Saturday, May 19, 2018

New Title


1) Freile, Juan and Robin Restall. Birds of Ecuador (Helm Field Guides). 2018. Bloomsbury/Helm. Paperback: 656 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This up-to-date and comprehensive guide to the birds of mainland Ecuador is a valuable resource for anyone exploring the mountains, forests and wetlands of this incredibly bird-rich country. With thousands of beautiful and detailed paintings, accompanied by concise descriptions and accurate maps, this is an indispensable guide to bird identification in Ecuador.
· Covers every species and most subspecies recorded in Ecuador, including migrants and vagrants, with accurate and up-to-date distribution maps.
· 291 colour plates illustrating more than 1,630 species, with text on facing pages for quick and easy reference.
· Concise text covering identification, voice, habits, habitats, range, distribution and status.

RECOMMENDATION: The most up-to-date of the widely available guides to the country.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

New Title


1) Chavarría-Duriaux, Liliana, David C. Hille, and Robert Dean. Birds of Nicaragua: A Field Guide. 2018. Comstock Publishing Associates. Paperback: 467 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Birders in Central America have long known that Nicaragua is one of the best birding locations in the world, and with tourism to the country on the upswing, birders from the rest of the world are now coming to the same conclusion. The largest country in Central America, Nicaragua is home to 763 resident and passage birds, by latest count. Because of its unique topography―the country is relatively flat compared to its mountainous neighbors to the north and south―it forms a geographical barrier of sorts, which means that many birds that originate in North America reach their southernmost point in Nicaragua, while many birds from South America reach their northernmost point in the country. There are few places in the world where you can find both a Roadrunner and a Scarlet Macaw.
     Birds of Nicaragua features descriptions and illustrations of all 763 species currently identified in the country, along with information about 44 additional species that are likely to appear in the coming years. Range maps, based on years of field research, are color-coded. Other features include a richly illustrated anatomical features section, a checklist, a visual guide to vultures and raptors in flight, and a quick-find index.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those birding Nicaragua!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

New Title


1) Heinrich, Bernd. A Naturalist at Large: The Best Essays of Bernd Heinrich. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 288 pages. Price: $26.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: From one of the finest scientist/writers of our time comes an engaging record of a life spent in close observation of the natural world, one that has yielded “marvelous, mind-altering” (Los Angeles Times) insight and discoveries.  In essays that span several decades, Heinrich finds himself at home in Maine, where he plays host to visitors from Europe (the cluster flies) and more welcome guests from Asia (ladybugs); and as far away as Botswana, where he unravels the far-reaching ecological consequences of elephants’ bruising treatment of mopane trees.         
     The many fascinating discoveries in Naturalist at Large include the maple sap harvesting habits of red squirrels, and the “instant” flower-opening in the yellow iris as a way of ensuring potent pollination. Heinrich turns to his great love, the ravens, some of them close companions for years, as he designs a unique experiment to tease out the fascinating parameters of raven intelligence. Finally, he asks “Where does a biologist find hope?” while delivering an answer that informs and inspires.
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed Heinrich's other works, you will enjoy this one!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

New Title


1) Wagner, Eric. Penguins in the Desert. 2018. Oregon State University Press. Paperback: 201 pages. Price: $19.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Most of us wouldn’t think to look for penguins in a hot desert, but every year along a windswept edge of coastal Patagonia, hundreds of thousands of Magellanic penguins gather to rear their young at Punta Tombo, Argentina. It is the largest penguin colony in the world outside of Antarctica, and for the past three decades, biologist Dee Boersma has followed them there.
     Eric Wagner joined her team for six months in 2008, and in Penguins in the Desert, he chronicles that season in the remarkable lives of both the Magellanic penguins of Punta Tombo and the scientists who track their every move. For Boersma, the penguins are ecosystem sentinels. At the colony’s peak, more than a million birds bred there, but now less than half as many do. In confronting this fact, Boersma tackles some of the most urgent issues facing penguins and people today. What is the best way to manage our growing appetite for fish? How do we stop catastrophic oil spills from coating birds? How will we address the looming effects of climate change?
     As Wagner spends more and more time with the penguins and the scientists in the field, other equally pressing questions come to mind. What is it like to be beaten by a penguin? Or bitten by one? How can a person be so dirty for so many months on end? In a tale that is as much about life in the field as it is about one of the most charismatic creatures on earth, Wagner brings humor, warmth, and hard-won insight as he tries to find the answer to what turns out to be the most pressing question of all: What does it mean to know an animal and to grapple with the consequences of that knowing?
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Magellanic Penguins.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

