Elephants have fascinated humans for millennia. Aristotle wrote of them with awe; Hannibal used them in warfare; and John Donne called the elephant “Nature’s greatest masterpiece. . . . The only harmless great thing.” Their ivory has been sought after and treasured in most cultures, and they have delighted zoo and circus audiences worldwide for centuries. But it wasn’t until the second half of the twentieth century that people started to take an interest in elephants in the wild, and some of the most important studies of these intelligent giants have been conducted at Amboseli National Park in Kenya.
The Amboseli Elephants is the long-awaited summation of what’s been learned from the Amboseli Elephant Research Project (AERP)—the longest continuously running elephant research project in the world. Cynthia J. Moss and Harvey Croze, the founders of the AERP, and Phyllis C. Lee, who has been closely involved with the project since 1982, compile more than three decades of uninterrupted study of over 2,500 individual elephants, from newborn calves to adult bulls to old matriarchs in their 60s. Chapters explore such topics as elephant ecosystems, genetics, communication, social behavior, and reproduction, as well as exciting new developments from the study of elephant minds and cognition. The book closes with a view to the future, making important arguments for the ethical treatment of elephants and suggestions to aid in their conservation.
The most comprehensive account of elephants in their natural environment to date, The Amboseli Elephants will be an invaluable resource for scientists, conservationists, and anyone interested in the lives and loves of these extraordinary creatures.
Whether we live in cities, in the suburbs, or in the country, birds are ubiquitous features of daily life, so much so that we often take them for granted. But even the casual observer is aware that birds don’t fill our skies in the number they once did. That awareness has spawned conservation action that has led to notable successes, including the recovery of some of the nation’s most emblematic species, such as the Bald Eagle, Brown Pelican, Whooping Crane, and Peregrine Falcon. Despite this, a third of all American bird species are in trouble—in many cases, they’re in imminent danger of extinction. The most authoritative account ever published of the threats these species face, The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation will be the definitive book on the subject.
The Guide presents for the first time anywhere a classification system and threat analysis for bird habitats in the United States, the most thorough and scientifically credible assessment of threats to birds published to date, as well as a new list of birds of conservation concern. Filled with beautiful color illustrations and original range maps, the Guide is a timely, important, and inspiring reference for birders and anyone else interested in conserving North America’s avian fauna. But this book is far more than another shout of crisis. The Guide also lays out a concrete and achievable plan of long-term action to safeguard our country’s rich bird life. Ultimately, it is an argument for hope. Whether you spend your early weekend mornings crouched in silence with binoculars in hand, hoping to check another species off your list, or you’ve never given much thought to bird conservation, you’ll appreciate the visual power and intellectual scope of these pages.
From the tufted puffin in the Pacific Northwest to the hook-billed hermit in the Brazilian rainforest, birds suffer from the effects of climate change in every corner of the globe. Scientists have found declines of up to 90 percent in some troubled bird populations and unprecedented reproductive failure in others. The most recent studies suggest dire prospects: 1,227 avian species are threatened with extinction and an additional 838 near-threatened species are urgent priorities for conservation action.
As much an indispensable guide as a timely call to action, Bird Watch is an illustrated tour of these endangered birds and their habitats. Encyclopedic in scope, this book features all 1,227 species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, thoroughly detailing the environmental pressures and conservation prescriptions that hold their futures in the balance. After introducing readers to the main threats to birds and regions at high risk, Bird Watch presents a visually stunning and scientifically accurate flight over the major bird habitats, including tropical forests; temperate and northern forests; deserts; mountains; grasslands; and Mediterranean, marine, freshwater, and oceanic islands. The volume concludes with an overview of bird species by region—categorized by family within each region, and a guide to the world’s best birding sites. Produced in cooperation with BirdLife International, Bird Watch is a celebration of the beauty and diversity of birds and their habitats—and a warning of the dangers they face around the world.
From flying squirrels on high wooded plateaus to hanging gardens in redrock canyons, the Intermountain West is home to some of the world's rarest and most fascinating animals and plants. Creatures of Habitat details many unique but little-known talents of this region's strange and wonderful wild inhabitants and descibes their connections with native environments. For example, readers will learn about the pronghorn antelope's supercharged cardiovascular system, a brine shrimp-powered shorebird that each year flies nonstop from the Great Salt Lake to Central Argentina, and a rare mustard plant recently discovered on Mount Ogden. Emphasizing how increasing loss and degradation of habitat hinders native species' survival, Mark Gerard Hengesbaugh discusses what is happening to wildlife and wild places and what is being done about it.
Well illustrated, this book has habitat maps, pen-and-ink illustrations, and fifty photos of wildlife and wild places selected by photo editor Dan Miller. Also included are guides to wildlife viewing and lists of Utah species, including those considered sensitive, threatened, or endangered.
Named after a Sardinian princess of the fourteenth century who established laws protecting falcons, Eleonora's falcon is the only European bird to breed in autumn and feed its brood on the mass of birds that migrate from Europe to Africa between July and October. It breeds on small Mediterranean islands in colonies of up to 200 pairs and hunts often in groups, preying on more than 90 species of migrant birds. During the winter this falcon visits the rain-soaked woodlands of Madagascar.
