Birdbooker Report 284-285
SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts.
“Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin.
Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.)
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.
Cocker, Mark and David Tipling. Birds and People. 2013. Jonathan Cape. Hardbound: 592 pages. Price: $65.00 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US].
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.
IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: This book would make a nice gift for any birder!
New and Recent Titles:
Herrera, Melany Vorass. The Front Yard Forager: Identifying, Collecting, and Cooking the 30 Most Common Urban Weeds. 2013. Skipstone. Paperback: 192 pages. Price: $18.95 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US].
SUMMARY: The Front Yard Forager brings DIY harvesting right to your door, making foraging easy, accessible, and fun for everyone even in the middle of the city or suburbia. From the yard to the parking strip, in city parks or along municipal thoroughfares, food is abundant and free for the taking!
The Front Yard Forager invites all of us to take control of our food by entering into the fun and delicious world of foraging. A concise field guide and recipe book, it showcases the 30 most readily found edible urban weeds. From dandelion to day lily, nipplewort to nettle, and pineapple weed to purslane there’s a salad bowl full of fresh edibles just waiting to be collected and put to good use. Each plant profile features an easy-to-use field identification guide, including photographs, as well as where to find the plant and what to do with it in the kitchen. Recipes range from simple and classic to practically gourmet, while introductory chapters and sidebars cover the hows and whys of foraging: ethics, nutritional information, harvesting, precautions, and more.
Written by Seattle's Melany Vorass, a longtime instructor of urban foraging, The Front Yard Forager brings DIY harvesting right to your door, making foraging easy, accessible, and fun for everyone -- even in the middle of the city -- or suburbia.
IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in urban foraging.
Orenstein, Ronald. Ivory, Horn and Blood: Behind the Elephant and Rhinoceros Poaching Crisis. 2013. Firefly Books. Hardbound: 216 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
SUMMARY: As recently as ten years ago, out of every ten African elephants that died, four fell at the hands of poachers. The figure today is eight. Over sixty percent of Africa's Forest Elephants have been killed by poachers since the turn of the century. Rhinoceroses are being slaughtered throughout their ranges. The Vietnamese One-horned Rhinoceros and the Western Black rhino have become extinct in the last decade, and the Northern White Rhinoceros, the largest of them all, barely survives in captivity.
This alarming book tells a crime story that takes place thousands of miles away, in countries that few of us may visit. But like the trade in illegal drugs, the traffic in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn has far-reaching implications not only for these endangered animals, but also for the human victims of a world-wide surge in organized crime, corruption and violence.
Since the worldwide ban on commercial ivory trade was passed in 1989, after a decade that saw half of Africa's elephants slaughtered by poachers, Ronald Orenstein has been at the heart of the fight. Today a new ivory crisis has arisen, fuelled by internal wars in Africa and a growing market in the Far East. Seizures of smuggled ivory have shot up in the past few years. Bands of militia have crossed from one side of Africa to the other, slaughtering elephants with automatic weapons. A market surge in Vietnam and elsewhere has led to a growing criminal onslaught against the world's rhinoceroses. The situation, for both elephants and rhinos, is dire.
IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the poaching crisis.
Quammen, David. Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. 2013. W.W. Norton. Paperback: 589 pages. Price: $16.95 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
SUMMARY: A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Scientific American Best Book of the Year, and a Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award
Ebola, SARS, Hendra, AIDS, and countless other deadly viruses all have one thing in common: the bugs that transmit these diseases all originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. In this gripping account, David Quammen takes the reader along on this astonishing quest to learn how, where from, and why these diseases emerge and asks the terrifying question: What might the next big one be?
IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: One of the top science books for 2012 is now available in paperback.
Ruth, Maria Mudd. Rare Bird: Pursuing the Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet. 2013. Paperback: 312 pages. Price: $18.95 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US].
SUMMARY: Part naturalist detective story and part environmental inquiry, Rare Bird: Pursuing the Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet celebrates the fascinating world of an endangered seabird that depends on the contested old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest for its survival.
“This chunky little seabird stole my heart.” So confesses Maria Mudd Ruth, a veteran nature writer perfectly happy to be a generalist before getting swept up in the strange story of the marbled murrelet. This curiosity of nature, which flies like a little brown bullet at up to 100 miles an hour and lives most of its life offshore, is seen onland only during breeding season, when each female lays a single egg high on a mossy tree limb in the ancient coastal forest.
Ruth traces reports of the bird back to Captain Cook’s ill-fated voyage of discovery on the Pacific Ocean in 1778, and explores the mindset of 19th- and 20th-century naturalists who — despite their best efforts — failed to piece together clues to the whereabouts of the bird’s nest. Ruth ventures to coastal meadows before dawn and onto the ocean at midnight to learn firsthand how scientists observe nature. She interviews all the major players in the drama: timber company executives and fishing fleet operators whose businesses are threatened by conservation measures, as well as the so-called cowboy scientists who are devoted to saving the marbled murrelet from extinction. And, ultimately, Ruth puts her curiosity and passion for this rare bird onto the page for readers to savor.
IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in this seabird.
Li, Yong Ding, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist's Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing. Paperback: 176 pages. Price: $17.95 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US].
SUMMARY: This easy-to-use identification guide to the 280 bird species most commonly seen in Singapore is perfect for resident and visitor alike. High quality photographs from Singapore's top nature photographers are accompanied by detailed species descriptions which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habits and habitat. The user-friendly introduction covers geography and climate, vegetation, opportunities for naturalists and the main sites for viewing the listed species. Also included is an all-important checklist of all of the birds of Singapore encompassing, for each species, its common and scientific name, IUCN status as at 2011.
IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction to the birds of the region. (Also take a look here -- scroll down.)
Sill, Ben, Cathryn Sill and John Sill. A Field Guide to Little-Known and Seldom-Seen Birds of North America (2nd edition). 2013. Peachtree Publishers. Paperback: 100 pages. Price: $11.95 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US].
SUMMARY: Bird enthusiasts will love this revised edition of the feather-brained field guide parody!
Birders and just about anyone who likes birds will delight in this field guide parody. Thirty-two fabulous new species are depicted in this volume, which features tongue-in-cheek descriptions, observation hints, and range maps, as well as remarkable full-color illustrations. The reader will never look at our feathered friends in the same way after encountering these frequent flyers.
IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: If you didn't get this book the first time, here's your chance to own this "sill-y" book!
Bakker, Robert T. and Luis V. Rey. The Big Golden Book of Dinosaurs. 2013. Golden Books. Hardbound: 64 pages. Price: $16.99 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US].
SUMMARY: Renowned paleontologist Robert T. Bakker and award-winning paleoartist Luis V. Rey combine forces in this oversized picture book about the evolution of dinosaurs. From the conquest of land by dino ancestor Acanthostega during the Devonian Period, through the mass die-off of dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous Period, Bakker and Rey take readers on a safari through time while paying subtle homage to the 1960 Giant Golden Book Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles that inspired them both as young dinophiles. With stops along the way to look at monster bugs, ferocious fin-backs, fluffy dinosaurs, sea monsters and the 12-year-old girl who discovered them, dinosaur orchestras, tickling tyrannosaurs, and much, much more, this is a journey readers will never forget. It's a perfect gift for young dinosaur lovers—as well as adult fans of Dr. Bakker and Luis Rey!
IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: For ages 3-7. Children will enjoy this book!
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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.