New Title


1) Flood, Joe. Science Comics: Sharks: Nature's Perfect Hunter. 2018. First Second. Paperback: 122 pages. Price: $12.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: For over 400 million years, sharks have been the ocean's top predator! They're vital to our ecosystem, but their importance is often overshadowed by our own fear―even though they hardly ever threaten humans.
     Dive in for an intimate look at the dynamic hammerhead, infamous great white, primordial megalodon, and the gentle nurse shark, the rare species that will let a scuba diver pet them! This book is filled to the gills with jaw-dropping illustrations and razor-sharp facts that shed light on these fascinating creatures of the deep, including their undersea terrain, cunning adaptability, and staggering variety.
     Every volume of Science Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic―dinosaurs, coral reefs, the solar system, volcanoes, bats, flying machines, and more. These gorgeously illustrated graphic novels offer wildly entertaining views of their subjects. Whether you're a fourth grader doing a natural science unit at school or a thirty year old with a secret passion for airplanes, these books are for you!
RECOMMENDATION: For ages 9 -13.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New Title


1) Stenning, Martyn. The Blue Tit. 2018. Poyser. Hardbound: 320 pages. Price: $85.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Sporting a mix of blue, yellow, white, green, and black, the unmistakable Blue Tit echoes the hues of an Earth that is becoming increasingly populated. Blue Tits have adapted well to modern humanity, taking advantage of our propensity to feed birds and provide nest-boxes. In turn, this charismatic species provides an excellent model for research, and currently features in around 100 scientific papers annually. This new Poyser monograph is the result of a personal quest by author Martyn Stenning to bring these discoveries together in one accessible volume.
     The text initially invites readers into the intimate life of breeding Blue Tits and describes how nature has shaped their destiny. Moving on to the diversification and classification of Blue Tit variation across their range, the story progresses into population structure, life-time ecology, and mortality, culminating in an exploration of factors that determine breeding success. The book concludes with a genial selection of anecdotes, folklore, and poetry.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for all those with an interest in the Paridae.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

New Titles


1) Pyle, Robert Michael and Caitlin LaBar. Butterflies of the Pacific Northwest. 2018. Timber Press. Flexibound: 462 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A comprehensive field guide to the butterflies of the Pacific Northwest from a renowned expert.
     Easy to use and beautifully illustrated with more than 600 color photographs and nearly 200 maps, Butterflies of the Pacific Northwest is a must-have for nature lovers in Washington, Oregon, western Idaho, northern California, and British Columbia. The profiles include preferred common name for both genus and species, type locality, conservation status, the look and distinguishing traits of each butterfly, the preferred food-plants and nectar plants, habitat and range, and much more. 17 illustrative plates are included to help users compare and identify species. Additional information includes a brief introduction to how butterflies work and details on ecology and conservation.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for all butterfliers in the region! 


2) Holman, J. Alan. Fossil Frogs and Toads of North America. 2018 (2003). Indiana University Press. Paperback: 246 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Despite being one of the most versatile and interesting amphibians in North America, frogs and toads (otherwise known as anurans) have traditionally not received enough attention from science. But now, with the population of modern frogs and toads dwindling at an alarming rate, author J. Alan Holman brings together the latest research and findings about ancient anurans, expanding the world's knowledge about these fascinating creatures while there is still time to understand and save them.
     Comprehensive and lavishly illustrated, this essential guide provides a general account of the fossil record, a detailed account of individual anuran bones used in paleontological studies, and an epoch-by-epoch discussion of Mesozoic, Tertiary, and Pleistocene anurans and the changes they experienced throughout their evolution. Fossil taxa still living are reviewed in terms of modern characteristics, ecological attributes, modern ranges, and diagnostic skeletal elements. With detailed fossil history, biology, and anatomy, Fossil Frogs and Toads of North America is an informative, accessible book for anyone interested in frogs and toads and the scientific history of their evolution into the animals we know today.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in fossil anurans.