Birdbooker Report 299 & 300

16 December 2013 by GrrlScientist, posted in Birdbooker Report

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.

New and Recent Titles:

  1. Fraser, Ian and Jeannie Gray. Australian Bird Names: A Complete Guide. 2013. CSIRO Publishing. Paperback: 336 pages. Price: $55.00 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Australian Bird Names is aimed at anyone with an interest in birds, words, or the history of Australian biology and bird-watching. It discusses common and scientific names of every Australian bird, to tease out the meanings, which may be useful, useless or downright misleading!
    The authors examine every species: its often many-and-varied common names, its full scientific name, with derivation, translation and a guide to pronunciation. Stories behind the name are included, as well as relevant aspects of biology, conservation and history. Original descriptions, translated by the authors, have been sourced for many species.
    As well as being a book about names this is a book about the history of ever-developing understandings of birds, about the people who contributed and, most of all, about the birds themselves.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with a serious interest in the birds of Australia or ornithological nomenclature.
  2. Frith, Clifford B.. The Woodhen: A Flightless Island Bird Defying Extinction. 2013. CSIRO Publishing. Hardbound: 225 pages. Price: $59.95 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This book tells the fascinating success story of saving the flightless Woodhen of Lord Howe Island. This unique large rail, an iconic and highly endangered Australian bird, was at the very brink of extinction with just 15 individuals found in 1980, when bold and risky actions were taken to save it.
    The book begins with the discovery and ecology of Lord Howe Island. It then details the history of the Woodhen, its place among the rails and their evolution of flightlessness, the planning, implementation and trials, tribulations and successes of the captive breeding programme and the way in which the wild population recovered. The ecology, behaviour and breeding biology of this unique flightless island rail are also discussed. The text is accompanied by numerous photographs and drawings.
    This is a story of survival, yet the bird remains highly endangered as it is under constant potential threat, which could tip it over the brink and to extinction. The Woodhen provides gripping insights into the potential for both losing and saving vertebrate species.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in rails and/or island biogeography.
  3. Anonymous. Going, Going, Gone: 100 animals and plants on the verge of extinction. 2013. Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 223 pages. Price: $34.00 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: We asked 100 conservation groups around the world: 'if you could pick one species that epitomises your work, which would it be?' From the RSPB to WWF to the Cheetah Conservation Fund, and many, many more, the answers came rolling in. Each provided a synopsis of the threats faced by their selected species, a summary of their degree of threat, an outline of the work being done to save them, and a number of ways in which the reader could help to conserve that species.
    With beautiful full-page photographs of each of the 100 species, this is a book that will both fascinate and educate and, hopefully, help to secure the future of the threatened animals and plants that it showcases.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to endangered species.

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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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