Monday, December 30, 2013

New Title


1) Fozy, Istvan and Istvan Szente. Fossils of the Carpathian Region. 2014. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 485 pages. Price: $110.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: István Fozy and István Szente provide a comprehensive review of the fossil record of the Carpathian Basin. Fossils of the Carpathian Region describes and illustrates the region’s fossils, recounts their history, and tells the stories of key people involved in paleontological research in the area. In addition to covering all the important fossils of this region, special attention is given to rare finds and complete skeletons. The region’s fossils range from tiny foraminifera to the Transylvanian dinosaurs, mastodons, and mammals. The book also gives nonspecialists the opportunity to gain a basic understanding of paleontology. Sidebars present brief biographies of important figures and explain how to collect, prepare, and interpret fossils.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in the fossils of this region. 
 

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                              Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here:
  http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-301/

Friday, December 20, 2013

New Title




1) Crawforth, Anthony. The Butterfly Hunter: The Life of Henry Walter Bates. 2009. University of Buckingham Press. Hardbound: 272 pages. Price: $43.95 U.S./ £25.00.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Henry Walter Bates is remembered today as the author of A Naturalist on the River Amazons, a science travel book that when it was first published in 1863, immediately became a best seller. His adventures, as a peripatetic collector, were his way of making a living free from the constraints of middle class Victorian Britain. His writing was similar in style to Bruce Chatwin’s and brought the Amazons, its flora, fauna and people, into the Victorian drawing room. Bates was also a competent self taught natural scientist with finely tuned observational skills.
      Aware of the direction in which evolutionary science was moving before he went to the Amazon; he related all he observed in the light of evolution by natural selection. His field observations were the first to give practical support to Charles Darwin’s theory as it developed. Bates noticed that some palatable butterflies flying in the Amazons copied other unpalatable ones in shape, colour, pattern, and habits, so well that predators were fooled and left them alone, thinking they were all the same. Known today as Batesian mimicry, Darwin was intrigued and used this new knowledge as proof that species were not immutable, that change was occurring all around him all of the time, and sometimes that change led directly to new species.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in natural history history.
 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

New Title


1) Olsen, Penny. Flocks of Colour. 2013. NLA Publishing. Paperback: 216 pages. Price: $39.99 (AUD) (about $35.43 U.S.).
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: What name could be a more apt description of Australia than ‘The Land of Parrots’, a name inspired by late sixteenth-century maps showing a southern region labelled ‘Psittacorum regio’? This beautiful book takes a close look at parrots in Australia, from the first published illustration of an Australian parrot—a Rainbow Lorikeet collected live on Cook’s 1770 voyage—to William T. Cooper’s twentieth-century watercolour of the elusive Night Parrot.
     With introductory essays by ornithologist Penny Olsen, Flocks of Colour covers two and a quarter centuries of discovery and illustration of Australia’s avifauna. It features a rich portfolio of images of all the Australian parrots, by various artists including John Gould, Edward Lear, Neville W. Cayley and William T. Cooper, selected from the collections of the National Library of Australia, The foreword is by Joseph Forshaw, a world expert on the parrot family.
RECOMMENDATION: This title would make a nice gift book for someone with an interest in Australian parrots and/or bird art.

 

Best Bird Books of 2013

Best Bird Books of 2013
The following are my picks for the best bird books of 2013:

BEST BOOK:
             
                                                           
1) Stephenson, Tom and Scott Whittle. The Warbler Guide. 2013. Princeton University Press. Flexicover: 560 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Warblers are among the most challenging birds to identify. They exhibit an array of seasonal plumages and have distinctive yet oft-confused calls and songs. The Warbler Guide enables you to quickly identify any of the 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada. This groundbreaking guide features more than 1,000 stunning color photos, extensive species accounts with multiple viewing angles, and an entirely new system of vocalization analysis that helps you effectively learn songs and calls.
The Warbler Guide revolutionizes birdwatching, making warbler identification easier than ever before. For more information, please see the author videos on the Princeton University Press website.
This guide includes:
  • Covers all 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada
  • Visual quick finders help you identify warblers from any angle
  • Song and call finders make identification easy using a few simple questions
  • Uses sonograms to teach a new system of song identification that makes it easier to understand and hear differences between similar species
  • Detailed species accounts show multiple views with diagnostic points, direct comparisons of plumage and vocalizations with similar species, and complete aging and sexing descriptions
  • New aids to identification include song mnemonics and icons for undertail pattern, color impression, habitat, and behavior
  • Includes field exercises, flight shots, general identification strategies, and quizzes
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for birders with an interest in these birds!



