Birdbooker Report 333

11 August 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. Avery, Mark. A Message from Martha: The Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and Its Relevance Today. 2014. Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 304 pages. Price: $22.00 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: September 1st, 2014 marked the centenary of one of the best-documented extinctions in history – the demise of the Passenger Pigeon. From being the commonest bird on the planet 50 years earlier, the species became extinct on that fateful day, with the death in Cincinnati Zoo of Martha – the last of her kind.
    This book tells the tale of the Passenger Pigeon, and of Martha, and of author Mark Avery's journey in search of them. It looks at how the species was a cornerstone of the now much-diminished ecology of the eastern United States, and how the species went from a population that numbered in the billions to nil in a terrifyingly brief period of time. It also explores the largely untold story of the ecological annihilation of this part of America in the latter half of the 19th century, a time that saw an unprecedented loss of natural beauty and richness as forests were felled and the prairies were ploughed, with wildlife slaughtered more or less indiscriminately.
    Despite the underlying theme of loss, this book is more than another depressing tale of human greed and ecological stupidity. It contains an underlying message – that we need to re-forge our relationship with the natural world on which we depend, and plan a more sustainable future. Otherwise more species will go the way of the Passenger Pigeon. We should listen to the message from Martha.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: On the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon from a British perspective.
  2. Sinclair, Ian et al. The Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa: Third Edition. 2014. Struik Nature. Paperback: 464 pages. Price: $32.00 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This new larger edition is based on the recently updated fourth edition of the standard-format Sasol Birds of Southern Africa.
    The region’s best-selling, most comprehensively illustrated and trusted field guide, it offers:

    • Rewritten species accounts, now with group introductions;
    • Newly designed plates for ease of use and comparison;
    • More than 380 new improved illustrations;
    • Illustrations with simplified labels, pinpointing key differentiating features;
    • Updated distribution maps showing relative abundance and indicating resident or migrant status;
    • Calendar bars showing species’ occurrence and breeding periods,
    • and sonograms depicting the calls of difficult-to-distinguish birds that have distinctive calls.

    The larger format allows for better appreciation and easier use of the plates.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: For those who find this larger format more useful.

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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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