Sunday, April 24, 2022

New Titles


1) De Roy, Tui, Mark Jones, and Julie Cornthwaite. Penguins: The Ultimate Guide (Second Edition). 2022. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 240 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: An acclaimed photographic guide to these marvelous and enigmatic birds―now in a new, updated edition. 

     Penguins are perhaps the most beloved birds. On land, their behavior appears so humorous and expressive that we can be excused for attributing to them moods and foibles similar to our own. Few realize how complex and mysterious their private lives truly are, as most of their existence takes place far from our prying eyes, hidden beneath the ocean waves. Now in a new, updated edition, this stunningly illustrated book provides a unique look at these extraordinary creatures and the cutting-edge science that is helping us to better understand them. Featuring more than 400 breathtaking photos, this is the ultimate guide to all 18 species of penguins, including those with retiring personalities or nocturnal habits that tend to be overlooked and rarely photographed. This revised second edition features updated scientific information and some spectacular new photographs.

     Penguins is the most ambitious book to date by Tui De Roy, Mark Jones, and Julie Cornthwaite. Their travels, spanning more than two decades, have seen them crisscross the southern hemisphere to virtually everywhere that penguins are found, from the sun-baked lava shores of the Gal√°pagos to some of the remotest subantarctic islands, as well as all around the Antarctic continent, where Emperor penguins breed on the deep-frozen sea.

     A book that no bird enthusiast or armchair naturalist should do without,
Penguins includes discussions of penguin conservation, informative species profiles, fascinating penguin facts, and tips on where to see penguins in the wild.

  • Covers all 18 species of the world’s penguins
  • Features more than 400 stunning photos
  • Explores the latest science on penguins and their conservation
  • Includes informative species profiles and fascinating penguin facts. 
RECOMMENDATION: This well illustrated title is a must have for penguin fans!

2) Shaffer, Fred. Gulls of North America. 2022. Schiffer. Paperback: 287 pages. Price: $19.99 U.S. 
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Although they are familiar and amusing characters, gulls are frequently dismissed as common "parking lot" birds or because their diverse species can be hard to identify. Both assumptions disregard the beauty and grace of gulls, which are among the most approachable of North America's birds. This photographic field guide provides a user-friendly introduction to the plumages of 27 North American gull species in different stages of maturity. Ranging in size from the dovelike Little Gull to the eagle-like Great Black-backed Gull, their behavior and habitats are equally varied. With more than 500 color photos, detailed captions, and foldout comparison guides, this book allows readers to better appreciate these charismatic birds by learning shortcuts for easy identification in the field. 

RECOMMENDATION: Best for beginning birders.


3) Bowser, Tom. A Sky Full of Kites: A Rewilding Story. 2021. Birlinn. Paperback: 256 pages. Price: $

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Red kites were once Britain’s most common bird of prey. By the early 1900s they'd been wiped out in Scotland and England following centuries of ruthless persecution. When some reintroduced kites began roosting on their 1,400-acre farm at Argaty in Perthshire, Tom Bowser’s parents, Lynn and Niall, decided to turn their estate into a safe haven. They began feeding the birds and invited the world to come and see them, learn about them and fall in love with them.

     A Sky Full of Kites is the story of the Argaty Red Kite project, and the re-establishing of these magnificent raptors to Scotland, but it is also much more than that. Ill at ease with the traditional rural values of livestock farming, Lynn and Niall’s son Tom, who returned to work on the farm after a career in journalism, reveals his passion for nature and his desire to dedicate his family’s land to conservation.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in Red Kites and/or raptor conservation!


4) Schwartz, Christopher W. et al. (editors). Birds of the Sun: Macaws and People in the U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest. 2022. The University of Arizona Press. Hardbound: 359 pages. Price: $70.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Scarlet macaws are native to tropical forests ranging from the Gulf Coast and southern regions of Mexico to Bolivia, but they are present at numerous archaeological sites in the U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest. Although these birds have been noted and marveled at through the decades, new syntheses of early excavations, new analytical methods, and new approaches to understanding the past now allow us to explore the significance and distribution of scarlet macaws to a degree that was previously impossible.

     Birds of the Sun explores the many aspects of macaws, especially scarlet macaws, that have made them important to Native peoples living in this region for thousands of years. Leading experts discuss the significance of these birds, including perspectives from a Zuni author, a cultural anthropologist specializing in historic Pueblo societies, and archaeologists who have studied pre-Hispanic societies in Mesoamerica and the U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest. Chapters examine the highly variable distribution and frequency of macaws in the past, their presence on rock art and kiva murals, the human experience of living with and transporting macaws, macaw biology and life history, and what skeletal remains suggest about the health of macaws in the past. Experts provide an extensive, region-by-region analysis, from early to late periods, of what we know about the presence, health, and depositional contexts of macaws and parrots, with specific case studies from the Hohokam, Chaco, Mimbres, Mogollon Highlands, Northern Sinagua, and Casas Grandes regions, where these birds are most abundant.

