Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Birdbooker Report 74

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“How does one distinguish a truly civilized nation from an aggregation of
barbarians? That is easy. A civilized country produces much good bird
~ Edgar Kincaid

The Birdbooker Report is a special weekly report of a wide variety of science, nature and behavior books that currently are, or soon will be available for purchase. This report is written by one of my Seattle birding pals and book collector, Ian “Birdbooker” Paulsen, and is edited by me and published here for your information and enjoyment. Below the fold is this week’s issue of The Birdbooker Report which lists ecology, environment, natural history and bird books that are (or will soon be) available for purchase.


  1. Ridgely, Robert S. and Guy Tudor. Field Guide to the Songbirds of South America: The Passerines. 2009. University of Texas Press. Paperback: 750 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S. [Amazon: $32.97]. SUMMARY: The long awaited field guide version of the authors’ The Birds of South America: Passerines (volume 1 and volume 2) is now available! The 121 color plates by Tudor have had 400 species and 160 additional illustrations of subspecies and females added to them. The color range maps (which are opposite the plates) and text (which is separate from the plates) have been updated with new information. Anyone with an interest in Neotropical birds will need this book! GrrlScientist comment: I MUST have this book! If for no other reason than to use as a field guide (dream guide) for planning my trips to South America!

New and Recent Titles:

  1. Prothero, Donald R. Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs: Evolution, Extinction, and the Future of Our Planet. 2009. Columbia University Press. Hardbound: 274 pages. Price: $29.50 U.S. [Amazon: $23.60]. SUMMARY: Prothero examines the extinction events that occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period and those of the later Eocene and Oligocene epochs. He discusses the climates of those time periods and how they changed. The author also examines the current climate change and the future of paleontology. Anyone with an interest in Earth’s history and its future will want to read this book. GrrlScientist comment: I’ve read this book and highly recommend it. I cannot say any more on my blog at this time, though, because I am currently trying to pitch a review of this book to a print magazine in exchange for money. But I will write a formal review for my blog if I cannot find a publisher who wishes to buy it.
  2. Stettler, Reinhard F. Cottonwood and the River of Time: On Trees, Evolution, and Society. 2009. University of Washington Press. Paperback: 303 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S. [Amazon: $18.96]. SUMMARY: Using the Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) as an example, the author looks at the world of trees. This book is divided into four parts: The Tree and the River, Variation and Variability, From Species to Populations to Genes and finally Trees and Society. Anyone interested in tree biology will like this book. GrrlScientist comment: This book looks fascinating! As a life-long tree climber (although I have slowed down quite a bit after the titanium plate was installed in my right wrist), my interest in trees is deeper than just photographing their bark and wondering how to better name the species of perch where a particular bird is singing or nesting. I shall try to get a review copy of this book so I can tell you about it.

You can read all the Birdbooker Reports in the archives on this site, and Ian now has his own website, The Birdbooker’s Bookcase, where you can read his synopses about newly published science, nature and animal books. But Ian assures me that he still loves us here, so he’ll still share his weekly Birdbooker Reports with us!


  1. #1 John
    July 12, 2009

    The field guide definitely looks interesting.

  2. #2 Eveling
    July 12, 2009

    The Ridley 2009 Field Guide is totally worthed!!!

  3. #3 Rob
    July 13, 2009

    Two more books for me! My birthday is coming up, too.

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