Thursday, June 22, 2017

New Title



1) Ryan, Peter. Guide to Seabirds of Southern Africa. 2017. Struik Nature. Paperback: 160 pages. Price: $14.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A field guide to the seabirds that occur around the southern African coastline. Written by a specialist in the field of seabirds, the book focuses on the ID and behaviour of 135 species of seabird commonly seen around the coast and in the seas of the region. The text is supported with photographs (multiple images per bird where available) and distribution maps for all species. • An essential ID guide to all southern African seabird species. • Expert author, Peter Ryan – Director of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute. • Outstanding photographs vividly showcase each species • Introductory text covers species, origins, feeding, breeding and conservation.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interested in Southern African seabirds.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Title



1) Chandler, David. RSPB Spotlight Kingfishers. 2017. Bloomsbury. Paperback: 128 pages. Price: $18.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Usually observed as a flash of blue and orange from a riverbank, most people are aware of Kingfishers, but few of us are familiar with the intricacies of their day-to-day lives.
    With their long, dagger-like bills, bright blue plumage and characteristic fast, low flight over water, Common Kingfishers are instantly recognizable thanks to a massive range that stretches from Ireland, across Europe, North Africa and Asia as far as Australasia. The 90 or so species that belong to this colorful family have a cosmopolitan distribution and, in Spotlight Kingfishers, David Chandler celebrates their remarkable existence, studying their unique adaptations--including their ability to see prey under water--and examines their courtship, breeding and feeding habits. David investigates historical threats to Kingfisher populations, considers their future, and offers practical advice on how to find and see these glorious birds.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interested in the Common Kingfisher.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

New Titles



1) James, Matthew. Collecting Evolution: The Galapagos Expedition that Vindicated Darwin. 2017. Oxford University Press. Hardbound: 284 pages. Price: $34.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In 1905, eight men from the California Academy of Sciences set sail from San Francisco for a scientific collection expedition in the Galapagos Islands, and by the time they were finished in 1906, they had completed one of the most important expeditions in the history of both evolutionary and conservation science. These scientists collected over 78,000 specimens during their time on the islands, validating the work of Charles Darwin and laying the groundwork for foundational evolution texts like Darwin's Finches. Despite its significance, almost nothing has been written on this voyage, lost amongst discussion of Darwin's trip on the Beagle and the writing of David Lack.
     In Collecting Evolution, author Matthew James finally tells the story of the 1905 Galapagos expedition. James follows these eight young men aboard the Academy to the Galapagos and back, and reveals the reasons behind the groundbreaking success they had. A current Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, James uses his access to unpublished writings and photographs to provide unprecedented insight into the expedition. We learn the voyagers' personal stories, and how, for all the scientific progress that was made, just as much intense personal drama unfolded on the trip. This book shares a watershed moment in scientific history, crossed with a maritime adventure. There are four tangential suicides and controversies over credit and fame. Collecting Evolution also explores the personal lives and scientific context that preceded this voyage, including what brought Darwin to the Galapagos on the Beagle voyage seventy years earlier. James discusses how these men thought of themselves as "collectors" before they thought of themselves as scientists, and the implications this had on their approach and their results.
     In the end, the voyage of the Academy proved to be crucial in the development of evolutionary science as we know it. It is the longest expedition in Galapagos history, and played a critical role in cementing Darwin's legacy. Collecting Evolution brings this extraordinary story of eight scientists and their journey to life.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interested in the history of scientific exploration.


2) Smalley, Andrea L.. Wild by Nature: North American Animals Confront Colonization. 2017.  Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 334 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: From the time Europeans first came to the New World until the closing of the frontier, the benefits of abundant wild animals―from beavers and wolves to fish, deer, and bison―appeared as a recurring theme in colonizing discourses. Explorers, travelers, surveyors, naturalists, and other promoters routinely advertised the richness of the American faunal environment and speculated about the ways in which animals could be made to serve their colonial projects. In practice, however, American animals proved far less malleable to colonizers’ designs. Their behaviors constrained an English colonial vision of a reinvented and rationalized American landscape.
     In Wild by Nature, Andrea L. Smalley argues that Anglo-American authorities’ unceasing efforts to convert indigenous beasts into colonized creatures frequently produced unsettling results that threatened colonizers’ control over the land and the people. Not simply acted upon by being commodified, harvested, and exterminated, wild animals were active subjects in the colonial story, altering its outcome in unanticipated ways. These creatures became legal actors―subjects of statutes, issues in court cases, and parties to treaties―in a centuries-long colonizing process that was reenacted on successive wild animal frontiers.
     Following a trail of human–animal encounters from the seventeenth-century Chesapeake to the Civil War–era southern plains, Smalley shows how wild beasts and their human pursuers repeatedly transgressed the lines lawmakers drew to demarcate colonial sovereignty and control, confounding attempts to enclose both people and animals inside a legal frame. She also explores how, to possess the land, colonizers had to find new ways to contain animals without destroying the wildness that made those creatures valuable to English settler societies in the first place. Offering fresh perspectives on colonial, legal, environmental, and Native American history, Wild by Nature reenvisions the familiar stories of early America as animal tales.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interested in American environmental history.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

