Birdbooker Report 315

7 April 2014 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. Heinrich, Bernd. The Homing Instinct: Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 352 pages. Price: $27.00 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Acclaimed scientist and author Bernd Heinrich has returned every year since boyhood to a beloved patch of western Maine woods. What is the biology in humans of this deep-in-the-bones pull toward a particular place, and how is it related to animal homing?
    Heinrich explores the fascinating science chipping away at the mysteries of animal migration: how geese imprint true visual landscape memory; how scent trails are used by many creatures, from fish to insects to amphibians, to pinpoint their home if they are displaced from it; and how the tiniest of songbirds are equipped for solar and magnetic orienteering over vast distances. Most movingly, Heinrich chronicles the spring return of a pair of sandhill cranes to their home pond in the Alaska tundra. With his trademark “marvelous, mind-altering” prose (Los Angeles Times), he portrays the unmistakable signs of deep psychological emotion in the newly arrived birds -- and reminds us that to discount our own emotions toward home is to ignore biology itself.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: Fans of Heinrich's other works should enjoy this one!
  2. Lockwood, Mark W. and Brush Freeman. The TOS Handbook of Texas Birds (Second Edition, Revised). 2014. Texas A&M University Press. Paperback: 403 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: With updated species accounts, all new photographs, and the first complete subspecies listing for Texas birds since 1995, the expanded and revised edition of The Texas Ornithological Society Handbook of Texas Birds is an indispensable companion for serious birders and anyone who wants to learn more about the avifauna of the state and region.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with a serious interest in the birds of Texas.
  3. Nicholls, Henry. The Galapagos: A Natural History. 2014. Basic Books. Hardbound: 195 pages. Price: $27.99 U.S. [Amazon UK/Audible UK; Amazon US/kindle US/Audible US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In The Galápagos, science writer Henry Nicholls offers a lively natural and human history of the archipelago, charting its course from deserted wilderness to biological testing ground and global ecotourism hot spot. Describing the island chain's fiery geological origins as well as our species' long history of interaction with the islands, he draws vivid portraits of the life forms found in the Galápagos, capturing its awe-inspiring landscapes, understated flora, and stunning wildlife. Nicholls also reveals the immense challenges facing the islands, which must continually balance conservation and ever encroaching development.
    Beautifully weaving together natural history, evolutionary theory, and his own experience on the islands, Nicholls shows that the story of the Galápagos is not merely an isolated concern, but reflects the future of our species' relationship with nature -- and the fate of our planet.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: A readable introduction to the natural history of the Galapagos Islands.
  4. Smallshire, Dave and Andy Swash. Britain's Dragonflies: A Field Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of Britain and Ireland (Third Edition). 2014. Princeton University Press/WILDGuides. Paperback: 224. Price: $25.95 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Britain's Dragonflies is the only comprehensive photographic field guide to the damselflies and dragonflies of Britain and Ireland. Written by two of Britain's foremost experts, this fully revised and updated edition features hundreds of stunning images and identification charts covering all 56 resident, migrant and former breeding species, and seven potential vagrants. The book focuses on identification--both of adults and larvae--highlighting the key features. Detailed species profiles provide concise information on identification, distribution, flight periods, behaviour, habitat, status and conservation. Other sections cover biology; how to watch, photograph, record and monitor Dragonflies; conservation status and legislation; and introduced exotic species.
    This redesigned, updated and expanded edition features:

    • Beautiful colour plates showing males, females, immatures and all colour forms for every species
    • Over 450 stunning photographs and 550 illustrations
    • Up-to-date species profiles and distribution maps
    • Detailed, easy-to-use identification charts for adults and larvae

    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in the Odonata of the United Kingdom.

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This is a guest piece written by Ian "Birdbooker" Paulsen. Ian is an avid book collector who is especially well-known to the publishing world. He collects newly-published books about nature, animals and birds, science, and history, and he also collects children's books on these topics. Ian writes brief synopses about these books on his website, The Birdbooker Report.


2 Responses to “Birdbooker Report 315”

  1. Tabor Reply | Permalink

    I had been thinking about you for a number of days and realized I would not know where to find you and then one of your articles from the Guardian appeared on my blog roll. The reason you came to mine is I was wandering around in a books store last week and found Irene Pepperberg's book Alex and Me. I had never read it, and remembered how meaningful it was to you so I bought it! It appears that all is good for you these days.

  2. GrrlScientist Reply | Permalink

    oh wow! hello tabor, my first e-pal in the Whole Wide World (tm)! it's wonderful to hear from you again! what do you think of alex and me? i am busily writing (for no income) as usual, and chasing parrots (i now live with 2 grey parrots and 2 galahs, along with a growing parrot & bird menagerie) and trying to suss out how i can get my hands on a cheap tablet computer as a training aid for them. also raising sulawesi freshwater shrimps, since this is likely as close as i'll ever get to the islands of the south pacific ocean. setting off for another visit to london soon (a social interlude and mental health break for me), but we should chat in email soon!

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