Edward H. Burtt Jr. Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress QL31.W7B87 2013 | Dewey Decimal 598.092
On the bicentennial of his death, this beautifully illustrated volume pays tribute to the Scot who became the father of American ornithology. Alexander Wilson made unique contributions to ecology and animal behavior. His drawings of birds in realistic poses in their natural habitat inspired Audubon, Spencer Fullerton Baird, and other naturalists.
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.
The year he graduated from college, 22-year-old Noah Strycker was dropped by helicopter in a remote Antarctic field camp with two bird scientists and a three months’ supply of frozen food. His subjects: more than a quarter million penguins.
Compact, industrious, and approachable, the Adélie Penguins who call Antarctica home visit their breeding grounds each Antarctic summer to nest and rear their young before returning to sea. Because of long-term studies, scientists may know more about how these penguins will adjust to climate change than about any other creature in the world.
Bird scientists like Noah are less well known. Like the intrepid early explorers of Antarctica, modern scientists drawn to the frozen continent face an utterly inhospitable landscape, one that inspires, isolates, and punishes.
With wit, curiosity, and a deep knowledge of his subject, Strycker recounts the reality of life at the end of the Earth—thousand-year-old penguin mummies, hurricane-force blizzards, and day-to-day existence in below freezing temperatures—and delves deep into a world of science, obsession, and birds.
Among Penguins weaves a captivating tale of penguins and their researchers on the coldest, driest, highest, and windiest continent on Earth. Birders, lovers of the Antarctic, and fans of first-person adventure narratives will be fascinated by Strycker’s book.
The human history of depicting birds dates to as many as 40,000 years ago, when Paleolithic artists took to cave walls to capture winged and other beasts. But the art form has reached its peak in the last four hundred years. In The Art of the Bird, devout birder and ornithologist Roger J. Lederer celebrates this heyday of avian illustration in forty artists’ profiles, beginning with the work of Flemish painter Frans Snyders in the early 1600s and continuing through to contemporary artists like Elizabeth Butterworth, famed for her portraits of macaws. Stretching its wings across time, taxa, geography, and artistic style—from the celebrated realism of American conservation icon John James Audubon, to Elizabeth Gould’s nineteenth-century renderings of museum specimens from the Himalayas, to Swedish artist and ornithologist Lars Jonsson’s ethereal watercolors—this book is feathered with art and artists as diverse and beautiful as their subjects. A soaring exploration of our fascination with the avian form, The Art of the Bird is a testament to the ways in which the intense observation inherent in both art and science reveals the mysteries of the natural world.
Changes in seasonal movements and population dynamics of migratory birds in response to ongoing changes resulting from global climate changes are a topic of great interest to conservation scientists and birdwatchers around the world. Because of their dependence on specific habitats and resources in different geographic regions at different phases of their annual cycle, migratory species are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
In Bird Migration and Global Change, eminent ecologist George W. Cox brings his extensive experience as a scientist and bird enthusiast to bear in evaluating the capacity of migratory birds to adapt to the challenges of a changing climate.
Cox reviews, synthesizes, and interprets recent and emerging science on the subject, beginning with a discussion of climate change and its effect on habitat, and followed by eleven chapters that examine responses of bird types across all regions of the globe. The final four chapters address the evolutionary capacity of birds, and consider how best to shape conservation strategies to protect migratory species in coming decades.
The rate of climate change is faster now than at any other moment in recent geological history. How best to manage migratory birds to deal with this challenge is a major conservation issue, and Bird Migration and Global Change is a unique and timely contribution to the literature.
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.
The Birds of Sonora
Stephen M. Russell University of Arizona Press, 1998 Library of Congress QL686.R87 1998 | Dewey Decimal 598.097217
Birders who come to the American Southwest often keep an eye out for Mexican species that stray across the border. Many neotropical migrants of western North America winter in Sonora, and a host of hummingbirds make their home south of the border as well. This eagerly awaited volume by two respected authorities covers more than 500 species of birds and contains a vast amount of information not available elsewhere.
