Thursday, April 27, 2017

New Title



1) Haupt, Lyanda Lynn. Mozart's Starling. 2017. Little, Brown. Hardbound: 277 pages. Price: $27.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: On May 27th, 1784, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart met a flirtatious little starling in a Viennese shop who sang an improvised version of the theme from his Piano Concerto no. 17 in G major. Sensing a kindred spirit in the plucky young bird, Mozart bought him and took him home to be a family pet. For three years, the starling lived with Mozart, influencing his work and serving as his companion, distraction, consolation, and muse.
     Two centuries later, starlings are reviled by even the most compassionate conservationists. A nonnative, invasive species, they invade sensitive habitats, outcompete local birds for nest sites and food, and decimate crops. A seasoned birder and naturalist, Lyanda Lynn Haupt is well versed in the difficult and often strained relationships these birds have with other species and the environment. But after rescuing a baby starling of her own, Haupt found herself enchanted by the same intelligence and playful spirit that had so charmed her favorite composer.
     In Mozart's Starling, Haupt explores the unlikely and remarkable bond between one of history's most cherished composers and one of earth's most common birds. The intertwined stories of Mozart's beloved pet and Haupt's own starling provide an unexpected window into human-animal friendships, music, the secret world of starlings, and the nature of creative inspiration. A blend of natural history, biography, and memoir, Mozart's Starling is a tour de force that awakens a surprising new awareness of our place in the world.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the author's other works should enjoy this one!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Titles



1) Lockhart, James Macdonald. Raptor: A Journey through Birds. 2017. University Of Chicago Press. Hardbound: 376 pages. Price: $29.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: From the merlin to the golden eagle, the goshawk to the honey buzzard, James Macdonald Lockhart’s stunning debut is a quest of beak, talon, wing, and sky. On its surface, Raptor is a journey across the British Isles in search of fifteen species of birds of prey, but as Lockhart seeks out these elusive predators, his quest becomes so much more: an incomparably elegant elegy on the beauty of the British landscape and, through the birds, a journey toward understanding an awesome power at the heart of the natural world—a power that is majestic and frightening in its strength, but also fragile.
     Taking as his guide the nineteenth-century Scottish naturalist and artist William MacGillivray, Lockhart loosely follows the historical trail forged by MacGillivray as he ventured from Aberdeen to London filling his pockets with plants and writing and illustrating the canonical A History of British Birds. Linking his journey to that of his muse, Lockhart shares his own encounters with raptors ranging from the scarce osprey to the successfully reintroduced red kite, a species once protected by medieval royal statute, revealing with poetic immediacy the extraordinary behaviors of these birds and the extreme environments they call home.
     Creatures both worshipped and reviled, raptors have a talon-hold on the human heart and imagination. With his book, Lockhart unravels these complicated ties in a work by turns reverent and euphoric—an interweaving of history, travel, and nature writing at its best. A hymn to wanderers, to the land and to the sky, and especially to the birds, Raptor soars.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in British raptors.


2) Lynch, Patrick J.. A Field Guide to Long Island Sound: Coastal Habitats, Plant Life, Fish, Seabirds, Marine Mammals, and Other Wildlife. 2017. Yale University Press. Flexibound: 399 pages. Price: $27.50 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A lavishly illustrated and long-overdue guidebook to the rich natural history of Long Island Sound and its coastlines, a region beloved by millions of people.
     Long Island Sound consists of a diverse collection of unique marine, estuarine, and terrestrial ecosystems located in one of the most densely populated regions in the United States. The Sound and its coastlines are home not only to myriad species of plants and animals—from shorebirds and turtles to whales, seals, and fish—but also to more than twenty million people.  
     Until now there has been no one-stop reference for those interested in exploring the Sound’s rich natural history. Author, photographer, and scientific illustrator Patrick Lynch has filled this gap. Brimming with maps, photographs, and drawings, Lynch’s guide introduces readers to the full breadth of the Sound’s environs from shorelines to deepest waters. With coastal areas at particular risk from climate change and pollution, his timing couldn’t be better. Whether readers are interested in the area’s geology and meteorology, its history of human intervention, or simply locating nature reserves and bird sanctuaries, they’re sure to find Lynch’s compendium indispensable.
RECOMMENDATION: A nice overview on the natural history of the region.