New Title


1) Gregory, Phil. Birds of New Guinea: Including Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville. 2017.  Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 464 pages. Price: $85.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This is the first field guide to cover the entire New Guinea region, comprising Indonesian West Papua (including the West Papuan Islands, Geelvink Bay Islands and Aru Islands) and Papua New Guinea and its associated islands, the Bismarcks and Bougainville. All of the 943 species known to occur are covered, including the extraordinarily high total of 456 endemics, as well as 5 introduced species, 2 species yet to be formally described and a separate appendix with 75 vagrants. Subspecies are listed also to give a comprehensive overview of the remarkable regional avifauna.New Guinea is the second largest island in the world and many of its ecosystems are as yet relatively intact. There are 7 endemic families, and the region is the major centre of diversity for pigeons and doves, kingfishers, parrots, honeyeaters and birds of paradise, with an astonishing diversity and morphological variation and including some of the most sought-after species in the world.
     The author has over 25 years experience in the region, living there for some 7 years and travelling widely on birding and research trips, which has given him valuable experience and insight into the avifauna that he has shared with hundreds of people over the years. The artists from Lynx Edicions have worked on many new and revised plates, which give an excellent visual coverage of the avifauna, with over 1780 illustrations. The taxonomy is up-to-date and the distribution maps have been carefully prepared and revised, whilst field identification and vocalizations are a major interest and should make this book an essential and compact reference companion to anyone birding in the region.
RECOMMENDATION: It's a little thinner and a bit heavier than the Pratt and Beehler guide.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

New Title


1) Ellis, Richard and James G. Mead. Beaked Whales: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Conservation. 2017. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 194 pages. Price: $79.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Beaked whales have been shrouded in mystery for most of the twentieth century. Denizens of deep, remote ocean waters and highly resistant to life in captivity, they have proven notoriously difficult for humans to observe. Over the past few decades, however, scientists have gained a better understanding of this distinct group of cetaceans, deciphering the natural history of the twenty-two beaked whale species. Here, famed artist and naturalist Richard Ellis and leading beaked whale researcher James G. Mead bring these elusive marine mammals into the limelight.
     Beaked whales’ generous life spans can extend well past 70 years. They spend their decades diving to extreme depths in search of prey, which they capture by expanding their oral cavity suddenly to suck in the squid or fish they are hunting. It appears that these sleek predators may engage in fierce, clandestine aquatic battles, as the bodies of many males are covered in scars. Because many species are only somewhat larger than dolphins, they are often confused with porpoises; however, some larger beaked whale species may grow to 40 feet. These enigmatic and compelling creatures need our help; their numbers are declining, perhaps due to the damaging effects of naval sonar on their sophisticated auditory systems.
     In Ellis and Mead’s book, the beaked whales finally get their due. The duo provides a combination of captivating stories about the species, original Richard Ellis art, and photos from leading natural history photographers. The result is an accessible, beautiful book―the first of its kind on this unusual group of cetaceans. Meet the beaked whales, and enjoy the fascinating and mysterious world in which they live.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in beaked whales.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

New Title


1) Glassberg, Jeffrey. A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America. 2017. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 420 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A thoroughly revised edition of the most comprehensive and authoritative photographic field guide to North American butterflies.
      This is a revised second edition of the most detailed, comprehensive, and user-friendly photographic field guide to the butterflies of North America. Written by Jeffrey Glassberg, the pioneering authority on the field identification of butterflies, the guide covers all known species, beautifully illustrating them with 3,500 large, gorgeous color photographs--the very best images available. This second edition includes more than 500 new photos and updated text, maps, and species names. For most species, there are photographs of topsides and undersides, males and females, and variants. All text is embedded in the photographs, allowing swift access in the field, and arrows point to field marks, showing you exactly what to look for. Detailed, same-page range maps include information about the number of broods in each area and where strays have been recorded. Color text boxes highlight information about habitat, caterpillar food plants, abundance and flight period, and other interesting facts. Also included are a quick visual index and a caterpillar food plant index. The result is an ideal field guide that will enable you to identify almost every butterfly you see.
  • A revised second edition of the most comprehensive photographic field guide to North American butterflies, featuring more than 500 new photos and updated text, maps, and species names
  • Written by the pioneering authority on the field identification of butterflies
  • Beautifully illustrated with 3,500 color photographs that show all known species, including views of topsides and undersides, males and females, and variants for most species
  • Authoritative text embedded in the photographs for swift access
  • Detailed range maps
  • Color text boxes that highlight information about habitat, food plants, abundance and flight period, and other interesting facts
  • An invaluable tool for field identification
RECOMMENDATION: If you liked the first edition, you should like this edition.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

