Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them.
~ Arnold Lobel [1933-1987] author of many popular children’s books.
Compiled by Ian “Birdbooker” Paulsen, the Birdbooker Report is a weekly report that has been published online for years, listing the wide variety of nature, natural history, ecology, animal behaviour, science and history books that have been newly released or republished in North America and in the UK. The books listed here were received by Ian during the previous week, courtesy of various publishing houses.
- Stephenson, Tom and Scott Whittle. The Warbler Guide. 2013. Princeton University Press. Flexicover: 560 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S. [Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
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
IAN’S RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for birders with an interest in these birds!
- Dodd, C. Kenneth, Jr.. Frogs of the United States and Canada. 2013. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 2 volume set: 982 pages. Price: $180.00 U.S. [Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
SUMMARY: With many frog populations declining or disappearing and developmental malformations and disease afflicting others, scientists, conservationists, and concerned citizens need up-to-date, accurate information. Frogs of the United States and Canada is a comprehensive resource for those trying to protect amphibians as well as for researchers and wildlife managers who study biodiversity. From acrobatic tree frogs to terrestrial toads, C. Kenneth Dodd Jr. offers an unparalleled synthesis of the biology, behavior, and conservation of frogs in North America.
This two-volume, fully referenced resource provides color photographs and range maps for 106 native and nonindigenous species and includes detailed information on
- past and present distribution
- life history and demography
- reproduction and diet
- landscape ecology and evolution
- diseases, parasites, and threats from toxic substances
- conservation and management
IAN’S RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those with an interest in the frogs of the region!
New and Recent Titles:
- Beebee, Trevor. Amphibians and reptiles (Naturalists’ Handbooks 31). 2013. Pelagic Publishing. Paperback: 170 pages. Price: £19.99/$32.99 U.S.. [Amazon UK; Amazon US].
SUMMARY: Amphibians and reptiles is a comprehensive guide to the native and non-native species of amphibian and reptile found in the British Isles. Professor Trevor Beebee covers the biology, ecology, conservation and identification of the British herpetofauna, and provides keys for the identification of adult and immature newts and newt eggs, larvae and metamorphs; frog and toad adults and metamorphs, spawn and larvae; adult and hatchling limbed lizards; and adult snakes. Distribution maps are included for all species, and the book is illustrated throughout with colour photographs and figures.
The goal of this book is to encourage readers to develop their own ecological studies, to this end, the author summarises the current state of knowledge of reptile and amphibian biology, including behaviour, breeding, habitat selection, migration and development, and offers ideas for research projects that could be undertaken to further what is known. A chapter is devoted to the practicalities of professional work with amphibians and reptiles, including licensing requirements. Research techniques, including survey methods such as night searches for newts and bottle trapping, are discussed in detail, and consideration is given to methods of data analysis.
Author royalties from this book have been donated to Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.
IAN’S RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in British herpetofauna.
- Zug, George R.. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Pacific Islands: A Comprehensive Guide. 2013. University of California Press. Paperback: 306 pages. Price: $34.95 U.S. [Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
SUMMARY: The Pacific is not only the world’s largest body of water; its vast expanse also includes an extraordinary number and diversity of oceanic islands, from Palau and the Marianas east of the Philippines to Cocos Island and the Galápagos west of the Americas. The isolation of these islands and the extreme distances between them long prevented scientists from studying their floras and faunas in a comparative context.
reptiles and amphibians of the Pacific Basin, offers the first such systematic overview in more than half a century. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Pacific Islands is a compendium of frogs, lizards, snakes, and turtles living on these lands and in the adjacent waters of the oceanic islands in the tropical Pacific. The means to identify each species is included, along with entries that describe each animal’s form, coloration, habitat, distribution, reproductive biology, and natural history. Color plates of more than 75 percent of the species also help to facilitate visual identification. This accessible and informative guide is the most comprehensive field guide available and will appeal to both novice sightseers and professional naturalists.
IAN’S RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those with an interest in the herpetofauna of the region.
- Cabot, David and Ian Nisbet. Terns. 2013. Collins. Paperback: 461 pages. Price: £35.00 / $50.00 U.S.. [Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
SUMMARY: This New Naturalist volume provides a much-anticipated overview of these fascinating birds — the first book on the natural history of British and Irish terns since 1934.
Terns are small seabirds that are commonly seen along coastlines and estuaries in the summer months — their graceful flight and command of the air are among their most attractive features.
Most of the five species of terns breeding in Britain and Ireland today are under intensive management, involving protection from predators, human interference, egg-collecting, recreational activities, land-use changes, and a range of issues concerning climate change, including rising sea levels and flooding of low-lying colonies. If these protective measures were abandoned then the numbers of terns would inevitably decline, with the possibility of several species ending up on the endangered list. Covering the history of terns in Britain and Ireland, David Cabot and Ian Nisbet explore these diverse issues as well as offering a comprehensive natural history of these stunning seabirds.
