Thursday, June 28, 2018

New Title

1) Wheeler, Brian K.. Birds of Prey of the East/West: A Field Guide. 2018. Princeton University Press. Flexibound: 296/360 pages (respectively). Price: $27.95 U.S. each.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Birds of Prey of the East and its companion volume, Birds of Prey of the West, are the most comprehensive and authoritative field guides to North American birds of prey ever published. Written and lavishly illustrated with stunning, lifelike paintings by leading field-guide illustrator, photographer, and author Brian Wheeler, the guides depict an enormous range of variations of age, sex, color, and plumage, and feature a significant amount of plumage data that has never been published before. The painted figures illustrate plumage and species comparisons in a classic field-guide layout. Each species is shown in the same posture and from the same viewpoint, which further assists comparisons. Facing-page text includes quick-reference identification points and brief natural history accounts that incorporate the latest information. The range maps are exceptionally accurate and much larger than those in other guides. They plot the most up-to-date distribution information for each species and include the location of cities for more accurate reference. Finally, the guides feature color habitat photographs next to the maps. The result sets a new standard for guides to North America's birds of prey.
  • Lavishly illustrated with stunning, lifelike paintings
  • Written and illustrated by a leading authority on North American birds of prey
  • Depicts more plumages than any other guide
  • Concise facing-page text includes quick-reference identification points
  • Classic field-guide layout makes comparing species easy
  • Large, accurate range maps include up-to-date distribution information
  • Unique color habitat photographs next to the maps
 RECOMMENDATION: These guides are a must have for all raptorphiles!

New Titles

1) Howell, Steve and Fabrice Schmitt. Birds of Chile: A Photo Guide. 2018. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 240 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This is the first modern-style photographic field guide to the birds of Chile, an increasingly popular destination with birders and naturalists. Compact and easy to carry, pack, and use, Birds of Chile is ideal for curious naturalists and experienced birders alike, providing everything anyone needs to identify the birds they see. Clear photographs and brief, facing-page species accounts highlight what to look for and how to quickly identify species. The photos include both close-ups and birds-in-habitat images to further aid real-life identification. An introduction and maps provide an overview of Chile's geographic regions and their distinctive birdlife. Birds of Chile is also a great resource for birding in nearby countries, especially Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru.
  • The first field-friendly photographic guide to the birds of Chile
  • More than 1,000 real-life photos and brief, facing-page text make bird identification easy
  • Overview and maps describe the distinct bird regions of Chile
  • Perfect for curious naturalists and experienced birders alike
  • Compact and easy to carry and pack
  • Also a great resource for birding in Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru
RECOMMENDATION: I see this guide as a useful supplement to Alvaro Jaramillo's 2003 Birds of Chile (Princeton Field Guides).

2) Bowler, John. Wildlife of Madeira and the Canary Islands. 2018. Princeton University Press. Flexibound: 224 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This beautifully illustrated photographic field guide is the first to focus on the identification of the fascinating, diverse and unique wildlife of Madeira and the Canary Islands--featuring the birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and dragonflies that are most likely to be seen. Richly illustrated introductory sections cover the key wildlife sites to visit on each of the islands and provide an overview of the islands' geography, climate, habitat types and current conservation efforts. Stunning colour photographs highlight the key identification features of each species, and the accompanying text covers status, habitat preference, behaviour and, where appropriate, calls. The guide also features an up-to-date distribution map for each species. Complete with an attractive, user-friendly design, this is a must-have guide for all visitors to these magical islands.
  • A beautifully designed and illustrated photographic field guide to the wildlife of Madeira and the Canary Islands
  • Highlights the islands' unique native species and their conservation status
  • Covers all birds, land and marine mammals, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and dragonflies that are likely to be seen
  • Features richly illustrated introductory sections on key sites to visit on each of the islands, covering their geography, climate, habitats and conservation
  • Includes distribution maps for all species, as well as information on occurrence, status, habitat preference, behaviour and calls
 RECOMMENDATION: A must have for naturalists with an interest in these islands.

3) Geniez, Philippe and Tony Williams. Snakes of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East: A Photographic Guide. 2018. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 379 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This is a fully up-to-date and comprehensive photographic field guide to the snakes of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Lavishly illustrated with 387 color photographs, it includes coverage of all 122 snake species found in these regions.
     The guide's detailed introduction discusses snake anatomy, biology, habitats and taxonomy. It also explores the health of snakes in captivity and conservation measures, and provides a succinct explanation of the chemical composition, physical effects and cultural uses of snake venom. Species accounts are arranged taxonomically and provide identification features, a description of the species' habitat and behavior and information about whether a snake is venomous. Abundant distribution maps describe each species' geographic variation and usual habitats. Clear photos aid identification and are supplemented with illustrations highlighting key anatomical features. A table of all species, country by country, is included at the back of the book.
     The first dedicated field guide on snakes to appear in many years, Snakes of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East will be indispensable for anyone interested in learning more about these unique reptiles.
  • Highlights all 122 snake species found in the region
  • Features 387 excellent photos supplemented with diagrams
  • Reflects most recent classification and scientific research
  • Provides each species' identification details, habitat, behavior and much more
  • Includes distribution maps for all species

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in the snakes of the region.

Monday, June 25, 2018

New Title

1) Lack, David. Swifts in a Tower. 2018. Unicorn. Hardbound: 274 pages. Price: £15.00 (about $20.00 U.S.).
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: First published in 1956, Swifts in a Tower still offers astonishing insights into swifts’ private lives along with thoughts about their life style and wider issues. Now more than sixty years later swifts have been studied even more thoroughly, with technology unimaginable in the 1950s. This continues to reveal even more of their secrets, so this edition, published in association with the RSPB for their Oxford Swift City project includes a new chapter by Andrew Lack, bringing the story of this remarkable bird into the 21st Century.
RECOMMENDATION: If you like Common Swifts and/or David Lack's writings, you will enjoy this book!

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.