Birdbooker Report 325

17 June 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. Adrian, Matt. The Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds. 2014. Blue Rider Press. Hardbound: 64 pages. Price: $15.95 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds is an illustrated, pocket field guide that enables anyone to quickly identify psychotic, violent or mentally unstable bird species. Written in non-technical language for the layman, the guide describes where to find—or where to avoid—the most disturbed North American birds.
    Throughout the book the reader will discover tales of murder, assault, mental breakdowns, obesity, drug abuse and infidelity among the birds. This guide is used and recommended by law enforcement agencies and ignored by leading ornithologists.
    We are only just discovering the reality of our avian adversaries, with their reptilian brains, their appetites for mayhem and the fact that they fly mostly to spite us. To ignore the information found within this volume may be at the peril of your very life.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: Birders will appreciate the author's sense of humor!
  2. Pratchett, Terry and Stephen Baxter. The Long Mars. 2014. Harper. Hardbound: 368 pages. Price: $25.99 U.S. [Amazon UK/audio download/audio CD UK; Amazon US/audio download US/audio CD US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The third novel in Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s “Long Earth” series, which Io9 calls “a brilliant science fiction collaboration.”2040-2045: In the years after the cataclysmic Yellowstone eruption there is massive economic dislocation as populations flee Datum Earth to myriad Long Earth worlds. Sally, Joshua, and Lobsang are all involved in this perilous rescue work when, out of the blue, Sally is contacted by her long-vanished father and inventor of the original Stepper device, Willis Linsay. He tells her he is planning a fantastic voyage across the Long Mars and wants her to accompany him. But Sally soon learns that Willis has an ulterior motive for his request. . . .
    Meanwhile U. S. Navy Commander Maggie Kauffman has embarked on an incredible journey of her own, leading an expedition to the outer limits of the far Long Earth.
    For Joshua, the crisis he faces is much closer to home. He becomes embroiled in the plight of the Next: the super-bright post-humans who are beginning to emerge from their “long childhood” in the community called Happy Landings, located deep in the Long Earth. Ignorance and fear have caused “normal” human society to turn against the Next. A dramatic showdown seems inevitable. . . .
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed the other two books in this series, you should enjoy this one.
  3. Stokes, Dale and Doc White. The Fish in the Forest: Salmon and the Web of Life. 2014. University of California Press. Hardbound: 160 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The Fish in the Forest is an elegantly written, beautifully illustrated exploration of the complex web of relationships between the salmon of the Pacific Northwest and the surrounding ecosystem. Dale Stokes shows how nearly all aspects of this fragile ecosystem -- from streambeds to treetops, from sea urchins to orcas to bears, from rain forests to kelp forests—are intimately linked with the biology of the Pacific salmon. Illustrated with 70 stunning color photographs by Doc White, The Fish in the Forest demonstrates how the cycling of nutrients between the ocean and the land, mediated by the life and death of the salmon, is not only key to understanding the landscape of the north Pacific coast, but is also a powerful metaphor for all of life on earth.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to the ecology of salmon.
  4. Wires, Linda R. The Double-crested Cormorant: Plight of a Feathered Pariah. 2014. Yale University Press. Hardbound: 349 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The double-crested cormorant, found only in North America, is an iridescent black waterbird superbly adapted to catch fish. It belongs to a family of birds vilified since biblical times and persecuted around the world. Thus it was perhaps to be expected that the first European settlers in North America quickly deemed the double-crested cormorant a competitor for fishing stock and undertook a relentless drive to destroy the birds. This enormously important book explores the roots of human-cormorant conflicts, dispels myths about the birds, and offers the first comprehensive assessment of the policies that have been developed to manage the double-crested cormorant in the twenty-first century.
    Conservation biologist Linda Wires provides a unique synthesis of the cultural, historical, scientific, and political elements of the cormorant’s story. She discusses the amazing late-twentieth-century population recovery, aided by protection policies and environment conservation, but also the subsequent U.S. federal policies under which hundreds of thousands of the birds have been killed. In a critique of the science, management, and ethics underlying the double-crested cormorant’s treatment today, Wires exposes “management” as a euphemism for persecution and shows that the current strategies of aggressive predator control are outdated and unsupported by science.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with a serious interest in this species.

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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.

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