HONORABLE MENTIONS:
 
                                 


1) Cocker, Mark and David Tipling. Birds and People. 2013. Jonathan Cape. Hardbound: 592 pages. Price: $65.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The definitive groundbreaking book on the relationship between birds and humankind, with contributions from more than 600 bird enthusiasts from all over the world Part natural history and part cultural study, this book describes and maps the entire spectrum of human engagements with birds, drawing in themes of history, literature, art, cuisine, language, lore, politics, and the environment. Vast in both scope and scale, it draws upon Mark Cocker's 40 years of observing and thinking about birds to celebrate this relationship. The book is as important for its visual riches as it is for its groundbreaking content, as one of Europe's best wildlife photographers has traveled in 39 countries on seven continents to produce a breathtaking and unique collection of photographs. The author solicited contributions from people worldwide, and personal anecdotes and stories have come from more than 600 individuals of 81 different nationalities, ranging from university academics to Mongolian eagle hunters, and from Amerindian shamans to highly celebrated writers. The sheer multitude of voices in this global chorus means that it is both a source book on why we cherish birds and a powerful testament to their importance for all humanity. Endorsed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Birdlife International.
RECOMMENDATION: This book would make a nice gift for any birder! 
 





2) Behrens, Ken, and Cameron Cox. Peterson Reference Guide to Seawatching: Eastern Waterbirds in Flight. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 602 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Seawatching is the challenging act of identifying waterbirds in flight. Since more than one hundred different species can fly past an observation point, often at great speed or in tightly packed, mixed-species flocks, identification of these distant shapes can be a mystery. The keys to the mystery—the subtle traits that unlock the identity of flying waterbirds, be it wingbeat cadence, individual structure, flock shape and behavior, or subtle flashes of color—are revealed in this guide.
      Though commonly called seawatching, this on-the-fly observation and identification method is by no means restricted to the coast. There are impressive waterbird migrations on the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, and many inland lakes and rivers. Nor is it restricted to migrating waterfowl, as the principles of flight identification apply as effectively to ducks flushed off a pond as to distant migrating flocks. Like Hawks in Flight and The Shorebird Guide, the Peterson Reference Guide to Seawatching breaks new ground, provides cutting-edge techniques, and pushes the envelope in bird identification even further.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for birders in eastern North America!




3) Forshaw, Joseph M. and Mark Shephard. Grassfinches In Australia. 2012. CSIRO Publishing. Hardbound: 318 pages. Price: $194.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: It is not surprising that Australian grassfinches are highly popular with ornithologists and aviculturists, for included among the species are one of the most beautiful of all birds – the Gouldian Finch Erythrura gouldiae – and one of the most familiar cagebirds – the Zebra Finch Taeniopygia guttata.
     Despite a scarcity in published works on finches, interest in the species is growing, leading to a dramatic advancement in our knowledge of many species. For example, we have gained new information from field observations carried out on little-known species, including the Blue-faced Parrot-Finch Erythrura trichroa and the Red-eared Firetail Stagonopleura oculata. Significant advances in taxonomic research, largely as a consequence of the development and refinement of biochemical analyses, often involving DNA-DNA hybridisation, have given us a new insight into relationships among species, with some unexpected alliances being determined. Additionally, dramatic changes have taken place in avicultural practices, and in virtually all countries aviculture has taken on a new professional approach, with the most notable results being increased productivity and success with a wider variety of species.
     After a lapse of almost half a century since publication of Klaus Immelmann’s eminent work on finches, based on extensive field studies, the time has come for a new examination of Australian grassfinches. In Grassfinches in Australia, Joseph Forshaw, Mark Shephard and Anthony Pridham have summarised our present knowledge of each species, and have given readers a visual appreciation of the birds in their natural habitats and in aviculture. The resulting combination of superb artwork and scientifically accurate text ensures that this volume will become the standard reference work on Australian grassfinches. In addition to enabling aviculturists to know more about these finches in the wild as a guide to their own husbandry techniques, detailed information on current management practices for all species in captivity is provided. The book also includes colour plates depicting some of the more common mutations held in Australian and overseas collections.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those with an interest in these finches and/or collectors of bird art.