New Title


1) Sterry, Paul. Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America: A Life-size Guide to Every Species. 2017.  Harper Design. Hardbound: 352 pages. Price: $29.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A stunning full-color photographic field guide of 285 species of North American songbirds and warblers, captured in glorious life-sized detail and featuring concise descriptions, location maps, and useful facts for both experienced birdwatchers and armchair ornithologists alike.
     Birds such as the Acadian Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Indigo Bunting, Northern Mockingbird, Pyrrhuloxia, Rock Wren, Song Sparrow, Tree Swallow, and the Yellow-throated Warbler are known for their elaborate songs produced by their highly developed vocal organs. Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America is a breathtaking collection of 285 species of these beautiful, melodious creatures, the largest number of species in a single field guide about North American songbirds.
     Arranged by region and taxonomic order, every songbird is depicted life-sized; each photograph is accompanied by a short description with essential information on identification and the particular species, habits, and behavior. Every species entry also includes a map showing where the species can be found, as well as a fact grid listing key details such as common and scientific name, length, food, habitat, status, and voice. Inside you'll find fun facts, including:
  • Songbirds are members of the order Passeriformes, the most varied group of birds both in terms of numbers of species and diversity of appearance and habit preferences.
  • Songbirds have feet that allow them to perch with ease, with three toes pointing forward and one facing back.
  • Songbirds are extremely vocal; some male species are among the finest songsters in the bird world.
     Every photograph is gloriously detailed and chosen to show each species’ unique identification features and typical postures. Packed in a convenient portable size, Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America is ideal for the experienced birdwatcher, the aspiring naturalist, and every bird lover.

 RECOMMENDATION: The photography highlights this book.


New Title



1) Wells, Jeffrey V. et al.. Birds of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao: A Site and Field Guide. 2017. Cornell University Press. Paperback: 474 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY:  Birds of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao is the essential guide for anyone traveling to those islands. It showcases the more than 280 species seen on Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao and provides descriptions of and directions to the best places to bird, from the famous white sand beaches to hidden watering holes to the majestic national parks.
     Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao―the "ABCs"―located in the southwestern Caribbean, not far from Venezuela, share fascinating ecological features with the West Indies as well as the South American mainland, making birding on the islands unique. The identification portion of the book features endemic subspecies such as the Brown-throated Parakeet; a wide variety of wintering North American migrants; spectacular restricted-range northern South American species such as the Yellow-shouldered Parrot, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Troupial, Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, and Yellow Oriole; and West Indian species including the Pearly-eyed Thrasher and Caribbean Elaenia,
     Colorful introductory sections provide readers with a brief natural history of the islands, detailing the geography, geology, and general ecology of each. In the site guide that follows, Jeffrey V. Wells and Allison Childs Wells share their more than two decades of experience in the region, providing directions to the best birding spots. Clear, easy-to-read maps accompany each site description, along with notes about the species that birders are likely to find.
     The identification section is arranged in classic field guide format and offers vivid descriptions of each bird, along with tips on how to identify them by sight and sound. The accounts also include current status and seasonality, if relevant, and common names in English, Dutch, and Papiamento, often inspired by the unique voices of the birds, such as the “chibichibi” (Bananaquit) and “choco” (Burrowing Owl). The accompanying color plates feature the beautiful work of illustrator Robert Dean.
     The final section, on conservation, raises awareness about threats facing the birds and the habitats on which they rely and summarizes conservation initiatives and needs, offering recommendations for each island.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those birding these islands.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

New Title


1) Faust, Lynn Frierson. Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs: Identification and Natural History of the Fireflies of the Eastern and Central United States and Canada. 2017. University of Georgia Press. Paperback: 356 pages. Price: $32.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs is the first-ever comprehensive firefly guide for eastern and central North America. It is written for all those who want to know more about the amazing world of lightning bugs and learn the secrets hidden in the flash patterns of the 75+ species found in the eastern and central United States and Canada. As an independent researcher working with numerous university teams, naturalist Lynn Frierson Faust, “The Lightning Bug Lady,” has spent decades tracking the behavior and researching the habitats of these fascinating creatures.
      Based on her twenty-five years of fieldwork, this book is intended to increase understanding and appreciation of bioluminescent insects while igniting enthusiasm in a fun and informative way. Species accounts are coupled with historical backgrounds and literary epigraphs to engage and draw readers young and old into the world of these tiny sparklers. A chart documenting the flash patterns of the various species will aid in identification.
Clear photos illustrate the insects’ distinguishing physical characteristics, while habitats, seasonality, and common names are provided in easy-to-understand yet scientifically accurate language. The guide will be welcomed by everyone who wants to learn more about fireflies’ and glow-worms’ unique traits and fragile niche in the ecosystem.
Features:
Over 600 color photographs
Detailed accounts and anatomical diagrams of 75+ species, as well as aids in distinguishing between similar species
A first-of-its-kind flash-pattern chart that folds out on heavy-weight paper
Extensive scientific details written in an understandable and engaging way
Colorful common names―Twilight Bush Baby, Shadow Ghosts, Snappy Syncs, and more―for easy species identification based on flash patterns
Tips on ideal sites and times of year for firefly watching
Conservation-oriented approach

RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interested in the fireflies of the region.

