"How does one distinguish a truly civilized nation from an aggregation of
barbarians? That is easy. A civilized country produces much good bird
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.
- Slater, Peter, Pat and Raoul. The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds (revised and updated). 2008. New Holland. Paperback: 344 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S. SUMMARY: This is the most portable field guide to the birds of Australia currently available. Text (with black-and-white range maps) face the color illustrations. 2 new plates of "recently sighted" species have been added.
RECOMMENDATION: This portable guide will be the one that most birders will use "in the field" in Australia. Available from Buteo Books.
- Myers, Susan. Birds of Borneo: Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak, and Kalimantan. 2009. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 272 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S. [Amazon: $19.77]. SUMMARY: This is the first comprehensive field guide to the birds of Borneo. Each bird is illustrated by color paintings with an average of 2-3 illustrations per species. The text, illustrations and color range maps are on the same page.
RECOMMENDATION: This is the only field guide to the birds of Borneo currently available, but the Phillipps' Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo is due out soon [nhbs price: Â£24.99].
New and Recent Titles:
- Chansigaud, Valerie. The History of Ornithology. 2009. New Holland. Hardbound: 239 pages. Price: $17.99 GPB (about $29.85 U.S.). [Amazon: Â£6.22]. SUMMARY: This title examines the development of ornithology from ancient times to the present day. It is well illustrated often with period bird art. The book also contains a 20-page timeline detailing every significant ornithological event during the past two millennia.
RECOMMENDATION: It's a good introduction to the history of ornithology.
- Sidles, Constance. In My Nature: A Birder's Year at the Montlake Fill. 2009. Constancy Press, LLC. Hardbound: 232 pages. Price: $19.95 U.S. [Constancy Press]. SUMMARY: This book follows the author's year birding the Montlake Fill on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, WA. It contains 32 essays arranged into four seasons. The book is illustrated with color paintings by Alexandra Mackenzie and with color photographs.
RECOMMENDATION: Seattle-area birders will enjoy reading this book.
- Price, Andrew H. Venomous Snakes of Texas: A Field Guide. 2009. University of Texas Press. Paperback: 116 pages. Price: $15.95 U.S. [Amazon: $10.85]. SUMMARY: This compact guide covers the fifteen species and subspecies of venomous snakes found in Texas. Each species account includes at least one color photograph and a color range map. The introduction talks about first aid for snake bit victims.
RECOMMENDATION: This guide will be useful to anyone who spends time in the outdoors of Texas.
- Dodd, C. Kenneth Jr. Amphibian Ecology and Conservation: A Handbook of Techniques. 2009. Oxford University Press. Paperback: 556 pages. Price: $59.95 U.S. [Amazon: $52.06]. SUMMARY: This book covers topics ranging from amphibian diversity and life history to conservation and management. Although emphasizing field ecology, sections on physiological ecology, genetics, landscape ecology, and disease analysis are also included. This manual provides a state-of-the-art review of many new techniques used to study amphibians.
RECOMMENDATION: For herpetologists and conservation biologists.
- Wilkins, John S. Species: A History of the Idea. 2009. University of California Press. Hardbound: 305 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S. [Amazon: $35.96].
- Parenti, Lynne R. and Malte C. Ebach. Comparative Biogeography: Discovering and Classifying Biogeographical Patterns of a Dynamic Earth. 2009. University of California Press. Hardbound: 295 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S. [Amazon: $31.96].
These are the first and second titles in the new Species and Systematics series from University of California Press.
Species covers the history of species concepts from the Classical Era to Modern times. Comparative Biogeography is divided into three main parts: History and Homology, Methods and Implementation.
RECOMMENDATION: These titles would make good textbooks for undergraduate biology majors.
- Losos, Jonathan B and Robert E. Ricklefs (editors). The Theory of Island Biogeography Revisted. 2009. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 476 pages. Price: $49.50 U.S. [Amazon: $35.64]. SUMMARY: MacArthur and Wilson published their groundbreaking work, The Theory of Island Biogeography, 42 years ago. The editors of this title have compiled a first-rate retrospective that probes the theories presented in the original book.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in biogeography.
- Beolens, Bo, Michael Watkins and Michael Grayson. The Eponym Dictionary of Mammals. 2009. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 574 pages. Price: $65.00 U.S. [Amazon: $52.29]. SUMMARY: This book gives bio-sketches of the people that have mammal species named (scientific and/or English names) after them.
RECOMMENDATION: Anyone interested in mammalian nomenclature will want this book!
- Dugatkin, Lee Alan. Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose: Natural History in Early America. 2009. University of Chicago Press. Hardbound: 166 pages. Price: $ 26.00 U.S. [Amazon: $17.16]. SUMMARY: In this book the author details the story about Thomas Jefferson and his feud with European naturalists who thought American flora and fauna was inferior to European species. In response Jefferson sent to French naturalist Leclerc de Buffon a giant specimen of an American Moose.
RECOMMENATION: This is an entertaining story from America's natural history.
- Olson, Randy. Don't Be Such A Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style. 2009. Island Press. Paperback: 206 pages. Price: $19.95 U.S. [Amazon: $13.57]. SUMMARY: Scientists often complain that the public doesn't pay attention to the latest scientific findings. Olson outlines how scientists can communicate better with the public.
RECOMMENDATION: Scientists should read this book, along with Am I Making Myself Clear? by Cornelia Dean.
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!