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.
- Schulenberg, Thomas S. et al. Birds of Peru (revised and updated edition). 2010. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 664 pages. Price: $39.50 U.S. [Amazon: $26.07].
SUMMARY: This is the most complete and authoritative field guide to this diverse, neotropical landscape. It features every one of Peru’s 1,817 bird species and shows the distinct plumages for each in 307 superb, high-quality color plates. Concise descriptions and color distribution maps are located opposite the plates, making this book much easier to use in the field than standard neotropical field guides. This fully revised paperback edition includes twenty-five additional species.
— A comprehensive guide to all 1,817 species found in Peru — one fifth of the world’s birds — with subspecies, sexes, age classes, and morphs fully illustrated
— Designed especially for field use, with vivid descriptive information and helpful identification tips opposite color plates
— Detailed species accounts, including a full-color distribution map
— Includes 25 additional species not covered in the first edition
— Features 3 entirely new plates and more than 25 additional illustrations
RECOMMENDATION: The text has increased in size from 656 pages to 664 pages. Three new plates have been added at the end of the book that cover 20 species new to Peru.The lighter paperback version will be easier to carry into the field. Anyone interested in South American birds will want this book!
New and Recent Titles:
- Daintith, John and Elizabeth Martin (editors). Oxford Dictionary of Science. 2010. Oxford University Press. Paperback: 900 pages. Price: $19.99 U.S. [Amazon: $17.05].
SUMMARY: This best-selling dictionary contains 9,200 alphabetically organized entries on all aspects of chemistry, physics, biology (including human biology), earth sciences, and astronomy. In addition to a wealth of reliable, up-to-date entries, users will find useful short biographies of leading scientists, full-page illustrated features on subjects such as the Solar System and Genetically Modified Organisms, and chronologies of specific scientific subjects including plastics, electronics, and cell biology. This new edition includes expanded coverage of global warming, forensic science, astrophysics, quantum theory, and the solar system. Supported by over 200 diagrams and illustrations, the Dictionary of Science also contains recommended web links for many entries, accessed and kept up to date via the companion website.
RECOMMENDATION: A good reference work for students or for a library.
- Dwyer, Jim. Where the Wild Books Are: A Field Guide to Ecofiction. 2010. University of Nevada Press. 264 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S. [Amazon: $22.76].
SUMMARY: As interest in environmental issues grows, many writers of fiction have embraced themes that explore the connections between humans and the natural world. Ecologically themed fiction ranges from profound philosophical meditations to action-packed entertainments. Where the Wild Books Are offers an overview of nearly 2,000 works of nature-oriented fiction. The author includes a discussion of the precursors and history of the genre, and of its expansion since the 1970s. He also considers its forms and themes, as well as the subgenres into which it has evolved, such as speculative fiction, ecodefense, animal stories, mysteries, ecofeminist novels, cautionary tales, and others. A brief summary and critical commentary of each title is included. Dwyer’s scope is broad and covers fiction by Native American writers as well as ecofiction from writers around the world. Far more than a mere listing of books, Where the Wild Books Are is a lively introduction to a vast universe of engaging, provocative writing. It can be used to develop book collections or curricula. It also serves as an introduction to one of the most fertile areas of contemporary fiction, presenting books that will offer enjoyable reading and new insights into the vexing environmental questions of our time.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction to the subject with most of the literature listed being from the 1970’s to the present.
- Turvey, Samuel T. (editor). Holocene Extinctions. 2009. Oxford University Press. Hardbound: 352 pages. Price: $99.00 U.S. [Amazon: $99.00].
SUMMARY: Holocene Extinctions describes and analyzes the range of global extinction events which have occurred since the end of the Pleistocene epoch, as well as their relationship to both earlier and ongoing species losses. By integrating information from fields as diverse as zoology, ecology, palaeontology, archaeology and geography, and by incorporating data from a broad range of taxonomic groups and ecosystems, this novel text provides a fascinating insight into human impacts on global extinction rates, both past and present.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in extinction biology.
- Grant, K. Thalia and Gregory B. Estes. Darwin in Galapagos: Footsteps to a New World. 2009. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 362 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S. [Amazon: $19.77].