Friday, May 26, 2017

New Title


1) Ashton, Nick. Early Humans (Collins New Naturalist Library). 2017. William Collins. Paperback: 354 pages. Price: about $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Our understanding of the British Palaeolithic and Mesolithic has changed dramatically over the last three decades, and yet not since H. J. Fleure's A Natural History of Man in Britain (1951) has the New Naturalist Library included a volume focused on the study of early humans and their environment. In this long overdue new book, distinguished archaeologist Nick Ashton uncovers the most recent findings, following the remarkable survival and discovery of bones, stone tools and footprints which allow us to paint a picture of the first human visitors to this remote peninsula of north-west Europe. As part of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project and subsequent research, Ashton is involved in an unrivalled collaborative effort involving archaeologists, palaeontologists, and earth scientists at different British institutes, including the Natural History Museum and the British Museum.
     Using an interdisciplinary approach, the book explores the latest discoveries such as footprints at Happisburgh, Norfolk that are thought to be nearly one million years old, flint artefacts at Pakefield in Suffolk and mammoth remains at West Runton, among others. These remarkable remnants help our quest to unravel the interactions between the changing environments and their ancient human occupants, as well as their lifestyles and migrations. Early humans colonised our remote corner of the European mainland time and again, despite being faced with ice age climates with far-reaching consequences. Setting the scene on the Norfolk coast almost a million years ago, Ashton tells the story of the fauna, flora and developing geography of Britain against the backdrop of an ever-changing climate. Above all, he explores how early people began as brief visitors to this wild remote land, but over time through better ways of acquiring food and developing new technologies, they began to tame, shape and dominate the countryside we see today.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in British paleoanthropology and/or collect the New Naturalist series.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Title


1) Menkhorst, Peter et al.. The Australian Bird Guide. 2017. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 566 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The Australian avifauna is large, diverse, and spectacular, reflecting the continent's impressive habitats and evolutionary history. Looking at more than 900 species, The Australian Bird Guide is the most comprehensive field guide on Australian birds available, and contains by far the best coverage of southern seabirds. With 249 color plates containing 4,000 stunning images, this book offers a far more in-depth treatment of subspecies, rarities, and overall plumage variation than comparative guides. The artwork meets the highest standards, and the text is rigorously accurate and current in terms of identification details, distribution, and status. The Australian Bird Guide sets a new bar for coverage of Australia's remarkable avifauna and is indispensable to all birders and naturalists interested in this area of the world, including the southern oceans.
  • Brand-new guide with an attractive look and design
  • 249 color plates containing 4,000 superb images by some of the most talented illustrators working in Australia today
  • Every bird species in Australia is covered (more than 900), including subspecies and rarities
  • Up-to-date maps reflect the latest information on distribution
  • Accurate and detailed text
 RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone birding Australia!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

New Title


1) Ascanio, David et al.. Birds of Venezuela (Helm Field Guides). 2017. Bloomsbury. Paperback: 592 pages. Price: $54.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Covering the sixth largest avifauna in the world, this important new guide is essential for anyone exploring the diverse habitats of this beautiful South American country. Birds of Venezuela - complete with authoritative text and superb colour plates - will ensure that this top birding destination is made accessible to all.
     This field guide has 248 colour plates illustrating more than 1,400 species, covering racial, sexual and seasonal plumage variations. Accompanying text is placed on facing pages for easy reference providing key information, voice and status of all species and subspecies found in the region, including Venezuela's 45 endemic species. Detailed colour distribution maps are provided for every species.
RECOMMENDATION: This book is more compact and up to date than the Hilty guide.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New Title