The Birds of Sonora describes all the species known from that state and includes information on distribution, seasonal patterns of occurrence, abundance, and habitats. The first book of its kind in more than half a century to treat birds of this Mexican state immediately south of Arizona, it also contains details of nesting activity for breeding species, provides insight into factors influencing distribution, and notes historical changes in status. Each account is accompanied by a range map depicting the bird's range in Sonora—valuable information not available from any other source and useful to anyone interested in the distribution and ecology of North American birds. Drawings by internationally known wildlife artist Ray Harm enhance many of the entries.
Because other books on Mexican birds don't treat Sonora in detail, The Birds of Sonora is an indispensable resource for birders, and its background descriptions of Sonoran geography, climate, and habitats also make it a key reference for conservation and land use planning. A useful companion to field guides, it is a narrative account that puts readers in touch with birds of this important biogeographic area.
This book is the most comprehensive ever published on the diverse bird life of the Great Basin. In a concise and readable style, Fred Ryser discusses the history, physiology, behavior, ecology, and distribution of nearly four hundred species, including information on navigation, flight, territorial behavior, courtship, nesting, hunting, and migration. Introductory chapters examine how birds survive the extremes of the basin environment, how they maintain heat and water balance, and other important topics in avian biology. Birds of the Great Basin is a standard reference work in American ornithology and an important acquisition for anyone interested in western birds.
Birds of the Lower Colorado River Valley
Kenneth V. Rosenberg, Robert D. Ohmart, William C. Hunter, and Bertin W. Anderson University of Arizona Press, 1991 Library of Congress QL683.C63B57 1990 | Dewey Decimal 598.29791
"A tremendous amount of information is included in this book for banders, birders, and people working to restore the 'Nile of the American Southwest.'" —North American Bird Bander
"A report on several years of scientific research undertaken to investigate the ecological relationships among desert riparian wildlife. . . . Well writen and very informative book." —The Canadian Field Naturalist
This easy-to-use guide gives seasonal information for both popular birding sites and those off the beaten path. Precise directions to the best viewing locations within the region’s diverse habitats enable birdwatchers to efficiently explore urban and wild birding hotspots. Over 500 species of birds can be seen in New York City’s five boroughs and on Long Island, one of the most densely populated and urbanized regions in North America, which also happens to be situated directly on the Atlantic Flyway. In this fragmented environment of scarce resources, birds concentrate on what’s available. This means that high numbers of birds are found in small spaces. In fact, Central Park alone attracts over 225 species of birds, which birders from around the world flock to see during spring and fall migration. Beyond Central Park, the five boroughs and Long Island have numerous wildlife refuges of extraordinary scenic beauty where resident and migratory birds inhabit forests, wetlands, grasslands, and beaches. These special places present an opportunity to see a wide array of songbirds, endangered nesting shorebirds, raptors, and an unprecedented number and variety of waterfowl. Including the latest information on the seasonal status and distribution of more than 400 species, with 39 maps and over 50 photographs, this full-color guide features information essential to planning a birding visit. It will become the go-to book for both the region’s longtime birders and those exploring the area for the first time.
Raised in rural England before the rise of the internet, Ben Crane grew up in the company of wild things, with hawks and other birds of prey alive in his mind—and woods and fields—as symbols of a kind of self-possessed, solitary power. He spent time with them, knew them, and loved them. But as Crane grew into adulthood, situations that may seem to many of us natural, or even comforting, were challenging: he found it difficult to be around other people and to read social cues, sometimes retreating in fear or lashing out in misunderstanding. Eventually, he was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. When Crane became a father, these challenges became unbearable, and he fled to isolation. Hawks brought him back.
