Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Birdbooker Report 116

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Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is 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. Capinera, John L. Insects and Wildlife: Arthropods and their relationships with wild vertebrate animals. 2010. Wiley-Blackwell. Paperback: 487 pages. Price: $79.95 U.S. [Amazon: $71.95].
    SUMMARY: This book provides a comprehensive overview of the interrelationships of insects and wildlife. It serves as an introduction to insects and other arthropods for wildlife management and other vertebrate biology students, and emphasizes the importance of insects to wild vertebrate animals. The book emphasizes how insects exert important influences on wildlife habitat suitability and wildlife population sustainability, including their direct and indirect effects on wildlife health.
    RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in entomological and/or vertebrate ecology.
  2. de la Rosa, Carlos L. and Claudia C. Nocke. A Guide to the Carnivores of Central America. 2000 (2010). University of Texas Press. Paperback: 245 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S. [Amazon: $30.00].
    SUMMARY: This book that was one of the first field guides dedicated to the carnivores of Central America has just been reprinted. It describes the four indigenous families — wild cats, raccoons and their relatives, skunks and their relatives, and wild canids — and their individual species that live in the region. The authors introduce each species by recounting a first-person encounter with it, followed by concise explanations of its taxonomy, scientific name, English and Spanish common names, habitat, natural history, and conservation status. Range maps show the animal’s past and current distribution, while Claudia Nocke’s black-and-white drawings portray it visually. The concluding chapter looks to the carnivores’ future, including threats posed by habitat destruction and other human activities, and describes some current conservation programs.
    RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction on the subject.
  3. Heinrich, Bernd. The Nesting Season: Cuckoos, Cuckolds, and the Invention of Monogamy. 2010. Belknap/Harvard. Hardbound: 337 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S. [Amazon: $19.77]. SUMMARY: Why are the eggs of the marsh wren deep brown, the winter wren’s nearly white, and the gray catbird’s a brilliant blue? And what in the DNA of a penduline tit makes the male weave a domed nest of fibers and the female line it with feathers, while the bird-of-paradise male builds no nest at all, and his bower-bird counterpart constructs an elaborate dwelling? These are typical questions that Bernd Heinrich pursues in the engaging style we’ve come to expect from him — supplemented here with his own stunning photographs and original watercolors. One of the world’s great naturalists and nature writers, Heinrich shows us how the sensual beauty of birds can open our eyes to a hidden evolutionary process. Nesting, as Heinrich explores it here, encompasses what fascinates us most about birds — from their delightful songs and spectacular displays to their varied eggs and colorful plumage; from their sex roles and mating rituals to nest parasitism, infanticide, and predation.
    RECOMMENDATION: Fans of Heinrich’s books will enjoy this one!

You can read all the Birdbooker Reports in the archives on this site, and Ian now has his own website, The Birdbooker Report, 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!