1) Prum, Richard. The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World - and Us. 2017. Doubleday. Hardbound: 428 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A major reimagining of how evolutionary forces work, revealing how mating preferences—what Darwin termed "the taste for the beautiful"—create the extraordinary range of ornament in the animal world.
     In the great halls of science, dogma holds that Darwin's theory of natural selection explains every branch on the tree of life: which species thrive, which wither away to extinction, and what features each evolves. But can adaptation by natural selection really account for everything we see in nature?
     Yale University ornithologist Richard Prum—reviving Darwin's own views—thinks not. Deep in tropical jungles around the world are birds with a dizzying array of appearances and mating displays: Club-winged Manakins who sing with their wings, Great Argus Pheasants who dazzle prospective mates with a four-foot-wide cone of feathers covered in golden 3D spheres, Red-capped Manakins who moonwalk. In thirty years of fieldwork, Prum has seen numerous display traits that seem disconnected from, if not outright contrary to, selection for individual survival. To explain this, he dusts off Darwin's long-neglected theory of sexual selection in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons—for the mere pleasure of it—is an independent engine of evolutionary change.
    Mate choice can drive ornamental traits from the constraints of adaptive evolution, allowing them to grow ever more elaborate. It also sets the stakes for sexual conflict, in which the sexual autonomy of the female evolves in response to male sexual control. Most crucially, this framework provides important insights into the evolution of human sexuality, particularly the ways in which female preferences have changed male bodies, and even maleness itself, through evolutionary time.
     The Evolution of Beauty presents a unique scientific vision for how nature's splendor contributes to a more complete understanding of evolution and of ourselves.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in evolutionary biology.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

New Title


1) Wesson, Rob. Darwin's First Theory: Exploring Darwin's Quest for a Theory of Earth. 2017. Pegasus Books. Hardbound: 457 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: An acclaimed geologist leads the reader on an adventure through the landscape that absorbed and inspired Charles Darwin.
     Everybody knows―or thinks they know―Charles Darwin, the father of evolution and the man who altered the way we view our place in the world. But what most people do not know is that Darwin was on board the HMS Beagle as a geologist―on a mission to examine the land, not flora and fauna.
     Retracing Darwin’s footsteps in South America and beyond, geologist Rob Wesson treks across the Andes, cruises waters charted by the Beagle, hunts for fossils in Uruguay and Argentina, and explores sites of long vanished glaciers in Scotland and Wales. As he follows Darwin’s path―literally and intellectually―Wesson experiences the land as Darwin did, engages with his observations, and tackles the same questions Darwin had about our ever-changing Earth.
     Upon his return from his five-year journey aboard the Beagle, after examining the effects of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and more, Darwin conceived his theory of subsidence and uplift‚―his first theory. These concepts and attitudes―the vastness of time; the enormous cumulative impact of almost imperceptibly slow change; change as a constant feature of the environment―underlie Darwin’s subsequent discoveries in evolution. And this peculiar way of thinking remains vitally important today as we enter the human-dominated Anthropocene age.
     Expertly interweaving science and adventure, Darwin’s First Theory is a riveting and revelatory journey around the world with one of the greatest scientific minds in history. 
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Darwin and/or geological history.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

New Title



1) Rousseau, Élise and Yann Le Bris. Horses of the World. 2017. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 536 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A beautifully illustrated and detailed guide to the world's horses.
     Horses of the World is a comprehensive, large-format overview of 570 breeds of domestic and extant wild horses, including hybrids between the two and between domestic breeds and other equids, such as zebras. This beautifully illustrated and detailed guide covers the origins of modern horses, anatomy and physiology, variation in breeds, and modern equestrian practices. The treatment of breeds is organized by country within broader geographical regions--from Eurasia through Australasia and to the Americas. Each account provides measurements (weight and height), distribution, origins and history, character and attributes, uses, and current status. Every breed is accompanied by superb color drawings--600 in total--and color photographs can be found throughout the book.
     Describing and depicting every horse breed in existence, Horses of the World will be treasured by all who are interested in these gorgeous animals.
  • A unique large-format, field-guide approach that provides complete coverage of the world's 570 horse breeds
  • 600 superb color illustrations showcasing every breed
  • Additional color photos and maps
  • Accessible text offers detailed information on each breed, including measurements, distribution, origins and history, character and attributes, uses, and current status
 RECOMMENDATION: A must have for horse lovers!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

New Title


1) Álvarez-Castañeda, Sergio Ticul et al.. Keys for Identifying Mexican Mammals (revised and updated edition). 2017. Johns Hopkins University Press. Paperback: 522 pages. Price: $44.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A remarkable achievement that took over 30 years to construct, Keys for Identifying Mexican Mammals is the only complete identification guide to Mexico’s mammalian fauna. Fully updated and revised, this bestselling book follows a bilingual arrangement, with identical information presented in Spanish and English on facing pages. The dichotomous presentation is both easy to follow and flawlessly compiled, including updated and expanded material that surpasses any previously available resource. Hundreds of diagnostic images are dispersed throughout the book, many showing minute details that differentiate one species from another, and introductory materials carefully explain the use of diagnostic features. The heart of the book, though, is the keys themselves, which cover every taxa―from artiodactyls and carnivores to primates and rodents―while allowing confident identification at the species level for both field and museum use.
     The book closes with appendices that cover preparation of specimens, a glossary, and a bibliography. Anyone with an interest in the mammalian fauna of Mexico, or mammals in general, will find this one-of-a-kind book an indispensable reference to Mexico’s rich diversity of wildlife.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a SERIOUS interest in Mexican mammals.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