Friday, April 21, 2017

New Title



1) Couzens, Dominic et al.. Britain's Mammals: A Field Guide to the Mammals of Britain and Ireland. 2017. Princeton University Press. Flexibound: 328 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY:  Britain's Mammals is a comprehensive and beautifully designed photographic field guide to all the mammals recorded in the wild in Britain and Ireland in recent times--including marine mammals, bats and introduced species that have bred. The book features hundreds of stunning photographs and incorporates invaluable tips and suggestions to help you track down and identify even the most difficult species.
     This easy-to-use book provides an introduction to the different types of mammal. Concise species accounts focus on identification and include up-to-date information on sounds, habitat, food, habits, breeding behaviour and population and status, as well as descriptions of key field signs--including tracks, droppings and nests--that give away the presence of mammals even when they are out of sight. In addition, guidance is provided on ways of studying and observing mammals--including small-mammal trapping, bat detecting and whale watching--as well as mammal conservation, legislation and further sources of useful information. Handy and informative, this guide is the ideal companion for anyone interested in watching mammals in Britain and Ireland.
  • Comprehensive coverage of every mammal recorded in Britain and Ireland
  • 500 superb colour photographs carefully selected to show key identification features
  • Up-to-date distribution maps
  • Detailed illustrations of tracks, dentition and other identification features
  • Helpful tips for identifying tracks and other signs you may find in the field
  • Latest information on status, population, distribution and conservation designations
  • Advice on finding and watching mammals
 RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated overview of the region's mammals.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

New Title


1) Grewal, Bikram et al.. A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. 2017. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 792 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S. 
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This is the only comprehensive photographic field guide to the birds of the entire Indian subcontinent. Every distinct species and subspecies--some 1,375 in all--is covered with photographs, text, and maps. The guide features more than 4,000 stunning photographs, many never before published, which have been carefully selected to illustrate key identification features of each species. The up-to-date facing-page text includes concise descriptions of plumage, voice, range, habitat, and recent taxonomic changes. Each species has a detailed map reflecting the latest distribution information and containing notes on status and population density. The guide also features an introduction that provides an overview of birdlife and a brief history of ornithology in India and its neighbors. The result is an encyclopedic photographic guide that is essential for everyone birding anywhere in the subcontinent.
  • Covers all 1,375 subcontinental bird species
  • Features more than 4,000 stunning photographs to aid quick field identification
  • Includes up-to-date facing-page text and range maps
  • Contains concise descriptions of plumage, voice, habitat, and much more
RECOMMENDATION: A useful supplement to the standard field guides of the region.

Monday, April 17, 2017

New Titles



1) Dunne, Pete with Kevin T. Karlson. Birds of Prey: Hawks, Eagles, Falcons, and Vultures of North America. 2017. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 305 pages. Price: $26.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A visually stunning, comprehensive resource on North America’s birds of prey.
     Always a popular group of birds, raptors symbolize freedom and fierceness, and in Pete Dunne’s definitive guide, these traits are portrayed in hundreds of stunning color photographs showing raptors up close, in flight, and in action—fighting, hunting, and nesting. 
      These gorgeous photographs enhance the comprehensive, authoritative text, which goes far beyond identification to cover raptor ecology, behavior, conservation, and much more. 
       In returning to his forte and his first love, Pete Dunne has crafted a benchmark book on raptors: the first place to turn for any question about these highly popular birds, whether it’s what they eat, where they live, or how they behave.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated overview of North American diurnal raptors.


