Wednesday, March 13, 2019

New Titles


1) Wright, Rick. Peterson Reference Guide to Sparrows of North America. 2019. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 434 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Sparrows are as complicated as they are common. This is an essential guide to identifying 76 kinds, along with a fascinating history of human interactions with them.
      What exactly is a sparrow? All birders, and many non-birders, have essentially the same mental image of a pelican, a duck, or a flamingo, and a guide dedicated to waxwings or kingfishers would need nothing more than a sketch and a single sentence to satisfactorily identify its subject. Sparrows are harder to pin down. This book covers the birds of the family Passerellidae, which includes towhees, juncos, and dozens of other not necessarily small and not necessarily brown birds.
      Birds have a human history, too, beginning with their significance to native cultures and continuing through their discovery by science, their taxonomic fortunes and misfortunes, and their prospects for survival in a world with ever less space for wild creatures. This book includes not just facts and measurements, but stories of the birds' entanglement with human history. 

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with a serious interest in North American sparrows.


2) Poole, Alan F.. Ospreys: The Revival of a Global Raptor. 2019. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 205 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Ospreys are one of the few bird species that are found throughout the world. From forests in Hokkaido to rivers in Oregon and islands off Australia, Ospreys steal the show as nature lovers easily watch them build their massive nests and tend to their young. The fact that the Osprey is one of the few large birds that can hover adds to its mystique, and to watch it plunge into the water, emerging with a fish clutched in its talons, is truly a sight one will remember.
     As widespread as Ospreys are, not long ago they were under threat of extinction. During the 1950s and '60s, scientists tied the decline of Osprey populations to the heavy use of DDT and other human pollutants. In the 1980s, Ospreys began a slow recovery due to the efforts of conservationists and through the resilience of the adaptable raptors themselves. Today they are again considered common in most parts of the world, although some populations remain threatened.
     In this gorgeously illustrated book, Alan F. Poole, one of America's premier Osprey experts, has written a lyrical exposé of these majestic creatures, describing their daily habits and exploring their relationship with the environment. Ospreys celebrates the species' miraculous recovery from contaminants and hunters, chronicles their spectacular long-distance migrations, and unveils their vital role in bringing life to coastal habitats. Few other birds have such a hold on the human imagination. This book shows us why.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with a serious interest in Ospreys.

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