Drawing on a wealth of new information and research, the authors focus on migrations, food and feeding ecology as well as breeding biology and behaviour. Perhaps most importantly, they highlight recent conservation issues and prospects, and what this means for the future of terns.
IAN’S RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those with an interest in terns or for those that collect the New Naturalist series.
- Parrish, J. Michael. et al. (editors). Tyrannosaurid Paleobiology. 2013. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 294 pages. Price: $60.00 U.S. [Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
SUMMARY: The opening of an exhibit focused on “Jane,” a beautifully preserved tyrannosaur collected by the Burpee Museum of Natural History, was the occasion for an international symposium on tyrannosaur paleobiology. This volume, drawn from the symposium, includes studies of the tyrannosaurids Chingkankousaurus fragilis and “Sir William” and the generic status of Nanotyrannus; theropod teeth, pedal proportions, brain size, and craniocervical function; soft tissue reconstruction, including that of “Jane”; paleopathology and tyrannosaurid claws; dating the “Jane” site; and tyrannosaur feeding and hunting strategies. Tyrannosaurid Paleobiology highlights the far ranging and vital state of current tyrannosaurid dinosaur research and discovery.
IAN’S RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in these dinosaurs.
- Kielan-Jaworowska, Zofia. In Pursuit of Early Mammals. 2013. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 253 pages. Price: $60.00 U.S. [Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
SUMMARY: In Pursuit of Early Mammals presents the history of the mammals that lived during the Mesozoic era, the time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, and describes their origins, anatomy, systematics, paleobiology, and distribution. It also tells the story of the author, a world-renowned specialist on these animals, and the other prominent paleontologists who have studied them. Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska was the first woman to lead large-scale paleontological expeditions, including eight to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, which brought back important collections of dinosaur, early mammal, and other fossils. She shares the difficulties and pleasures encountered in finding rare fossils and describes the changing views on early mammals made possible by these discoveries.
IAN’S RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical or semi-technical interest in mammalian palaeontology.
- Smith, Andrew T. and Yan Xie (editors). Mammals of China. 2013. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 395 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S. [Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
SUMMARY: China’s breathtaking diversity of natural habitats — from mountains and deserts to grasslands and lush tropical forests — is home to more than 10 percent of the world’s mammal species. This one-of-a-kind pocket guide describes the characteristics, geographic distribution, natural history, and conservation status of all 558 species of mammals found in China. An up-to-date distribution map accompanies each species account, and beautiful color illustrations by wildlife artist Federico Gemma depict a majority of the species. The definitive text is written by leading specialists and follows the most current global standards for mammalian systematics.
This field-ready pocket edition of A Guide to the Mammals of China makes the rich mammal fauna of China accessible to ecotravelers and naturalists like never before.
This book features:
- The comprehensive pocket guide to all of China’s 558 mammal species
- Describes the physical characteristics, geographic distribution, natural history, and conservation status of every species
- Features up-to-date distribution maps and stunning color illustrations throughout
- Written by a team of leading specialists
IAN’S RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those with an interest in the mammals of China.
- Musselman, Lytton John and Harold J. Wiggins. The Quick Guide to Wild Edilble Plants. 2013. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 133 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S. [Amazon UK/kindle UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
SUMMARY: A recent rise in the popularity of urban farming, farmers’ markets, and foraging from nature means more people are looking for information about plants. In The Quick Guide to Wild Edible Plants, botanists Lytton John Musselman and Harold J. Wiggins coach you on how to safely identify, gather, and prepare delicious dishes from readily available plants — and clearly indicate which ones to avoid.
More than 200 color illustrations, accompanied by detailed descriptions, will help you recognize edible plants such as nettles, daylilies, panic grass, and tearthumbs. For decades, Musselman and Wiggins have taught courses on how to prepare local plants, and their field-to-table recipes require only a few easily found ingredients. They offer instructions for making garlic powder out of field garlic and turning acorns into flour for Rappahannock Acorn Cakes. To toast your new skill, they even include recipes for cordials.
The Quick Guide to Wild Edible Plants is a great gift for the beginning naturalist or the perfect addition to every serious forager’s library.
IAN’S RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in wild foraging.
- More, David and John White. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees: Second Edition. 2005 (reissued 2013). Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 832 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US].