In this artful and moving memoir, we follow Crane on his remarkable journey of flight and return. Traveling from the United Kingdom to Pakistan, we learn first about the history and practice of falconry, a beautiful and brutal partnership between humans and birds that has persisted for thousands of years. And as Crane’s personal story unfolds, we come to understand how he found solace and insight through his relationships with these animals. “I saw that my feelings toward nature, and birds of prey in particular, ran in parallel with my feelings for my son,” Crane writes. “I worked out that they were, in fact, two sides of the same coin—the deep love of one could, with gentle observation, inform and unlock the deep love for the other. . . . Perhaps this then is the central theme of my story.”
Many of us rely upon animal companions to provide a sense of joy, compassion, and empathy. But as Blood Ties teaches us, our relationships with the creatures among us can also transform us, illuminating what it means both to be human and to be part of the greater wild—what it means to be alive.
From the brilliantly green and glossy eggs of the Elegant Crested Tinamou—said to be among the most beautiful in the world—to the small brown eggs of the house sparrow that makes its nest in a lamppost and the uniformly brown or white chickens’ eggs found by the dozen in any corner grocery, birds’ eggs have inspired countless biologists, ecologists, and ornithologists, as well as artists, from John James Audubon to the contemporary photographer Rosamond Purcell. For scientists, these vibrant vessels are the source of an array of interesting topics, from the factors responsible for egg coloration to the curious practice of “brood parasitism,” in which the eggs of cuckoos mimic those of other bird species in order to be cunningly concealed among the clutches of unsuspecting foster parents.
The Book of Eggs introduces readers to eggs from six hundred species—some endangered or extinct—from around the world and housed mostly at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. Organized by habitat and taxonomy, the entries include newly commissioned photographs that reproduce each egg in full color and at actual size, as well as distribution maps and drawings and descriptions of the birds and their nests where the eggs are kept warm. Birds’ eggs are some of the most colorful and variable natural products in the wild, and each entry is also accompanied by a brief description that includes evolutionary explanations for the wide variety of colors and patterns, from camouflage designed to protect against predation, to thermoregulatory adaptations, to adjustments for the circumstances of a particular habitat or season. Throughout the book are fascinating facts to pique the curiosity of binocular-toting birdwatchers and budding amateurs alike. Female mallards, for instance, invest more energy to produce larger eggs when faced with the genetic windfall of an attractive mate. Some seabirds, like the cliff-dwelling guillemot, have adapted to produce long, pointed eggs, whose uneven weight distribution prevents them from rolling off rocky ledges into the sea.
A visually stunning and scientifically engaging guide to six hundred of the most intriguing eggs, from the pea-sized progeny of the smallest of hummingbirds to the eggs of the largest living bird, the ostrich, which can weigh up to five pounds, The Book of Eggs offers readers a rare, up-close look at these remarkable forms of animal life.
“The re-creation of a viable population of condors in the Northwest would constitute an achievement of substantial importance…This book goes a long way toward justifying such an effort.” —Noel Snyder, retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist in charge of condor research in the 1980s and lead author of The California Condor: A Saga of Natural History and Conservation
Despite frequent depiction as a bird of California and the desert southwest, North America’s largest avian scavenger once graced the skies of the Pacific Northwest, from northern California to British Columbia. This important volume documents the condor’s history in the region, from prehistoric times to the early twentieth century, and explores the challenges of reintroduction.
Jesse D’Elia and Susan Haig investigate the paleontological and observational record as well as the cultural relationships between Native American tribes and condors, providing the most complete assessment to date of the condor’s occurrence in the Pacific Northwest. They evaluate the probable causes of regional extinction and the likelihood that condors once bred in the region, and they assess factors that must be considered in determining whether they could once again thrive in Northwest skies.
Incorporating the newest research and findings and more than eighty detailed historical accounts of human encounters with these birds of prey, California Condors in the Pacific Northwest sets a new standard for examining the historical record of a species prior to undertaking a reintroduction effort. It is a vital reference for academics, agency decision makers, conservation biologists, and readers interested in Northwest natural history. The volume is beautifully illustrated by Ram Papish and includes a number of previously unpublished photographs.