In this study—illustrated beautifully and extensively with 59 line drawings and 38 photographs—Hartmut Walter shows how the unique geographical and biological situation of Falco eleonorae makes the species' health an important indicator of environmental decay. For though it lives in relatively isolated areas, Eleonora's falcon nevertheless may ingest the many pollutants contained in its diet of birds migrating from industrial Europe. Walter, who has studied raptors on several continents and has been an ornithologist since his early youth, examines several discrete colonies of Eleonora's falcon. He concentrates on the species' intraspecific behavior and ecology—such as the falcons' aggressive actions, hunting strategies, and response to fluctuating environmental conditions—and investigates their evolutionary past.
The Global Pigeon
Colin Jerolmack University of Chicago Press, 2013 Library of Congress SF469.J47 2013 | Dewey Decimal 598.65
The pigeon is the quintessential city bird. Domesticated thousands of years ago as a messenger and a source of food, its presence on our sidewalks is so common that people consider the bird a nuisance—if they notice it at all. Yet pigeons are also kept for pleasure, sport, and profit by people all over the world, from the “pigeon wars” waged by breeding enthusiasts in the skies over Brooklyn to the Million Dollar Pigeon Race held every year in South Africa.
Drawing on more than three years of fieldwork across three continents, Colin Jerolmack traces our complex and often contradictory relationship with these versatile animals in public spaces such as Venice’s Piazza San Marco and London’s Trafalgar Square and in working-class and immigrant communities of pigeon breeders in New York and Berlin. By exploring what he calls “the social experience of animals,” Jerolmack shows how our interactions with pigeons offer surprising insights into city life, community, culture, and politics. Theoretically understated and accessible to interested readers of all stripes, The Global Pigeon is one of the best and most original ethnographies to be published in decades.
This book introduces the reader to the 182 most common plants of Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the sixth most visited park in the U.S., with 7.5 million visitors each year. It provides pictures and descriptions of each plant, and educates the reader about basic botany, plant life forms, and the different roles of native and non-native plants and their interactions with animals. This book will substantially enhance the desert experience for visitors.
Neotropical Birds: Ecology and Conservation
Douglas F. Stotz, John W. Fitzpatrick, Theodore A. Parker III, and Debra K. Moskovits University of Chicago Press, 1996 Library of Congress QL685.7.N46 1996 | Dewey Decimal 598.298
Four of the world's leading ornithologists and ardent conservationists have produced this unique synthesis of the ecological information on all 4,037 species of birds found from Mexico south to Tierra del Fuego. In tables that cover more than 300 pages and include much of their own unpublished data, the authors summarize details on 40 key ecological parameters for each bird species. Additional data and further analyses are provided for migratory species.
Because bird communities are good indicators of habitat type and condition, and because extensive bird surveys can be done quickly, bird communities are critical to rapid evaluations of an ecosystem's biological value and integrity. The authors analyze the bird species of major habitats from a conservation perspective, and develop specific guidelines to illustrate how governments, conservation organizations, and wildlife managers can use this ecological information to anchor conservation strategies on sound biological reality.
"Students of ecology and wildlife management, as well as conservationists, will benefit from this book . . . . Governmental and conservation agencies should use this book when making critical decisions about where to focus their efforts as they work to preserve the environment in fragile regions of the world." —Edward I. Saiff, Science Books & Films
Peril in the Ponds tells the story of a government biologist's investigation into the mystery of deformed frogs, an epidemic that grew during the 1990s and continues today. It provides an inside view of a highly charged environmental issue that aroused the attention of the public and the media and sparked controversies among scientists, politicians, and government agencies.
By the 1990s, wetlands across the United States were endangered from pollution and decades of drainage to convert them into farmland and urban developments. But when deformed frogs—many with missing legs or eyes, footless stumps, or misshapen jaws—began to emerge from Minnesota wetlands, alarm bells went off. What caused such deformities? Pollution? Ultraviolet rays? Biological agents? And could the mysterious cause also pose a threat to humans?
Judy Helgen writes with passionate concern about vulnerable frogs and wetlands as she navigates through a maze of inquisitive media and a reluctant government agency. She reports on the complexity of a growing catastrophe for frogs and broadens the issue as she researches and meets with scientists from around the world. She affirms the importance of examining aquatic life to understand pollution and the need to rescue our remaining wetlands. She also shares the fears expressed by the teachers, students, and other citizens who found these creatures, sensed a problem, and looked to her for answers. Ultimately, this is a story about the biological beauty of wetlands and our need to pay attention to the environment around us.
Northern bobwhites are one of the most popular game birds in the United States. In Texas alone, nearly 100,000 hunters take to the field each fall and winter to pursue wild bobwhite quail. Texas is arguably the last remaining state with sufficient habitat to provide quail-hunting opportunities on a grand scale, and Texas ranchers with good bobwhite habitat often generate a greater proportion of their income from fees paid by quail hunters than from livestock production. Managing and expanding bobwhite habitat makes good sense economically, and it benefits the environment as well. The rangelands and woodlands of Texas that produce quail also support scores of other species of wildlife.
Texas Bobwhites is a field guide to the seeds commonly eaten by northern bobwhites, as well as a handbook for conserving and improving northern bobwhite habitat. It provides identifying characteristics for the seeds of 91 species of grasses, forbs, woody plants, and succulents. Each seed description includes a close-up and a scale photo of the seed and the plant that produces it, along with a range map. Using this information, hunters can readily identify concentrations of plants that are most likely to attract quail. Landowners and rangeland managers will greatly benefit from the book's state-of-the-art guidance for habitat management and restoration, including improving habitat dominated by invasive and nonnative grasses.