Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Birdbooker Report 93-94

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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
literature.”
–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.


FEATURED TITLE:

  1. Marren, Peter and Robert Gillmor. Art of the New Naturalists. 2009. Collins. Hardbound: 310 pages. Price: $80.00 U.S. [Amazon: $50.40]. SUMMARY: This book examines the history of the cover art from the New Naturalist series. The introduction covers the history of those involved with the cover art for the series. The bulk of the book is made up of the actual cover art of each title and how it was made. Primary artwork is also included.
    RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the New Naturalist series will want this book!
  2. Wellnhofer, Peter. Archaeopteryx: The Icon of Evolution. 2009. Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil. Hardbound: 208 pages. Price: about $86.10 U.S. SUMMARY: This title is a detailed treatment of the fossil bird genus Archaeopteryx. It is divided into four main sections: The Solnhofen region (where the fossils were found), The Archaeopteryx specimens, Archaeopteryx the animal and the meaning of Archaeopteryx. This volume is very well illustrated!
    RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in paleontology.

New and Recent Titles:

  1. Moore, Randy and Mark D. Decker. More Than Darwin: The People and Places of the Evolution-Creationism Controversy. 2009. University of California Press. Paperback: 415 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S. [Amazon: $22.76]. SUMMARY: In more than five hundred entries, many of them illustrated, this book describes well known and less familiar figures in the evolution vs. creationism debate. It also examines topics, locations and trials in the debate.
    RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the history of the evolution/creationism debate and in the history of science.
  2. Fastovsky, David E. and David B. Weishampel. Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History. 2009. Cambridge University Press. Paperback: 379 pages. Price: $70.00 U.S. [Amazon: $63.00]. SUMMARY: This title is a detailed yet readable introduction to the world of dinosaurs. It is up-to-date on such topics as the origin, diversity and extinction of dinosaurs.The book is well illustrated.
    RECOMMENDATION: This title would make a good undergraduate level textbook.
  3. Denny, Jim. A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Hawaii: The Main Islands and Offshore Waters. 2009. University of Hawaii Press. Paperback: 211 pages. Price: $19.99 U.S. [Amazon: $13.59]. SUMMARY: This guide covers 170 species or subspecies found in Hawaii. Nearly all species are given only one photograph. The species accounts are divided up into five groups: Urban Birds, Country Birds, Forest Birds, Wetland Birds and Seabirds. One appendix gives a species distribution list.
    RECOMMENDATION: For beginning birders.
  4. Shallenberger, Robert J. Hawaiian Birds of the Sea. 2009. University of Hawaii Press. Paperback: 110 pages. Price: $21.99 U.S. [Amazon: $14.84]. SUMMARY: This book has more than 135 color photographs, mostly of the seabirds of Hawaii. The bulk of the book is made up of 23 seabird species accounts.
    RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in seabirds.
  5. Carriker, Melbourne R. The Bird Call of the Rio Beni. 2005. The Narrative Press. Paperback: 226 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S. [Amazon: $20.48]. SUMMARY: This book details the ornithological adventures of the father (Melbourne A. Carriker, Jr.:1879-1965) and son (Melbourne R. Carriker:1915-2007) in western Bolivia during 1934-5. It is written in diary form and is illustrated with black-and-white photographs.
    RECOMMENDATION: Those interested in South American ornithology will like this book.
  6. Kunz, Thomas H. and Stuart Parsons (editors). Ecological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats (2nd edition). 2009. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 901 pages. Price: $100.00 U.S. [Amazon: $72.00]. SUMMARY: This volume provides researchers, conservationists, and consultants with the ecological background and specific information essential for studying bats in the wild and in captivity. The book includes 43 chapters, 14 of which are new to the second edition.
    RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in bats.

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!