Many animal species live and breed in colonies. Although biologists have documented numerous costs and benefits of group living, such as increased competition for limited resources and more pairs of eyes to watch for predators, they often still do not agree on why coloniality evolved in the first place.
Drawing on their twelve-year study of a population of cliff swallows in Nebraska, the Browns investigate twenty-six social and ecological costs and benefits of coloniality, many never before addressed in a systematic way for any species. They explore how these costs and benefits are reflected in reproductive success and survivorship, and speculate on the evolution of cliff swallow coloniality.
This work, the most comprehensive and detailed study of vertebrate coloniality to date, will be of interest to all who study social animals, including behavioral ecologists, population biologists, ornithologists, and parasitologists. Its focus on the evolution of coloniality will also appeal to evolutionary biologists and to psychologists studying decision making in animals.
The Brown-headed Cowbird is known to use the nests of more than 200 other bird species, and cowbirds in general are believed to play a role in the decline of some migratory songbird populations. These brood parasites—birds that lay their eggs in the nests of others—have long flourished in North America.
In this timely book, Catherine Ortega summarizes and synthesizes a wealth of information on cowbirds from around the world that has appeared since the publication of Herbert Friedmann's classic 1929 monograph on these birds. Most of this information has appeared in the last quarter-century and reflects advances in our understanding of how brood parasitism influences, and is influenced by, host species. Ortega shows that in order to manage cowbirds without further damaging delicate balances in host-parasite relationships, it is necessary to understand such factors as behavior, reproduction, population dynamics, and response to landscape patterns. She examines and explains the origin, evolution, and costs of brood parasitism, and she discusses the philosophical and ecological considerations regarding the management of cowbirds—a controversial issue because of their perceived influence on threatened and endangered birds.
Because brood parasitism has evolved independently in various bird families, information on this adaptive strategy is of great ecological interest and considerable value to wildlife management. Cowbirds and Other Brood Parasites is an important reference on these creatures that enhances our understanding of both their behavior and their part in the natural world.
Two species come to mind when one thinks of the Galapagos Islands—the giant tortoises and Darwin’s fabled finches. While not as immediately captivating as the tortoises, these little brown songbirds and their beaks have become one of the most familiar and charismatic research systems in biology, providing generations of natural historians and scientists a lens through which to view the evolutionary process and its role in morphological differentiation.
In Darwin’s Finches, Kathleen Donohue excerpts and collects the most illuminating and scientifically significant writings on the finches of the Galapagos to teach the fundamental principles of evolutionary theory and to provide a historical record of scientific debate. Beginning with fragments of Darwin’s Galapagos field notes and subsequent correspondence, and moving through the writings of such famed field biologists as David Lack and Peter and Rosemary Grant, the collection demonstrates how scientific processes have changed over time, how different branches of biology relate to one another, and how they all relate to evolution. As Donohue notes, practicing science today is like entering a conversation that has been in progress for a long, long time. Her book provides the history of that conversation and an invitation to join in. Students of both evolutionary biology and history of science will appreciate this compilation of historical and contemporary readings and will especially value Donohue’s enlightening commentary.
This is the story of the survival, recovery, astonishing success, and controversial status of the double-crested cormorant. After surviving near extinction driven by DDT and other contaminants from the 1940s through the early 1970s, the cormorant has made an unprecedented comeback from mere dozens to a population in the millions, bringing the bird again into direct conflict with humans. Hated for its colonial nesting behavior; the changes it brings to landscapes; and especially its competition with commercial and sports fishers, fisheries, and fish farmers throughout the Great Lakes and Mississippi Delta regions, the cormorant continues to be persecuted by various means, including the shotgun.