      The expertise offered in this stunning new volume, which includes eight full color pages, will lay the groundwork for future research for years to come.

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with a serious interest in macaws!



5) Beintema, Albert J.. The Remotest Island. 2022. New Generation Publishing. Paperback: 366 pages. Price: $24.10 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Tristan da Cunha, Britain's remotest territory, lies in the middle of the South Atlantic, halfway Cape Town and Buenos Aires. It has a fascinating history, yielding many good stories. Tristan has about 250 inhabitants, who grow potatoes, fish for lobsters, and sell postal stamps.

     The Tristan archipelago hosts millions of seabirds and a handful of peculiar, endemic landbirds. Half a century ago, Albert Beintema stumbled upon the story of a mysterious flightless Moorhen of Tristan da Cunha, called Island Cock, which became extinct more than a hundred years ago, and which, according to the islanders and some scientists, did not even ever exist. Beintema unraveled the history of this strange bird, and brings it back to life, together with lots of other stories about the island. Over a period of almost thirty years he has been to Tristan da Cunha fourteen times. The Remotest Island also includes chapters on Tristan's 'sister islands' South Georgia, Saint Helena and Ascension.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in extinct birds and/or oceanic islands! 

6) Halliday, Thomas. Otherlands: A Journey Through Earth's Extinct Worlds. 2022. Random House. Hardcover: 385 pages. Price: $28.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: The past is past, but it does leave clues, and Thomas Halliday has used cutting-edge science to decipher them more completely than ever before. In Otherlands, Halliday makes sixteen fossil sites burst to life on the page.

     This book is an exploration of the Earth as it used to exist, the changes that have occurred during its history, and the ways that life has found to adapt―or not. It takes us from the savannahs of Pliocene Kenya to watch a python chase a group of australopithecines into an acacia tree; to a cliff overlooking the salt pans of the empty basin of what will be the Mediterranean Sea just as water from the Miocene Atlantic Ocean spills in; into the tropical forests of Eocene Antarctica; and under the shallow pools of Ediacaran Australia, where we glimpse the first microbial life. 

     Otherlands also offers us a vast perspective on the current state of the planet. The thought that something as vast as the Great Barrier Reef, for example, with all its vibrant diversity, might one day soon be gone sounds improbable. But the fossil record shows us that this sort of wholesale change is not only possible but has repeatedly happened throughout Earth history.

      Even as he operates on this broad canvas, Halliday brings us up close to the intricate relationships that defined these lost worlds. In novelistic prose that belies the breadth of his research, he illustrates how ecosystems are formed; how species die out and are replaced; and how species migrate, adapt, and collaborate. It is a breathtaking achievement: a surprisingly emotional narrative about the persistence of life, the fragility of seemingly permanent ecosystems, and the scope of deep time, all of which have something to tell us about our current crisis.
RECOMMENDATION: A must read for anyone with an interest in Earth's history and/or fossils!

7) Chinsamy-Turan, Anusuya. Dinosaurs of Africa. 2021. Penguin Random House South Africa. Paperback: 64 pages. Price: $10.26 U.S.
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: As much of the African continent is covered in dense vegetation, dinosaur fossils have been relatively rare. Yet parts of the continent – from the Sahara Desert and the dusty plains of Kenya and Tanzania to the sandstone flats of the Karoo – have yielded a significant number of these fascinating creatures, thereby making an important contribution to the science of palaeontology.

     A brief general introduction on the subject is followed by short chapters on different dinosaur species, including fish-eating, sociable, and predatory dinosaurs, as well as the biggest meat-eating dinosaur of all time. Details are given about where these creatures were found, the meaning of their scientific names, and their size and diet.

     Spectacular, colorful illustrations bring the dinosaurs vividly to life; photographs, maps, and line drawings further illustrate the subject; and a variety of information boxes add to the intrigue.

     Previously published as
Famous Dinosaurs of Africa, this revised edition includes newly discovered species, the latest scientific information, and vibrant new illustrations. Although written for children, it is sure to have broad appeal for anyone interested in learning more about dinosaurs.
RECOMMENDATION: For grades: 3 - 4. Luis V. Rey's artwork highlights this book!


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