Sunday, December 20, 2020

New Titles


1) Stevenson, Terry et al.. Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi Second Edition. 2020. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 638 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Birds of East Africa is widely regarded as one of the best field guides to any region of the world. Named a BirdTwitch Best Bird Book of the year for Africa when it was first published, it has become the go-to guide for anyone visiting this spectacular birding region, which is home to a remarkably diverse and colorful birdlife. Now this indispensable guide has been fully revised and updated to make it even better. Featuring revised text and distribution maps, the latest taxonomy, and much more, this comprehensive but compact guide describes and illustrates 1,388 species―all the resident, migrant, and vagrant birds of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi―in convenient facing-page layout. Featuring 289 color plates with more than 3,400 painstakingly rendered images, the guide depicts all the plumages and major races likely to be encountered. Introductory sections include information on conservation and where to send records, as well as maps of important bird areas. More than ever, this is the must-have guide for birding in East Africa.

  • The standard field guide to the birds of East Africa―now fully revised and updated
  • New edition features revised text and distribution maps, the latest taxonomy, and much more
  • Covers all 1,388 regularly occurring species, with more than 3,400 images on 289 color plates
  • Features concise, facing-page species accounts that cover identification features, status, range, habits, and voice
  • More than ever, the must-have guide for birding in East Africa

 RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those birding eastern Africa!


2) Taylor, Marianne. The Gull Next Door: A Portrait of a Misunderstood Bird. 2020. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 192 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: From a distance, gulls are beautiful symbols of freedom over the oceanic wilderness. Up close, however, they can be loud, aggressive and even violent. Yet gulls fascinate birdwatchers, and seafarers regard them with respect and affection. The Gull Next Door explores the natural history of gulls and their complicated relationship with humans.

     Marianne Taylor grew up in an English seaside town where gulls are ever present. Today, she is a passionate advocate for these underappreciated birds. In this book, Taylor looks at the different gull species and sheds light on all aspects of the lives of gulls―how they find food, raise families, socialize and migrate across sea, coastland and countryside. She discusses the herring gull, Britain's best-known and most persecuted gull species, whose numbers are declining at an alarming rate. She looks at gulls in legend, fiction and popular culture, and explains what we can do to protect gull populations around the world.

     The Gull Next Door reveals deeper truths about these remarkable birds. They are thinkers and innovators, devoted partners and parents. They lead long lives and often indulge their powerful drive to explore and travel. But for all these natural gifts, many gull species are struggling to survive in the wild places they naturally inhabit, which is why they are now exploiting the opportunities of human habitats. This book shows how we might live more harmoniously with these majestic yet misunderstood birds.

RECOMMENDATION: Lariphiles will enjoy this book.


3-4) Bannick, Paul. Snowy Owl and Great Gray Owl: A Visual Natural History. 2020. Mountaineers Books. Hardbound: 128 pages each. Price: $18.95 U.S. each. 

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY:  The Snowy Owl--also known as the Arctic Owl, Snowy White Owl, and White Owl--is one of the most easily identified but least understood owls in the world.

    Award-winning author and photographer Paul Bannick delves into the natural history of this owl species, including the latest research, providing readers with comprehensive yet accessible looks at their preferred habitat, hunting and feeding behavior, mating and nesting actions, owlets and fledglings, and more.

     This beautiful book follows Bannick’s bestselling titles, The Owl and the Woodpecker and Owl, providing fans with another emotionally rich photographic portfolio and engaging, informative text.

      The Great Gray Owl--also known as the Phantom of the North, Great, Gray Ghost, and Bearded Owl--is one of the largest owl species and lives in the western mountains and boreal regions of North America.

       Award-winning author and photographer Paul Bannick delves into the natural history of this owl species, including the latest research, providing readers with comprehensive yet accessible looks at their preferred habitat, hunting and feeding behavior, mating and nesting actions, owlets and fledglings, and more.

       Bannick’s unique and gorgeous owl images are enhanced by additional images of the owls’ habitats and other species that share the Great Gray ecosystems. Throughout each narrative, his time in the field observing and photographing these enigmatic birds comes to life in evocative, experiential passages.

RECOMMENDATION: These two books are must haves for fans of Paul Bannick's photography!

5) Long, Kim. What Birds Eat: How to Preserve the Natural Diet and Behavior of North American Birds. 2020. Skipstone. Paperback: 367 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: The more than 900 bird species in North America have natural diets ranging from seeds, foliage, nectar, and nuts to fish, insects, crustaceans, carrion, and mammals--and sometimes other birds! What Birds Eat explores the senses that birds depend on--sight, sound, odor, taste, and touch--and their food ingestion. Extensive feeding profiles then detail what various species eat naturally and how we can support those diets in backyards and feeders. What Birds Eat enriches our understanding, allowing us to engage more meaningfully with birds along the way.

RECOMMENDATION: A good general overview of the subject. 

6) Steller, Georg Wilhelm (author), Margritt A. Engel, et al. (translators). Eastbound through Siberia: Observations from the Great Northern Expedition. 2020. Indiana University Press. Paperback: 220 pages. Price: $32.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: In the winter of 1739, Georg Steller received word from Empress Anna of Russia that he was to embark on a secret expedition to the far reaches of Siberia as a member of the Great Northern Expedition. While searching for economic possibilities and strategic advantages, Steller was to send back descriptions of everything he saw. The Empress's instructions were detailed, from requests for a preserved whale brain to observing the child-rearing customs of local peoples, and Steller met the task with dedication, bravery, and a good measure of humor. In the name of science, Steller and his comrades confronted horse-swallowing bogs, leaped across ice floes, and survived countless close calls in their exploration of an unforgiving environment. Not stopping at lists of fishes, birds, and mammals, Steller also details the villages and the lives of those living there, from vice-governors to prostitutes. His writings rail against government corruption and the misuse of power while describing with empathy the lives of the poor and forgotten, with special attention toward Native peoples.

     What emerges is a remarkable window into life―both human and animal―in 18th century Siberia. Due to the secret nature of the expedition, Steller's findings were hidden in Russian archives for centuries, but the near-daily entries he recorded on journeys from the town of Irkutsk to Kamchatka are presented here in English for the first time.

RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Georg Steller and/or Russian history. 

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