SUMMARY: Thalia Grant and Gregory Estes meticulously retrace Charles Darwin’s island expeditions, taking you on an unforgettable guided tour. Drawing from Darwin’s original notebooks and logs from the Beagle, the latest findings by Darwin scholars and modern science, and their own intimate knowledge of the archipelago, Grant and Estes offer rare insights into Darwin’s thinking about evolution in the context of the actual locales that inspired him. They introduce Darwin as a young naturalist in England and onboard the Beagle and then put you in his shoes as he explores remote places in the islands. They identify the unique animals and plants he observed and collected, and describe dramatic changes to the islands since Darwin’s time. They also explore the importance of Darwin’s observations and collections to the development of his thinking after the voyage.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Darwin and/or the Galapagos Islands.
- Henderson, Carrol L. Butterflies, Moths, and Other Invertebrates of Costa Rica. 2010. University of Texas Press. Paperback: 173 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S. [Amazon: $21.56].
SUMMARY: Carrol Henderson published Field Guide to the Wildlife of Costa Rica in 2002, and it instantly became the indispensable guide. Now Henderson has created a dedicated field guide to more than one hundred tropical butterflies, moths, and other invertebrates that travelers are most likely to see while exploring the wild lands of Costa Rica. He includes fascinating information on their natural history, ecology, identification, and behavior gleaned from his forty years of travels and wildlife viewing, as well as details on where to see these remarkable and beautiful creatures. The butterflies, moths, and other invertebrates are illustrated by over 180 stunning and colorful photographs — most of which were taken in the wild by Henderson. A detailed and invaluable appendix that identifies many of Costa Rica’s best wildlife-watching destinations, lodges, and contact information for trip-planning purposes completes the volume. Color range maps are included.
RECOMMENDATION: For those interested in the natural history of Costa Rica.
- Smallshire, Dave and Andy Swash. Britain’s Dragonflies: A Field Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of Britain and Ireland (2nd edition). 2010. WILDGuides. Paperback: 208 pages. Price: 17.95 GBP (about $25.92 U.S.).
SUMMARY: A comprehensive photographic field guide to the dragonflies and damselflies of Britain and Ireland. This completely revised second edition covers in detail the identification of all 56 species that have been recorded, as well as seven potential vagrants. It aims to help the Dragonfly-watcher — beginner or expert — to identify any species they encounter.
— Stunning color plates of all species — showing males, females, immatures and color forms.
— Innovative, beautifully detailed and easy-to-use identification charts summarizing the key features of both adults and larvae.
— Detailed species profiles covering:
• adult identification
• distribution, with up-to-date maps
• flight periods
• eggs and larvae, behavior, habitat requirements, status and conservation.
— Sections on biology, habitats, tips on how and where to watch Dragonflies, and other useful information.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the world’s Odonata and/or British/Irish natural history.
- Tingay, Ruth E. and Todd E. Katzner (editors). The Eagle Watchers: Observing and Conserving Raptors around the World. 2010. Cornell University Press. Hardbound: 234 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S. [Amazon: $19.77].
SUMMARY: The Eagle Watchers covers twenty-four species on six continents, from well known (bald eagle; golden eagle), to obscure (black-and-chestnut eagle; New Guinea harpy eagle), and from common (African fish eagle) to critically endangered (Philippine eagle; Madagascar fish eagle). The diverse experiences vividly described in this book reveal the passion, dedication, and sense of adventure shared by those who study these majestic birds and strive for their conservation. Featuring stunning color photographs of the eagles, information on raptor conservation, a global list of all eagle species with ranges and conservation status, and a color map of the sites visited in the book, The Eagle Watchers will appeal to birders, conservationists, and adventure travelers alike. To further support the conservation programs described in this book, all royalties are being donated to two leading nonprofit organizations for raptor conservation training and fieldwork: Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Intern Program and the National Birds of Prey Trust.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in birds of prey.
- Tidemann, Sonia and Andrew Gosler. Ethno-ornithology: Birds, Indigenous Peoples, Culture and Society. 2010. Earthscan. Hardbound: 346 pages. Price: $96.00 U.S. [Amazon: $73.15].
SUMMARY: This book presents ornithological knowledge that is new or has not been readily available until now because it has not previously been captured or reported by indigenous people. As well as its knowledge base, this book provides practical advice for professionals in conservation and anthropology by demonstrating the relationship between mutual respect, local participation and the building of partnerships for the resolution of joint problems. It identifies techniques that can be transferred to different regions, environments and collections, as well as practices suitable for investigation, adaptation and improvement of knowledge exchange and collection in ornithology. The authors take anthropologists and biologists who have been trained in, and largely continue to practice from, a western reductionist approach, along another path one that presents ornithological knowledge from alternative perspectives, which can enrich the more common approaches to ecological and other studies as well as management for conservation.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in ethno-ornithology.
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!