robert Dean. Birds of Nicaragua: A Field Guide. 2018. Comstock Publishing Associates. Paperback: 467 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Birders in Central America have long known that Nicaragua is one of the best birding locations in the world, and with tourism to the country on the upswing, birders from the rest of the world are now coming to the same conclusion. The largest country in Central America, Nicaragua is home to 763 resident and passage birds, by latest count. Because of its unique topography―the country is relatively flat compared to its mountainous neighbors to the north and south―it forms a geographical barrier of sorts, which means that many birds that originate in North America reach their southernmost point in Nicaragua, while many birds from South America reach their northernmost point in the country. There are few places in the world where you can find both a Roadrunner and a Scarlet Macaw.
     Birds of Nicaragua features descriptions and illustrations of all 763 species currently identified in the country, along with information about 44 additional species that are likely to appear in the coming years. Range maps, based on years of field research, are color-coded. Other features include a richly illustrated anatomical features section, a checklist, a visual guide to vultures and raptors in flight, and a quick-find index.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those birding Nicaragua!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

New Title


1) Heinrich, Bernd. A Naturalist at Large: The Best Essays of Bernd Heinrich. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 288 pages. Price: $26.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: From one of the finest scientist/writers of our time comes an engaging record of a life spent in close observation of the natural world, one that has yielded “marvelous, mind-altering” (Los Angeles Times) insight and discoveries.  In essays that span several decades, Heinrich finds himself at home in Maine, where he plays host to visitors from Europe (the cluster flies) and more welcome guests from Asia (ladybugs); and as far away as Botswana, where he unravels the far-reaching ecological consequences of elephants’ bruising treatment of mopane trees.         
     The many fascinating discoveries in Naturalist at Large include the maple sap harvesting habits of red squirrels, and the “instant” flower-opening in the yellow iris as a way of ensuring potent pollination. Heinrich turns to his great love, the ravens, some of them close companions for years, as he designs a unique experiment to tease out the fascinating parameters of raven intelligence. Finally, he asks “Where does a biologist find hope?” while delivering an answer that informs and inspires.
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed Heinrich's other works, you will enjoy this one!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

New Title


1) Wagner, Eric. Penguins in the Desert. 2018. Oregon State University Press. Paperback: 201 pages. Price: $19.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Most of us wouldn’t think to look for penguins in a hot desert, but every year along a windswept edge of coastal Patagonia, hundreds of thousands of Magellanic penguins gather to rear their young at Punta Tombo, Argentina. It is the largest penguin colony in the world outside of Antarctica, and for the past three decades, biologist Dee Boersma has followed them there.
     Eric Wagner joined her team for six months in 2008, and in Penguins in the Desert, he chronicles that season in the remarkable lives of both the Magellanic penguins of Punta Tombo and the scientists who track their every move. For Boersma, the penguins are ecosystem sentinels. At the colony’s peak, more than a million birds bred there, but now less than half as many do. In confronting this fact, Boersma tackles some of the most urgent issues facing penguins and people today. What is the best way to manage our growing appetite for fish? How do we stop catastrophic oil spills from coating birds? How will we address the looming effects of climate change?
     As Wagner spends more and more time with the penguins and the scientists in the field, other equally pressing questions come to mind. What is it like to be beaten by a penguin? Or bitten by one? How can a person be so dirty for so many months on end? In a tale that is as much about life in the field as it is about one of the most charismatic creatures on earth, Wagner brings humor, warmth, and hard-won insight as he tries to find the answer to what turns out to be the most pressing question of all: What does it mean to know an animal and to grapple with the consequences of that knowing?
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Magellanic Penguins.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

New Title


1) Flood, Joe. Science Comics: Sharks: Nature's Perfect Hunter. 2018. First Second. Paperback: 122 pages. Price: $12.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: For over 400 million years, sharks have been the ocean's top predator! They're vital to our ecosystem, but their importance is often overshadowed by our own fear―even though they hardly ever threaten humans.
     Dive in for an intimate look at the dynamic hammerhead, infamous great white, primordial megalodon, and the gentle nurse shark, the rare species that will let a scuba diver pet them! This book is filled to the gills with jaw-dropping illustrations and razor-sharp facts that shed light on these fascinating creatures of the deep, including their undersea terrain, cunning adaptability, and staggering variety.
     Every volume of Science Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic―dinosaurs, coral reefs, the solar system, volcanoes, bats, flying machines, and more. These gorgeously illustrated graphic novels offer wildly entertaining views of their subjects. Whether you're a fourth grader doing a natural science unit at school or a thirty year old with a secret passion for airplanes, these books are for you!
RECOMMENDATION: For ages 9 -13.