New Titles


1) Emanuel, Victor with S. Kirk Walsh. One More Warbler: A Life with Birds. 2017. University of Texas Press. Hardbound: 273 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Victor Emanuel is widely considered one of America's leading birders. He has observed more than six thousand species during travels that have taken him to every continent. He founded the largest company in the world specializing in birding tours and one of the most respected ones in ecotourism. Emanuel has received some of birding's highest honors, including the Roger Tory Peterson Award from the American Birding Association and the Arthur A. Allen Award from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. He also started the first birding camps for young people, which he considers one of his greatest achievements.
     In One More Warbler, Emanuel recalls a lifetime of birding adventures—from his childhood sighting of a male Cardinal that ignited his passion for birds to a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Asia to observe all eight species of cranes of that continent. He tells fascinating stories of meeting his mentors who taught him about birds, nature, and conservation, and later, his close circle of friends—Ted Parker, Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, Roger Tory Peterson, and others—who he frequently birded and traveled with around the world. Emanuel writes about the sighting of an Eskimo Curlew, thought to be extinct, on Galveston Island; setting an all-time national record during the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count; attempting to see the Imperial Woodpecker in northwestern Mexico; and birding on the far-flung island of Attu on the Aleutian chain. Over the years, Emanuel became a dedicated mentor himself, teaching hundreds of young people the joys and enrichment of birding. "Birds changed my life," says Emanuel, and his stories make clear how a deep connection to the natural world can change everyone's life.
RECOMMENDATION: For those that like good birding stories!


2) Tyson, Neil deGrasse. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. 2017. W.W. Norton. Hardbound: 222 pages. Price: $18.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist.
     What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.
     But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.
    While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the author's other works should enjoy this one.

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.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New Title



1) Higgins, Richard. Thoreau and the Language of Trees. 2017. University of California Press. Hardbound: 231 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Trees were central to Henry David Thoreau’s creativity as a writer, his work as a naturalist, his thought, and his inner life. His portraits of them were so perfect, it was as if he could see the sap flowing beneath their bark. When Thoreau wrote that the poet loves the pine tree as his own shadow in the air, he was speaking about himself. In short, he spoke their language.
     In this original book, Richard Higgins explores Thoreau’s deep connections to trees: his keen perception of them, the joy they gave him, the poetry he saw in them, his philosophical view of them, and how they fed his soul. His lively essays show that trees were a thread connecting all parts of Thoreau’s being—heart, mind, and spirit. Included are one hundred excerpts from Thoreau’s writings about trees, paired with over sixty of the author’s photographs. Thoreau’s words are as vivid now as they were in 1890, when an English naturalist wrote that he was unusually able to “to preserve the flashing forest colors in unfading light.” Thoreau and the Language of Trees shows that Thoreau, with uncanny foresight, believed trees were essential to the preservation of the world.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of Thoreau's writings should enjoy this book.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

New Titles


1) Ewing, Susan. Resurrecting the Shark: A Scientific Obsession and the Mavericks Who Solved the Mystery of a 270-Million-Year-Old Fossil. 2017. Pegasus Books. Hardbound: 282 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A prehistoric mystery. A fossil so mesmerizing that it boggled the minds of scientists for more than a century―until a motley crew of modern day shark fanatics decided to try to bring the monster-predator back to life.
     In 1993, Alaskan artist and paleo-shark enthusiast Ray Troll stumbled upon the weirdest fossil he had ever seen―a platter-sized spiral of tightly wound shark teeth. This chance encounter in the basement of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County sparked Troll’s obsession with Helicoprion, a mysterious monster from deep time.
     In 2010, tattooed undergraduate student and returning Iraq War veteran Jesse Pruitt became seriously smitten with a Helicoprion fossil in a museum basement in Idaho. These two bizarre-shark disciples found each other, and an unconventional band of collaborators grew serendipitously around them, determined to solve the puzzle of the mysterious tooth whorl once and for all.
     Helicoprion was a Paleozoic chondrichthyan about the size of a modern great white shark, with a circular saw of teeth centered in its lower jaw―a feature unseen in the shark world before or since. For some ten million years, long before the Age of Dinosaurs, Helicoprion patrolled the shallow seas around the supercontinent Pangaea as the apex predator of its time.
     Just a few tumultuous years after Pruitt and Troll met, imagination, passion, scientific process, and state-of-the-art technology merged into an unstoppable force that reanimated the remarkable creature―and made important new discoveries.
     In this groundbreaking book, Susan Ewing reveals these revolutionary insights into what Helicoprion looked like and how the tooth whorl functioned―pushing this dazzling and awe-inspiring beast into the spotlight of modern science.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in fossil sharks. Ray Troll's artwork highlights this book!




