Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Birdbooker Report 111

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Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My piles of books are a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them.

~ Arnold Lobel [1933-1987] author of many popular children’s books.

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.


New and Recent Titles:

  1. Gehrt, Stanley D., Seth P.D. Riley, and Brian L. Cypher (editors). Urban Carnivores: Ecology, Conflict, and Conservation. 2010. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 285 pages. Price: $75.00 U.S. [Amazon: $61.68].
    SUMMARY: Carnivores in urban areas are fascinating from an ecological standpoint. They elicit great passions — positive and negative — among humans and present difficult challenges for wildlife conservationists and managers. The first section of the book discusses the field of urban ecology and the many potential roles of carnivores in urban ecosystems, details the general behavior and ecology of this group of mammals, and addresses the human side of potential conflicts between people and carnivores in cities. The second section provides species accounts of the most common urban carnivores, including raccoons, coyotes, foxes, skunks, and mountain lions. A separate chapter examines the very specialized place of domesticated cats and dogs. The last section compares how various carnivore species fare in cities, looks at the utility of existing conservation and conflict management efforts, and suggests directions for further research and future management initiatives.
    RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in mammalian biology.
  2. Hill, Geoffrey E. Bird Coloration. 2010. National Geographic. Hardbound: 255 pages. Price: $27.50 U.S. [Amazon: $18.15].
    SUMMARY: This is the first non-academic work on bird coloration and plumage, and their key roles in avian life. More than 200 photographs highlight the explanations of the essentials: what color is, ornithologically speaking; how it is produced and measured; how birds use color to attract mates and deter competitors; how birds perceive color; and how coloration varies across species by sex, season, and age.
    RECOMMENDATION: Birders wanting to learn more about bird coloration will like this book.
  3. McConaghy, Lorraine. Warship Under Sail: The USS Decatur in the Pacific West. 2009. University of Washington Press. Hardbound: 381 pages. Price: $34.95 U.S. [Amazon: $23.72].
    SUMMARY: Warship under Sail focuses on four episodes in the Decatur’s Pacific Squadron mission: the harrowing journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean through the Strait of Magellan; a Seattle war story that contested American treaties and settlements; participation with other squadron ships on a U.S. State Department mission to Nicaragua; and more than a year spent anchored off Panama as a hospital ship. In a period of five years, more than 300 men lived aboard ship, leaving a rich record of logbooks, medical and punishment records, correspondence, personal journals, and drawings. Lorraine McConaghy has mined these records to offer a compelling social history of a warship under sail. Her research adds immeasurably to our understanding of the lives of ordinary men at sea and American expansionism in the antebellum Pacific West.
    RECOMMENDATION: For those interested in maritime (Pacific Ocean) history.
  4. Sartore, Joel. Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species. 2010. National Geographic. Hardbound: 160 pages. Price: $24.00 U.S. [Amazon: $16.32].
    SUMMARY: When a few of these photographs first appeared in the National Geographic magazine in the January 2009 issue, they were hailed as an arresting reminder of the hundreds of species teetering on the brink of final extinction–more than 1,200 animals and plants in all. Now, in Rare, Joel Sartore and National Geographic present 80 iconic images, representing a lifelong commitment to the natural world and a three-year investigation into the Endangered Species Act and the creatures it exists to protect.
    RECOMMENDATION: The photography is outstanding and highlights the endangered species of North America.
  5. West, George C. and Carol A. Butler. Do Hummingbirds Hum? Fascinating Answers to Questions about Hummingbirds. 2010. Rutgers University Press. Paperback: 185 pages. Price: $21.95 U.S. [Amazon: $14.93].
    SUMMARY: In this new book, George C. West, who has studied and banded over 14,000 hummingbirds in Arizona, and Carol A. Butler provide an overview of hummingbird biology for the general reader, and more detailed discussions of their morphology and behavior for those who want to learn more than the basics. Enriched with color photography, this question and answer guide offers readers a wide range of information about these birds as well as tips for attracting, photographing, and observing hummingbirds in the wild or in captivity.
    RECOMMENDATION: A good general introduction into the biology of hummingbirds.

Children’s Books from Boyds Mills Press:

  1. Tannis, Bill. Pika: Life in the Rocks. Price: $18.95 U.S. [Amazon: $13.64]. Ages: 5-7.
  2. Campbell, Sarah. C. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature. Price: $17.95 [Amazon: $12.92]. Ages: 5-11.
  3. Cowan, Mary Morton. Captain Mac: The Life of Donald Baxter MacMillian, Arctic Explorer. Price: $17.95 U.S. [Amazon: $12.92]. Ages:10 and up.
  4. Hansen, Amy S. Bugs and Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter. $17.95 U.S. [Amazon: $8.60]. Ages: 7-9.
  5. Houtman, Jacqueline. The Reinvention of Edison Thomas. Price: $17.95 U.S. [Amazon: $12.21]. Ages: 8-12.
  6. Lamstein, Sarah Marwil. Big Night for Salamanders. Price: $17.95 U.S. [Amazon: $12.21]. Ages: 7-9.
  7. Wittenstein, Vicki. Planet Hunter. Price: $17.95 U.S. [Amazon: $12.21]. Ages: 10-14.
  8. Yolen, Jane. An Egret’s Day. Price: $17.95 U.S. [Amazon: $13.46]. Ages: 9-11.
  9. SUMMARY: These are all hardbound books. Books 1-2, 4,6-8 are picture books. Book 3 is a biography. Book 5 is a novel.
    RECOMMENDATIONS: I like books 3,4 and 6 the best!


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!

Comments

  1. #1 biosparite
    March 29, 2010

    Re do hummingbirds hum: I experience the sound as more a deep buzz. The closest I have been to a hummer in free flight was on a porch in Williamsburg, Virginia festooned with trumpet vine on a trellis. The bird visited several flowers about two to three feet away from me.

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