In The Double-Crested Cormorant, Dennis Wild brings together the biological, social, legal, and international aspects of the cormorant's world to give a complete and balanced view of one of the Great Lakes' and perhaps North America's most misunderstood species. In addition to taking a detailed look at the complex natural history of the cormorant, the book explores the implications of congressional acts and international treaties, the workings and philosophies of state and federal wildlife agencies, the unrelenting efforts of aquaculture and fishing interests to "cull" cormorant numbers to "acceptable" levels, and the reactions and visions of conservation groups. Wild examines both popular preconceptions about cormorants (what kinds of fish they eat and how much) and the effectiveness of ongoing efforts to control the cormorant population. Finally, the book delves into the question of climate and terrain changes, their consequences for cormorants, the new territories to which the birds must adapt, and the conflicts this species is likely to face going forward.
With its colorful landscape and wonderful diversity of plant and animal communities, the southwestern borderlands have attracted naturalists for centuries. As Col. Thomas Henry noted in 1853, there “are to be found many curious birds, peculiar to the country.” This book identifies more than 100 early ornithologists and explorers who entered the Southwest from 1528 to 1900, all of whom have contributed in significant ways to our understanding of the region’s avian life.
Dan Fischer identifies those individuals who documented the natural history of the Southwest and summarizes their contributions to our knowledge about the region’s birds—particularly through discovering and naming them. He tells why the ornithologists came to the region, what they saw, who described and named the new discoveries, and who were the first to sketch or paint new birds.
Beginning with accounts of the earliest Spanish explorers such as Cabeza de Vaca and Coronado, Fischer considers all who visited the region through the end of the nineteenth century, including such renowned naturalists as William Gambel, John McCown, Adolphus Heermann, Elliott Coues, Charles Bendire, and Henry Henshaw. In between, he recalls English mining speculators, French traders, army explorers, railroad surveyors, and more—all of whom contributed to ornithological knowledge.
Although focusing on ornithologists, Fischer’s text reveals the wonderful variety of avian species in the region and their relationship with human history. Featuring a comprehensive bibliography, illustrations, and maps that portray the westward march of exploration, it is a major sourcebook for southwestern ornithology and an essential volume for anyone interested in birds.
Along with reproduction, balancing energy expenditure with the limits of resource acquisition is essential for both a species and a population to survive. But energy is a limited resource, as we know well, so birds and mammals—the most energy-intensive fauna on the planet—must reduce energy expenditures to maintain this balance, some taking small steps, and others extreme measures.
Here Brian K. McNab draws on his over sixty years in the field to provide a comprehensive account of the energetics of birds and mammals, one fully integrated with their natural history. McNab begins with an overview of thermal rates—much of our own energy is spent maintaining our 98.6?F temperature—and explains how the basal rate of metabolism drives energy use, especially in extreme environments. He then explores those variables that interact with the basal rate of metabolism, like body size and scale and environments, highlighting their influence on behavior, distribution, and even reproductive output. Successive chapters take up energy and population dynamics and evolution. A critical central theme that runs through the book is how the energetic needs of birds and mammals come up against rapid environmental change and how this is hastening the pace of extinction.
Olsen's invaluable manual presents diagnostic characteristics of the fish, amphibian, and reptile bones commonly found in archaeological sites in the southeastern and southwestern United Stares. An appendix describes in detail the osteology of the wild turkey.
Hawks fly at very high altitudes, sometimes over water, and thus their flight behavior and migration patterns are extremely difficult to study. Now, based on nearly ten years of research, this book provides the most complete analysis to date of how hawks migrate. Paul Kerlinger has employed both direct observations and radar techniques to obtain a much more accurate understanding of the migratory behavior of hawks and the "decisions" they make in flight. And, he has integrated data on the flight behavior of raptors in general with information about their ecology, physiology, evolution, and nonmigratory behavior.