2) Head, Vernon R.L.. The Rarest Bird in the World: The Search for the Nechisar Nightjar. 2016 (2017). Pegasus Books. Paperback: 243 pages. Price: $16.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In 1990, a group of Cambridge scientists arrived at the Plains of Nechisar in Ethiopia. On that expedition, they collected more than two dozen specimens, saw more than three hundred species of birds, and a plethora of rare butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, mammals, and plants. As they were gathering up their findings, a wing of an unidentified bird was packed into a brown paper bag. It was to become the most famous wing in the world. This wing would set the world of science aflutter. Experts were mystified. The wing was entirely unique. It was like nothing they had ever seem before. Could a new species be named based on just one wing? After much discussion, a new species was announced: Nechisar Nightjar, or Caprimulgus solala, which means "only wing." And so birdwatchers like Vernon began to dream. Twenty-two years later, he joins an expedition of four to find this rarest bird in the world. In this gem of nature writing, Vernon captivates and enchants as he recounts the searches by spotlight through the Ethiopian plains, and allows the reader to mediate on nature, exploration, our need for wild places, and the human compulsion to name things. Rarest Bird is a celebration of a certain way of seeing the world, and will bring out the explorer in in everyone who reads it.
RECOMMENDATION: The paperback version features the cover art of Julie Zickefoose.

New Titles


1) Peacock, Faansie. Chamberlain's Waders: The Definitive Guide to Southern Africa's Shorebirds. 2016. Pavo Publishing. Paperback: 256 pages. Price: £29.99 (about $37.00 U.S.).
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Waders, or shorebirds, represent only a small percentage of the world's birds, but are unparalleled in popularity among birders. Why? Identifying these seemingly anonymous grey birds, through a combination of shape, plumage and behaviour, is one of the most rewarding challenges in birding – and the possibility of finding a rarity is an ever-present drawcard. Despite their delicate appearance, waders thrive in some of the most inhospitable environments on the planet thanks to remarkable structural and behavioural adaptations, dynamic life cycles and dramatic global migrations.
     More than two years in the making, this unique, lavishly illustrated book will help you not only to identify waders with confidence, but also to understand and enjoy these inspirational birds. It is the ultimate resource on the identification and biology of Southern Africa's wader species. However, because of waders' incredible worldwide migrations, most of the species in Chamberlain's Waders will also be familiar with readers from other regions of the world (only 30 of Southern Africa's 80 waders are NOT migratory).
     What makes Chamberlain's Waders different from other titles on waders? Firstly, it is written from a Southern Hemisphere perspective, unlike most European and American books. This shift of focus completely changes the picture. Secondly, it explains wader identification based on a background of biology and ecology – instead of just listing all the tedious identification details. Thirdly, it is so much more than just a field guide. Some paragraphs really read like a love letter written to waders – in celebration of their beauty, adaptability and triumph over seemingly insurmountable challenges.


2) Peacock, Faansie. Chamberlain's LBJs: The Definitive Guide to Southern Africa's Little Brown Jobs. 2012 (2015). Pavo Publishing. Paperback: 352 pages. Price: £29.99 (about $37.00 U.S.).
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Almost a quarter of Southern Africa's bird species, and half of its endemics, are Little Brown Jobs (LBJs). All birders experience some degree of trepidation when confronted by Ornithologicum nightmariensis, and this potentially confusing group is shunned by most beginners and many experienced birders too. However, LBJs include some of the region's most spectacular, thrilling, interesting, sought-after and memorable birds. This eagerly anticipated new book, four years in the making, will not only help you to confidently identify LBJs, but also understand and enjoy these remarkable birds.

- Includes more than 230 species of LBJs.
- Over 1200 superb original paintings by the author.
- Innovative design and layout to facilitate identification.
- Lifelike thumbnail illustrations show the bird in its typical habitat and as it really looks in the field.
- Juveniles and important subspecies depicted throughout.
- In-flight illustrations, from above and below.
- Detailed, multi-colour distribution maps compiled from the latest atlas data, and including subspecies and abundance.
- Fascination insights into LBJ biology, classification and names.
- Useful tips and techniques to help you find and identify LBJs.

RECOMMENDATION: Both these books are a MUST have for those birding Southern Africa! I wish we had similair LBJs guides for here in the Northern Hemisphere.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

New Titles



1) Clark, William S. and N. John Schmitt. Raptors of Mexico and Central America. 2017. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 304 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Raptors are among the most challenging birds to identify in the field due to their bewildering variability of plumage, flight silhouettes, and behavior. Raptors of Mexico and Central America is the first illustrated guide to the region's 69 species of raptors, including vagrants. It features 32 stunning color plates and 213 color photos, and a distribution map for each regularly occurring species. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, age-related plumages, status and distribution, subspecies, molt, habitats, behaviors, potential confusion species, and more.
     Raptors of Mexico and Central America is the essential field guide to this difficult bird group and the ideal travel companion for anyone visiting this region of the world.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in the raptors of the region!