4) Poonswad, Pilai, Alan Kemp, and Morten Strange. Hornbills of the World: A Photographic Guide. 2013. Draco Publishing and Hornbill Research Foundation. Paperback: 212 pages. Price: $65.00 U.S./ £44.99.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Hornbills (order: Bucerotiformes) are a group of distinctive and charismatic birds found only in Tropical Asia and sub-saharan Africa. There are two families (Bucorvidae and Bucerotidae), 15 genera, 57 species and 75 subspecies; 32 species are in Asia and 25 species in Africa. They are mostly large in size and have long bills surmounted in many species by a conspicuous casque. Hornbills are omnivorous, but each species feeds predominately on fruits or small animals. Many hornbills are important seed dispersers and benefit the forest ecology. During the breeding season, the female enters a nesting cavity, usually in a large hardwood tree. she seals herself inside the cavity in the majority of species and stays there for much of the nesting cycle while the male brings food to her and her young. Most hornbill species are forest birds, dependant on large expanses of primary tropical rainforest for habitat, while some inhabit drier savanna, but all are vulnerable to disturbance and habitat loss.
      Hornbills of the World is the first authoritative photographic guide to the order. All species are described and illustrated in multiple photographs showing both male and female, and distinct subspecies. There is additional information on:
- Evolution, Distribution and Relationships
- General Habits
- Feeding Ecology
- Breeding Ecology
- Social Life
- Threats and Conservation

RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in these birds! This title is available in North Amerca from Buteo Books:


and in the United Kingdom from nhbs.com:

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                                   Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-299-300/

Monday, December 9, 2013

New Titles





1) Fraser, Ian and Jeannie Gray. Australian Bird Names: A Complete Guide. 2013. CSIRO Publishing. Paperback: 336 pages. Price: $55.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Australian Bird Names is aimed at anyone with an interest in birds, words, or the history of Australian biology and bird-watching. It discusses common and scientific names of every Australian bird, to tease out the meanings, which may be useful, useless or downright misleading!
The authors examine every species: its often many-and-varied common names, its full scientific name, with derivation, translation and a guide to pronunciation. Stories behind the name are included, as well as relevant aspects of biology, conservation and history. Original descriptions, translated by the authors, have been sourced for many species.
As well as being a book about names this is a book about the history of ever-developing understandings of birds, about the people who contributed and, most of all, about the birds themselves.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with a serious interest in the birds of Australia or ornithological nomenclature.
 
2) Frith, Clifford B.. The Woodhen: A Flightless Island Bird Defying Extinction. 2013. CSIRO Publishing. Hardbound: 225 pages. Price: $59.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This book tells the fascinating success story of saving the flightless Woodhen of Lord Howe Island. This unique large rail, an iconic and highly endangered Australian bird, was at the very brink of extinction with just 15 individuals found in 1980, when bold and risky actions were taken to save it.
The book begins with the discovery and ecology of Lord Howe Island. It then details the history of the Woodhen, its place among the rails and their evolution of flightlessness, the planning, implementation and trials, tribulations and successes of the captive breeding programme and the way in which the wild population recovered. The ecology, behaviour and breeding biology of this unique flightless island rail are also discussed. The text is accompanied by numerous photographs and drawings.
This is a story of survival, yet the bird remains highly endangered as it is under constant potential threat, which could tip it over the brink and to extinction. The Woodhen provides gripping insights into the potential for both losing and saving vertebrate species.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in rails and/or island biogeography.
 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New Title

1) Anonymous. Going, Going, Gone: 100 animals and plants on the verge of extinction. 2013. Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 223 pages. Price: $34.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: We asked 100 conservation groups around the world: 'if you could pick one species that epitomises your work, which would it be?' From the RSPB to WWF to the Cheetah Conservation Fund, and many, many more, the answers came rolling in. Each provided a synopsis of the threats faced by their selected species, a summary of their degree of threat, an outline of the work being done to save them, and a number of ways in which the reader could help to conserve that species.
      With beautiful full-page photographs of each of the 100 species, this is a book that will both fascinate and educate and, hopefully, help to secure the future of the threatened animals and plants that it showcases.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to endangered species.
 