SUMMARY: Popular, award-winning, and unrivaled for its coverage and beauty, this is a magnificent illustrated guide to nearly 2,000 tree species and cultivars found in North America and Europe. David More spent over a decade painting these illustrations from real specimens, and fellow tree expert John White’s informative text describes key facts about each. The result is an extraordinary reference that will continue to be prized by nature enthusiasts, gardeners, landscapers, and foresters.
This book includes:
- Illustrates nearly 2,000 tree species and cultivars found in North America and Europe
- Includes precise paintings of important details: leaves, needles, bark, blossoms, fruits, nuts, and cones
- Shows deciduous trees in both full leaf and winter
- Describes the native range of each species, the date of its introduction into cultivation, and other key facts
- Features an introduction, a glossary, and indexes of scientific and English names
IAN’S RECOMMENDATION: If you didn’t get a copy of this book the first time, it’s available once again!
- Ross, Stephen T.. Ecology of North American Freshwater Fishes. 2013. University of California Press. Hardbound: 460 pages. Price: $75.00 U.S. [Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
SUMMARY: The North American freshwater fish fauna is the most diverse and thoroughly researched temperate fish fauna in the world. Ecology of North American Freshwater Fishes is the only textbook to provide advanced undergraduate and graduate students and researchers with an up-to-date and integrated view of the ecological and evolutionary concepts, principles, and processes involved in the formation and maintenance of this fauna.
Ecology of North American Freshwater Fishes provides readers with a broad understanding of why specific species and assemblages occur in particular places. Additionally, the text explores how individuals and species interact with each other and with their environments, how such interactions have been altered by anthropogenic impacts, and the relative success of efforts to restore damaged ecosystems.
This book is designed for use in courses related to aquatic and fish ecology, fish biology, ichthyology, and related advanced ecology and conservation courses, and is divided into five sections for ease of use. Chapter summaries, supplemental reading lists, online sources, extensive figures, and color photography are included to guide readers through the material and facilitate student learning.
IAN’S RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in freshwater fish biology.
- Plater, Zygmunt J.B.. The Snail Darter and the Dam: How Pork-Barrel Politics Endangered a Little Fish and Killed a River. 2013. Yale University Press. Hardbound: 369 pages. Price: $32.50 U.S. [Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
SUMMARY: Even today, thirty years after the legal battles to save the endangered snail darter, the little fish that blocked completion of a TVA dam is still invoked as an icon of leftist extremism and governmental foolishness. In this eye-opening book, the lawyer who with his students fought and won the Supreme Court case — known officially as Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill — tells the hidden story behind one of the nation’s most significant environmental law battles.
The realities of the darter’s case, Plater asserts, have been consistently mischaracterized in politics and the media. This book offers a detailed account of the six-year crusade against a pork-barrel project that made no economic sense and was flawed from the start. In reality TVA’s project was designed for recreation and real estate development. And at the heart of the little group fighting the project in the courts and Congress were family farmers trying to save their homes and farms, most of which were to be resold in a corporate land development scheme. Plater’s gripping tale of citizens navigating the tangled corridors of national power stimulates important questions about our nation’s governance, and at last sets the snail darter’s record straight.
IAN’S RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in American environmental history.
- Bergner, Daniel. What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire. 2013. Ecco. Hardbound: 210 pages. Price: $25.99 U.S. [Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
SUMMARY: When it comes to sex, common wisdom holds that men roam while women crave closeness and commitment. But in this provocative, headline-making book, Daniel Bergner turns everything we thought we knew about women’s arousal and desire inside out. Drawing on extensive research and interviews with renowned behavioral scientists, sexologists, psychologists, and everyday women, he forces us to reconsider long-held notions about female sexuality.
This bold and captivating journey into the world of female desire explores answers to such thought-provoking questions as: Are women perhaps the less monogamous sex? What effect do intimacy and emotional connection really have on lust? What is the role of narcissism — the desire to be desired — in female sexuality? Are political gains for women (“No means no”) detrimental in the bedroom? And is the hunt for a “female Viagra” anything but a search for the cure for monogamy?
Bergner goes behind the scenes of some of the most groundbreaking experiments on sexuality today and confronts us with controversial, sometimes uncomfortable findings. Incendiary, profoundly insightful, and brilliantly illuminating, What Do Women Want? will change the conversation about women and sex, and is sure to spark dynamic discussion for years to come.
IAN’S RECOMMENDATION: For anyone wtih an interest in human sexuality.
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This invited guest piece was assembled by Ian “Birdbooker” Paulsen and formatted by GrrlScientist.
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Ian “Birdbooker” Paulsen is an avid book collector who is especially well-known to the publishing world. Mr Paulsen collects newly-published books about nature, animals and birds, science, and history, and he also collects children’s books on these topics. Mr Paulsen writes brief synopses about these books on his website, The Birdbooker Report.
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