Kerlinger begins with an overview, discussing ecology and geography, research methods, natural history, and evolution, and atmospheric structure. He then addresses specific aspects of flight behavior: aerodynamics, morphology, mechanics, direction, altitude, flocking, water crossing, speed selection, daily distance traveled, and flight strategies. Kerlinger describes each aspect of behavior quantitatively, testing mechanistic hypotheses. In conclusion, he examines how migrants integrate these behavioral components. Throughout the text he draws comparisons between the migratory flight behavior of hawks and that of other taxa. By means of such comparisons, researchers can gain insight into the selective pressures that shape the behavior of migrant species.
An essential book for all bird and wildlife buffs visiting the Grand Canyon. —Wildlife Book Review
"Will benefit all amateur naturalists because of its survey of the life zone patterns in [the] southwestern United States." —Science Books & Films
"The subtitle accurately reflects the contents of this excellent book on the birds of a unique natural wonder and national treasure. . . . An annotated checklist discusses the status and abundance of each of the over 300 species of birds known to have occurred in the Grand Canyon region, which is defined here as the river between Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Mead and the contiguous plateaus to the north and south." —Journal of Arizona History
Host to a large and diverse bird population as well as a long human history, Virginia is arguably the birthplace of ornithology in North America. David W. Johnston's History of Ornithology in Virginia, the result of over a decade of research, is the first book to address this fascinating element of the state's natural history.
Tertiary-era fossils show that birds inhabited Virginia as early as 65 million years ago. Their first human observers were the region's many Indian tribes and, later, colonists on Roanoke Island and in Jamestown. Explorers pushing westward contributed further to the development of a conception of birds that was distinctively American.
By the 1900s planter-farmers, naturalists, and government employees had amassed bird records from the Barrier Islands and the Dismal Swamp to the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains. The modern era saw the emergence of ornithological organizations and game laws, as well as increasingly advanced studies of bird distribution, migration pathways, and breeding biology. Johnston shows us how ornithology in Virginia evolved from observations of wondrous creatures to a sophisticated science recognizing some 435 avian species.
David W. Johnston taught ornithology at the University of Virginia's Mountain Lake Biological Station for nearly two decades and has edited numerous ecological studies as well as the Journal of Field Ornithology and Ornithological Monographs.
Levine, George Rutgers University Press, 1995 Library of Congress QL677.5.L465 1995 | Dewey Decimal 598.07234
In the tradition of Annie Dillard, this book is a set of meditations on nature, in this case specifically on the way birds and birding are entangled with life, with work, family, and friends. While it delicately narrates loving engagement with birds, it is not a field guide. Its author is a birder, not a professional ornithologist. Although the book does in fact offer a surprising amount of detail about birds, it is primarily a consideration of the experience and human significance of seeing birds, rather than of the birds in themselves as objects of systematic study. It attempts to convey something of the extraordinary variety and excitement of birding, the complications and subtleties of bird identification, the implication of birding in the imagination and the world against which it is usually defined.
While one doesn’t have to be interested in birds to read it with pleasure, it attempts to seduce the reader into the birding experience through a series of autobiographical memoirs with birds at their center. It is not meant for experts, except as experts might be interested in how a journeyman experiences their more significantly constructed world. In the end the book is about a lot more than birds. It is about “lifebirds,” with all the many meanings that word might seem to imply.
The Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona is a peer-reviewed monograph series sponsored by the School of Anthropology. Established in 1959, the series publishes archaeological and ethnographic papers that use contemporary method and theory to investigate problems of anthropological importance in the southwestern United States, Mexico, and related areas.