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                                 Photo by: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-297-298/

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Title


1) Losos, Jonathan (Editor-in-Chief). The Princeton Guide to Evolution. 2013. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 853 pages. Price: $99.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The Princeton Guide to Evolution is a comprehensive, concise, and authoritative reference to the major subjects and key concepts in evolutionary biology, from genes to mass extinctions. Edited by a distinguished team of evolutionary biologists, with contributions from leading researchers, the guide contains more than 100 clear, accurate, and up-to-date articles on the most important topics in seven major areas: phylogenetics and the history of life; selection and adaptation; evolutionary processes; genes, genomes, and phenotypes; speciation and macroevolution; evolution of behavior, society, and humans; and evolution and modern society. Complete with more than 100 illustrations (including eight pages in color), glossaries of key terms, suggestions for further reading on each topic, and an index, this is an essential volume for undergraduate and graduate students, scientists in related fields, and anyone else with a serious interest in evolution. This book features:
  • Explains key topics in more than 100 concise and authoritative articles written by a team of leading evolutionary biologists
  • Contains more than 100 illustrations, including eight pages in color
  • Each article includes an outline, glossary, bibliography, and cross-references
  • Covers phylogenetics and the history of life; selection and adaptation; evolutionary processes; genes, genomes, and phenotypes; speciation and macroevolution; evolution of behavior, society, and humans; and evolution and modern society

RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with a technical interest in evolution.
 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

New Title


1) Sloan, Robin. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. 2013. Picador. Paperback: 288 pages. Price: $15.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY:The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.
RECOMMENDATION: This well received book is now available in paperback.
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Title

1) Anton, Mauricio. Sabertooth. 2013. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 245 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: With their spectacularly enlarged canines, sabertooth cats are among the most popular of prehistoric animals, yet it is surprising how little information about them is available for the curious layperson. What’s more, there were other sabertooths that were not cats, animals with exotic names like nimravids, barbourofelids, and thylacosmilids. Some were no taller than a domestic cat, others were larger than a lion, and some were as weird as their names suggest. Sabertooths continue to pose questions even for specialists. What did they look like? How did they use their spectacular canine teeth? And why did they finally go extinct? In this visual and intellectual treat of a book, Mauricio Antón tells their story in words and pictures, all scrupulously based on the latest scientific research. The book is a glorious wedding of science and art that celebrates the remarkable diversity of the life of the not-so-distant past.
RECOMMENDATION: This well illustrated book is a must have for anyone with an interest in these animals. The book trailer can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/mz1dtPK6VsU
 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                             Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman


My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-295-296/

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New Title

1) Barash, David P.. Homo Mysterious: Evolutionary Puzzles of Human Nature. 2013. Oxford University Press. Paperback: 329 pages. Price: $19.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: For all that science knows about the living world, notes David P. Barash, there are even more things that we don't know, genuine evolutionary mysteries that perplex the best minds in biology. Paradoxically, many of these mysteries are very close to home, involving some of the most personal aspects of being human.
Homo Mysterious examines a number of these evolutionary mysteries, exploring things that we don't yet know about ourselves, laying out the best current hypotheses, and pointing toward insights that scientists are just beginning to glimpse. Why do women experience orgasm? Why do men have a shorter lifespan than women? Why does homosexuality exist? Why does religion exist in virtually every culture? Why do we have a fondness for the arts? Why do we have such large brains? And why does consciousness exist? Readers are plunged into an ocean of unknowns--the blank spots on the human evolutionary map, the terra incognita of our own species--and are introduced to the major hypotheses that currently occupy scientists who are attempting to unravel each puzzle (including some solutions proposed here for the first time). Throughout the book, readers are invited to share the thrill of science at its cutting edge, a place where we know what we don't know, and, moreover, where we know enough to come up with some compelling and seductive explanations.
Homo Mysterious is a guide to creative thought and future explorations, based on the best, most current thinking by evolutionary scientists. It captures the allure of the "not-yet-known" for those interested in stretching their scientific imaginations.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in Human evolutionary biology.
 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Title