2) Reynolds, John E., III and Wayne Lynch. Florida Manatees: Biology, Behavior, and Conservation. 2017. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 147 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Manatees, the gentle giants of Florida’s lagoons and coastal habitats, can bring a smile to the face of anybody lucky enough to spy one. As manatees dip and roll through the water, crowds gather to watch them feed on aquatic vegetation. Whether they are congregating by the hundreds or resting or feeding alone, viewing these sea cows can provide anyone interested in nature with hours of tranquil pleasure.
     Having survived for eons, today’s manatees are now under constant threat due to our rapidly swelling human population. Their habitats are often devastated by development and pollution. The slow-moving manatees also live at the mercy of chance, for they occupy waters filled with fast-moving boats powered by razor-sharp propellers―a new form of predator from which they have no protection. Boat speed limits have been put in place to protect manatees, but there is a constant push to lift them so that people can once again zip across the waters that manatees call home. For this reason, manatees are often a subject of controversy that pits their lives against the rights of boat owners.
     In this book, manatee expert John E. Reynolds III and famed photographer Wayne Lynch join forces to reveal the clearest portrait of manatees ever published. Florida Manatees is a song for the manatee, a celebration of the lives of these majestic creatures. Reynolds’s concise, informative text shares what scientists know about manatees, while Lynch’s beautiful photographs instantly demonstrate how special these "potatoes with whiskers" really are. By encouraging an appreciation of manatees, the authors hope to help ensure a future in which Floridians can find ways to coexist with and continue to enjoy these uniquely wonderful sirenian inhabitants of their state.
Included in this book:· How manatees first came to Florida waters· How manatees fit into the ecosystems of Florida· What and how much manatees eat· How manatees behave and communicate with one another· Why manatees look the way they do· Why manatees have whiskers· How manatee mothers feed their young and much more.
RECOMMENDATION: A good overview on the species.

Friday, April 14, 2017

New Title


1) Rivers, David B.. Insects: Evolutionary Success, Unrivaled Diversity, and World Domination. 2017. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 474 pages. Price: $99.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Designed as an introduction to the intriguing world of insect biology, this book examines familiar entomological topics in nontraditional ways. Author David B. Rivers gives important concepts relatable context through a pop culture lens, and he covers subjects that are not typical for entomology textbooks, including the impact of insects on the human condition, the sex lives of insects, why insects are phat but not fat, forensic entomology, and the threats that some insects pose to humanity.
     Each chapter presents clear and concise key concepts, chapter reviews, review questions following Bloom’s taxonomy of learning, web links to videos and other resources, and breakout boxes (called Fly Spots) that capture student interest with unique and entertaining facts related to entomology. Focusing on both traditional and cutting-edge aspects of insect biology and packed with extensive learning resources, Insects covers a wide range of topics suitable for life science majors, as well as non-science students, including:
• the positive and negative influences of insects on everyday human life• insect abundance• insect classification (here presented in the context of social media)• insect feeding, communication, defense, and sex• how insects are responding to climate change• forensic entomology• how insects can be used as weapons of war• how insects relate to national security• why insects have wings• how to read pesticide labels.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in insect biology.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

New Title



1) Rieppel, Olivier. Turtles as Hopeful Monsters: Origins and Evolution. 2017. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 206 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Where do turtles hail from? Why and how did they acquire shells? These questions have spurred heated debate and intense research for more than two hundred years. Brilliantly weaving evidence from the latest paleontological discoveries with an accessible, incisive look at different theories of biological evolution and their proponents, Turtles as Hopeful Monsters tells the fascinating evolutionary story of the shelled reptiles. Paleontologist Olivier Rieppel traces the evolution of turtles from over 220 million years ago, examining closely the relationship of turtles to other reptiles and charting the development of the shell. Turtle issues fuel a debate between proponents of gradual evolutionary change and authors favoring change through bursts and leaps of macromutation. The first book-length popular history of its type, this indispensable resource is an engaging read for all those fascinated by this ubiquitous and uniquely shaped reptile.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in turtle evolution.