2) Kricher, John. The New Neotropical Companion. 2017. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 432 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The New Neotropical Companion is the completely revised and expanded edition of a book that has helped thousands of people to understand the complex ecology and natural history of the most species-rich area on Earth, the American tropics. Featuring stunning color photos throughout, it is a sweeping and cutting-edge account of tropical ecology that includes not only tropical rain forests but also other ecosystems such as cloud forests, rivers, savannas, and mountains. This is the only guide to the American tropics that is all-inclusive, encompassing the entire region's ecology and the amazing relationships among species rather than focusing just on species identification.
     The New Neotropical Companion is a book unlike any other. Here, you will learn how to recognize distinctive ecological patterns of rain forests and other habitats and to interpret how these remarkable ecosystems function--everything is explained in clear and engaging prose free of jargon. You will also be introduced to the region's astonishing plant and animal life.
     Informative and entertaining, The New Neotropical Companion is a pleasurable escape for armchair naturalists, and visitors to the American tropics will want to refer to this book before, during, and after their trip.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in the New World tropics.


3) Laist, David W.. North Atlantic Right Whales: From Hunted Leviathan to Conservation Icon. 2017. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 432 pages. Price: $44.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In the cold waters of the unforgiving North Atlantic Ocean, some of the heartiest humans of medieval days ventured out in search of whales. Through the centuries, people on both sides of the Atlantic became increasingly dependent on whale oil and other cetacean products. To meet this growing demand, whaling became ever more sophisticated and intense, leading to the collapse of what was once a seemingly inexhaustible supply of large cetaceans. Central to the whale’s subsequent struggle for existence has been one species--the North Atlantic right whale. Conservationist David W. Laist now provides the first complete history of the North Atlantic right whale, from its earliest encounters with humans to its close brush with extinction, to its currently precarious yet hopeful status as a conservation icon.
     Favored by whalers because of their high yields of oil and superior baleen, these giants became known as "the right whale to hunt," and their numbers dwindled to a mere 100 individuals worldwide. Their dire status encouraged the adoption of a ban on hunting and a treaty that formed the International Whaling Commission. Recovery of the species, however, has proven elusive. Ship strikes and entanglement in commercial fishing gear have hampered herculean efforts to restore the population. Today, only about 500 right whales live along the US and Canadian Atlantic coasts--an improvement from the early twentieth century, but still a far cry from the thousands that once graced Atlantic waters.
     Laist’s masterpiece features an incredible collection of photographs and artwork that give life to the fascinating history that unfolds in its pages. The result is a single volume that offers a comprehensive understanding of North Atlantic right whales, the role they played in the many cultures that hunted them, and our modern attempts to help them recover.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in this species.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Titles



1) de Juana, Eduardo, and Juan Varela. Birds of Spain. 2017. Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 257 pages. Price: $37.50 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: English version of Aves de España, the most popular Field Guide to the identification of the birds of Spain. Recommended by SEO/Birdlife, it contains updated information on all bird species present in Spanish territories. Includes Peninsular Spain, Ceuta, Melilla and the Balearic and Canary Islands. Describes field identification characteristics, habitat, migratory status, distribution and conservation status of all regularly present species and common vagrants, and also contains an appendix with a summary of other occasional species. Completely revised texts and many new drawings. Updated taxonomy following the HBW and Birdlife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. More than 300 maps detailing the areas of presence throughout the year. Around 1,000 color illustrations showing the main details for the identification of the species in the field. 567 species, including 173 vagrants.
RECOMMENDATION: A useful supplement to the standard European guides.


2)  Egmond, Florike. Eye for Detail: Images of Plants and Animals in Art and Science, 1500-1630. 2017. Reaktion Books. Hardbound: 280 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Image-transforming techniques such as close-up, time lapse, and layering are generally associated with the age of photography, but as Florike Egmond shows in this book, they were already being used half a millennium ago. Exploring the world of natural history drawings from the Renaissance, Eye for Detail shows how the function of identification led to image manipulation techniques that will look uncannily familiar to the modern viewer.
            Egmond shows how the format of images in nature studies changed dramatically during the Renaissance period, as high-definition naturalistic representation became the rule during a robust output of plant and animal drawings. She examines what visual techniques like magnification can tell us about how early modern Europeans studied and ordered living nature, and she focuses on how attention to visual detail was motivated by an overriding question: the secret of the origins of life. Beautifully and precisely illustrated throughout, this volume serves as an arresting guide to the massive European collections of nature drawings and an absorbing study of natural history art of the sixteenth century.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the history of natural history art.