1) Cranshaw, Whitney and Richard Redak. Bugs Rule! An Introduction to the World of Insects. 2013. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 480 pages. Price: $55.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Bugs Rule! provides a lively introduction to the biology and natural history of insects and their noninsect cousins, such as spiders, scorpions, and centipedes. This richly illustrated textbook features more than 830 color photos, a concise overview of the basics of entomology, and numerous sidebars that highlight and explain key points. Detailed chapters cover each of the major insect groups, describing their physiology, behaviors, feeding habits, reproduction, human interactions, and more.
     Ideal for nonscience majors and anyone seeking to learn more about insects and their arthropod relatives, Bugs Rule! offers a one-of-a-kind gateway into the world of these amazing creatures.
     This book features:
  • Places a greater emphasis on natural history than standard textbooks on the subject
  • Covers the biology and natural history of all the insect orders
  • Provides a thorough review of the noninsect arthropods, such as spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, and crustaceans
  • Features more than 830 color photos
  • Highlights the importance of insects and other arthropods, including their impact on human society
  • An online illustration package is available to professors.

RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to the insects.
 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                                 Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman


My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-294/

Saturday, November 2, 2013

New Title


1) Crossley, Richard and Dominic Couzens. The Crossley ID Guide: Britain & Ireland. 2013. Princeton University Press/Crossley Books. Flexicover: 301 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This guide is a celebration of the beauty of birds and the British and Irish countryside. Aimed at beginner and intermediate birders, yet suitable for all levels, this new volume in the groundbreaking Crossley ID Guide series is the most user-friendly guide to the birds of Britain and Ireland. Following The Crossley ID Guides' award-winning design, this book looks at all regularly occurring species in Britain and Ireland, and shows readers how to identify birds in their natural habitats using size, structure, shape, probability, and behavior--just like the experts do! Stunning images are accompanied by the colorful and compelling text of Dominic Couzens, one of Britain's leading nature writers.
      This unique book treats more than 300 species--all the regularly occurring birds likely to be encountered by observers--and the guide's attractive pages provide a real-life approach to bird identification. Beautiful, in-focus scenes present birds in various plumages and in lifelike poses set in identifiable British and Irish habitats. The plates also illustrate how a bird's appearance changes with distance. Organizing images in cohesive, easy-to-understand plates rather than as separate photographs, this book also sets itself apart by containing more images that demonstrate flight, behavior, habitat, and plumages than any other volume available. Not only is this field guide a reference book, it is also a spectacular teaching resource that makes it easy for nature enthusiasts to see and appreciate the big picture of bird identification.
       This book features:
  • The most user-friendly guide to the birds of Britain and Ireland
  • A close look at more than 300 regularly occurring species
  • Award-winning Crossley ID Guide design
  • Lifelike images of birds from near to far
  • A celebration of the British and Irish countryside
  • A teaching and field guide and essential reference
  • Concise and compelling text by Dominic Couzens and Richard Crossley

RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the Crossley guides will enjoy this book. The overall page size is smaller than the previous books in this series.

Monday, October 28, 2013

New Title

1) Sinclair, Ian and Olivier Langrand. Chamberlain's Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Réunion and the Comoros (3rd edition). 2013. Struik Nature. Paperback: 263 pages. Price: $29.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands is a comprehensive guide to the bird life of Madagascar, the Seychelles, the Comoros, and the Mascarenes – an area that boasts high levels of endemism. This new, expanded edition is fully updated to reflect taxonomic changes, and now describes and illustrates 502 species. The species accounts cover the birds’ appearance, basic behaviour, preferred habitats, geographical distribution and IUCN threat status. The text is complemented by newly designed plates with labels pinpointing key differentiating features. The introduction includes maps for each island, lists the region’s 211 endemic species, and gives pointers on where to go bird-watching.
RECOMMENDATION: The page count has increased from 184 to 263. Probably the most useful guide to the region.
 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                               Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-293/

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New Title

1) Sweet, Paul. Natural Histories: Extraordinary Birds. 2013. Sterling. Boxed set with paperback book and 40 plates. Price: $50.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Extraordinary Birds follows the success of Natural Histories, and is the next compendium in this well-received series that marries art and thought-provoking science. American Museum of Natural History ornithologist Paul Sweet takes readers on a migratory journey across the globe, introducing them to unique and exquisite birds, as well as to groundbreaking avian studies from the past 500 years. Featuring 40 frameable prints and an equal number of fascinating, in-depth essays, this stunning collection gives bird lovers a precious look at illustrated ornithological monographs from the museum's Rare Book Collections.
RECOMMENDATION: Collectors of bird art and bird books will enjoy this book.
 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Title

1) Pratt, H. Douglas. A Pocket Guide to Hawaii's Birds and Their Habitats. 2013. Mutual Publishing. Paperback: 120 pages. Price: $8.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This guide is an introduction to the beautiful and varied birds that inhabit America's only tropical state. Whether you are a visitor or a resident, you will find something in these pages that will broaden your horizons and increase your knowledge and appreciation of the birds and the environment of this unique archipelago.
      While not a "field guide" in the usual sense, this fact-packed volume helps identify all the birds likely to be seen while walking, hiking, or exploring the islands' many natural treasures. In fact, it covers more species than any other small guidebook available today. You will learn how Hawaii's modern bird community came to be, from the tragic history of the native birds of ancient Hawaii to the dozens of immigrant species seen today.
      You will learn the special nature of island forest and wetland birds, the long and sad story of the extinction of so many species, how seabirds have made these islands their home, base and how Hawaii came to have more introduced species than anywhere else in the world. You will find valuable information about where to see the remaining native birds as well their naturalized neighbors.
      Perhaps this book will be the start of a new passion for you, or just give you some interesting facts about the birds that can be seen every day. Either way, it is sure to open your eyes to island beauties you may have overlooked before.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction to the birdlife of Hawaii.
 

Monday, October 21, 2013

New Title

1) Pratchett, Terry. The Carpet People. 2013. Clarion Books. Hardbound: 294 pages. Price: $17.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In the beginning, there was nothing but endless flatness. Then came the Carpet . . .
      That’s the old story everyone knows and loves. But now the Carpet is home to many different tribes and peoples, and there’s a new story in the making. The story of Fray, sweeping a trail of destruction across the Carpet. The story of power-hungry mouls—and of two brothers who set out on an adventure to end all adventures when their village is flattened.
      It’s a story that will come to a terrible end—if someone doesn't do something about it. If everyone doesn’t do something about it . . .
      First published in 1971, this hilarious and wise novel marked the debut of the phenomenal Sir Terry Pratchett. Years later, Sir Terry revised the work, and this special collectable edition includes the updated text, his original color and black-and-white illustrations, and an exclusive story—a forerunner to The Carpet People created by the seventeen-year-old nascent writer who would become one of the world's most beloved storytellers.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of Pratchett's work will enjoy this book!
 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Weekly Birdbooker Report


                                                 Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman


My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-291-292/

Saturday, October 19, 2013

New Title

1) Scheiber, Isabella B.R. et al. (editors). The Social Life of Greylag Geese: Patterns, Mechanisms and Evolutionary Function in an Avian Model System. 2013. Cambridge University Press. Hardbound: 237 pages. Price: $99.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The flock of greylag geese established by Konrad Lorenz in Austria in 1973 has become an influential model animal system and one of the few worldwide with complete life-history data spanning several decades. Based on the unique records of nearly 1000 free-living greylag geese, this is a synthesis of more than 20 years of behavioural research. It provides a comprehensive overview of a complex bird society, placing it in an evolutionary framework and drawing on a range of approaches, including behavioural (personality, aggression, pair bonding and clan formation), physiological, cognitive and genetic. With contributions from leading researchers, the chapters provide valuable insight into historic and recent research on the social behaviour of geese. All aspects of goose and bird sociality are discussed in the context of parallels with mammalian social organisation, making this a fascinating resource for anyone interested in integrative approaches to vertebrate social systems.
      This book features:
  • Synthesises more than 20 years of published and unpublished data collected from a renowned animal model system, providing an overview of historic and recent research on goose social behaviour
  • Leaders in the field address animal behaviour from a variety of perspectives, including evolutionary, physiological and cognitive approaches
  • The data is complemented by anecdotal evidence from the past 20 years, making this a fascinating resource for anyone interested in integrative approaches to vertebrate social systems
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in this species.
 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Titles

1) Olsen, Klaus Malling and Hans Larsson. Skuas and Jaegers: A Guide to the Skuas and Jaegers of the World. 1997 (reprinted 2013). Helm. Hardbound: 190 pages. Price: $86.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Skuas (and jaegers) are a fascinating and ­popular group of seabirds that make up a subfamily of just seven species. They can be ­divided into two main groups: the larger species of Catharacta skuas which are mainly found in the southern hemisphere (with Great Skua breeding­ in the north), and the three Stercorarius species (also known as jaegers) which breed in the ­northern hemisphere. Both northern and southern skuas breed at high latitudes and several ­species are long-distance migrants, ­performing spectacular migrations through most of the world's oceans, ­sometimes even flying overland.
      The individual plumage variation in some species is enormous, creating one of the most puzzling yet fascinating challenges in modern field identification. This is the first complete identification guide to the skuas of the world. It is designed to enable species ­identification and correct ­ageing, and the information presented is based on years of study in the field, detailed
examination of photographs and ­museum skins, and ­extensive research of the ­relevant literature.
      The comprehensive text is accompanied by twelve exquisite colour plates by Hans Larsson, illustrating a wide range of plumages. In ­addition, there are eight pages of colour ­photographs and numerous black and white photographs and drawings that show key ­identification ­features. With this book, the seabird enthusiast­ should at last be able to ­identify almost every skua encountered, whether on a seawatch or at sea.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those with an interest in these species.
 


2) Shrubb, Michael. Feasting, Fowling and Feathers: A History of the Exploitation of Wild Birds. 2013. T & A D Poyser. Hardbound: 264 pages. Price: $86.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The way wild birds have been exploited over the centuries forms the focus of this remarkable new book by Michael Shrubb. It looks at the use of birds as food, for feathers and skins, for eggs, as cage birds, as specimens and for hunting, focusing on Britain, northern Europe and the North Atlantic. Never before has a book brought the huge amount of information on these topics in the academic literature together under one cover.
     Introductory chapters on what was taken, when, why and its impact are followed by a number of sections looking in detail at important bird groups. Along with discussions of broader themes of exploitation, the book is packed with amazing facts. For example, we learn:

• why Grey Herons were so important in medieval falconry
• why the Black Death was good news for bustards
• why Napoleon is to blame for the scarcity of Quail in Britain today
• when tame plover stew was all the rage

      The book concludes with discussions of the cage bird and plumage trades, both now consigned to the annals of history, in Britain at any rate. As well as summarising and condensing the material into a readable and entertaining account, Shrubb goes back to the original sources. This has allowed him to shed new and surprising light on the biogeography of a number of British birds.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in this topic or that collect the Poyser monograph series.



3) Titus, Alan L. and Mark A. Loewen (editors). At the Top of the Grand Staircase: The Late Cretaceous of Southern Utah. 2013. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 634 pages. Price: $85.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah is the location of one of the best-known terrestrial records for the late Cretaceous. A major effort in the new century has documented over 2,000 new vertebrate fossil sites, provided new radiometric dates, and identified five new genera of ceratopsids, two new species of hadrosaur, a probable new genus of hypsilophodontid, new pachycephalosaurs and ankylosaurs, several kinds of theropods (including a new genus of oviraptor and a new tyrannosaur), plus the most complete specimen of a Late Cretaceous therizinosaur ever collected from North America, and much more. At the Top of the Grand Staircase: The Late Cretaceous of Southern Utah documents this major stepping stone toward a synthesis of the ecology and evolution of the Late Cretaceous ecosystems of western North America.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in this subject.
 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

New Title

1) Gilbert, Elizabeth. The Signature of All Things. 2013. Viking. Hardbound 501 pages. Price: $28.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.
      Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, The Signature of All Things soars across the globe from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert s wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers.
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed the author's other books, you should enjoy this one.

 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New Titles

1) Lieberman, Daniel E.. The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease. 2013. Pantheon. Hardbound: 461 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In this landmark book of popular science, Daniel E. Lieberman—chair of the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a leader in the field—gives us a lucid and engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years, even as it shows how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and advancements in the modern world is occasioning this paradox: greater longevity but increased chronic disease.
      The Story of the Human Body brilliantly illuminates as never before the major transformations that contributed key adaptations to the body: the rise of bipedalism; the shift to a non-fruit-based diet; the advent of hunting and gathering, leading to our superlative endurance athleticism; the development of a very large brain; and the incipience of cultural proficiencies. Lieberman also elucidates how cultural evolution differs from biological evolution, and how our bodies were further transformed during the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions.
      While these ongoing changes have brought about many benefits, they have also created conditions to which our bodies are not entirely adapted, Lieberman argues, resulting in the growing incidence of obesity and new but avoidable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Lieberman proposes that many of these chronic illnesses persist and in some cases are intensifying because of “dysevolution,” a pernicious dynamic whereby only the symptoms rather than the causes of these maladies are treated. And finally—provocatively—he advocates the use of evolutionary information to help nudge, push, and sometimes even compel us to create a more salubrious environment.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting overview of Human evolution.
 

2) VanderMeer, Jeff. Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. 2013. Abrams. Paperback: 332 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This all-new definitive guide to writing imaginative fiction takes a completely novel approach and fully exploits the visual nature of fantasy through original drawings, maps, renderings, and exercises to create a spectacularly beautiful and inspiring object. Employing an accessible, example-rich approach, Wonderbook energizes and motivates while also providing practical, nuts-and-bolts information needed to improve as a writer. Aimed at aspiring and intermediate-level writers, Wonderbook includes helpful sidebars and essays from some of the biggest names in fantasy today, such as George R. R. Martin, Lev Grossman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, Catherynne M. Valente, and Karen Joy Fowler, to name a few.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting illustrated approach to writing fiction.
 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Weekly Birdbooker Report

                                               Photo copyright: Joe Fuhrman

My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-290/

Saturday, October 5, 2013

New Title

1) Fleming, Theodore H.. and W. John Kress. The Ornaments of Life: Coevolution and Conservation in the Tropics. 2013. The University of Chicago Press. Paperback: 588 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The average kilometer of tropical rainforest is teeming with life; it contains thousands of species of plants and animals. As The Ornaments of Life reveals, many of the most colorful and eye-catching rainforest inhabitants—toucans, monkeys, leaf-nosed bats, and hummingbirds to name a few—are an important component of the infrastructure that supports life in the forest. These fruit-and-nectar eating birds and mammals pollinate the flowers and disperse the seeds of hundreds of tropical plants, and unlike temperate communities, much of this greenery relies exclusively on animals for reproduction.
Synthesizing recent research by ecologists and evolutionary biologists, Theodore H. Fleming and W. John Kress demonstrate the tremendous functional and evolutionary importance of these tropical pollinators and frugivores. They shed light on how these mutually symbiotic relationships evolved and lay out the current conservation status of these essential species. In order to illustrate the striking beauty of these “ornaments” of the rainforest, the authors have included a series of breathtaking color plates and full-color graphs and diagrams.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in tropical ecology.
 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New Title


1) Baggott, Jim. Higgs: The Invention and Discovery of the "God Particle". 2013. Oxford University Press. Paperback: 27 pages. Price: $15.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The hunt for the Higgs particle has involved the biggest, most expensive experiment ever. So what is this particle called the Higgs boson? Why does it matter so much? What does this "God particle" tells us about the Universe? And was finding it really worth all the effort?
      The short answer is yes, and there was much at stake: our basic model for the building blocks of the Universe, the Standard Model, would have been in tatters if there was no Higgs particle. The Higgs field had been proposed as the way in which particles gain mass - a fundamental property of matter. Little wonder the hunt and discovery have produced such intense media interest.
      Here, Jim Baggott explains the science behind the discovery, looking at how the concept of a Higgs field was invented, how it is part of the Standard Model, and its implications on our understanding of all mass in the Universe.
      This book features:*A non-technical account of the invention and discovery of the Higgs boson
*Explores the scientific background to the Higgs particle - how the theory was developed, its significance, and how it was discovered
*Explains the importance of the discovery and what it means for our understanding of the Universe
*Tackles a major discovery about the nature of the universe - a topic of wide interest and curiosity
RECOMMENDATION: Now available in paperback. For those with an interest in particle physics.