At the center of Stefan Bargheer’s account of bird watching, field ornithology, and nature conservation in Britain and Germany stands the question of how values change over time and how individuals develop moral commitments. Using life history data derived from written narratives and oral histories, Moral Entanglements follows the development of conservation from the point in time at which the greatest declines in bird life took place to the current efforts in large-scale biodiversity conservation and environmental policy within the European Union. While often depicted as the outcome of an environmental revolution that has taken place since the 1960s, Bargheer demonstrates to the contrary that the relevant practices and institutions that shape contemporary conservation have evolved gradually since the early nineteenth century. Moral Entanglements further shows that the practices and institutions in which bird conservation is entangled differ between the two countries. In Britain, birds derived their meaning in the context of the game of bird watching as a leisure activity. Here birds are now, as then, the most popular and best protected taxonomic group of wildlife due to their particularly suitable status as toys in a collecting game, turning nature into a playground. In Germany, by contrast, birds were initially part of the world of work. They were protected as useful economic tools, rendering services of ecological pest control in a system of agricultural production modeled after the factory shop floor. Based on this extensive analysis, Bargheer formulates a sociology of morality informed by a pragmatist theory of value.
A celebrated figure in myth, song, and story, the nightingale has captivated the imagination for millennia, its complex song evoking a prism of human emotions,—from melancholy to joy, from the fear of death to the immortality of art.
But have you ever listened closely to a nightingale’s song? It’s a strange and unsettling sort of composition—an eclectic assortment of chirps, whirs, trills, clicks, whistles, twitters, and gurgles. At times it is mellifluous, at others downright guttural. It is a rhythmic assault, always eluding capture. What happens if you decide to join in?
As philosopher and musician David Rothenberg shows in this searching and personal new book, the nightingale’s song is so peculiar in part because it reflects our own cacophony back at us. As vocal learners, nightingales acquire their music through the world around them, singing amidst the sounds of humanity in all its contradictions of noise and beauty, hard machinery and soft melody. Rather than try to capture a sound not made for us to understand, Rothenberg seeks these musical creatures out, clarinet in tow, and makes a new sound with them. He takes us to the urban landscape of Berlin—longtime home to nightingale colonies where the birds sing ever louder in order to be heard—and invites us to listen in on their remarkable collaboration as birds and instruments riff off of each other’s sounds. Through dialogue, travel records, sonograms, tours of Berlin’s city parks, and musings on the place animal music occupies in our collective imagination, Rothenberg takes us on a quest for a new sonic alchemy, a music impossible for any one species to make alone. In the tradition of The Hidden Life of Trees and The Invention of Nature, Rothenberg has written a provocative and accessible book to attune us ever closer to the natural environment around us.
Like many rivers of the arid Southwest, the Gila is for much of its length a dry bed except after seasonal rains. Yet a mere century ago it hosted a thriving biological community, and two centuries ago American Indians fished from its banks.
It is no mystery how the desert swallowed up the Gila. Beaver trapping, overgrazing, and woodcutting first ruined natural watersheds, then damming confined the last drops of its surface flow. Historical sources and archaeological data inform us of the Gila's past, but its bird life further testifies to the changes.
Amadeo Rea traces the decline of bird life on the Middle Gila in a book that addresses the broader issue of habitat deterioration. Bird lovers will find it a storehouse of data on avian migration patterns and on ornithological classification based on skeletal structure. Anthropologists can draw on its Piman ethnoclassification of birds, which links the Gila River tribe with various other Uto-Aztecan peoples of Mexico's west coast.
But for all concerned with protecting our environment, Once a River offers evidence of change that might be apprehended elsewhere. It is a case history of a loss that perhaps need never have occurred.
From blackbirds and orioles to meadowlarks, grackles, and cowbirds, the variety and variation shown by members of the family Icteridae is legend. The family exhibits great diversity in size and coloration, mating and nest building, and habits and habitats. This group of 94 New World species once known as the troupials is well represented in backyards across America; yet most icterids are tropical or semi-tropical species that remain largely unstudied.
The least known of these species are perhaps best known to Alexander Skutch, who has studied birds in a Costa Rican tropical valley for more than half a century. In this fascinating book the first devoted exclusively to the icterids—he combines his own observations with those of other naturalists to provide a comparative natural history and biology of this remarkable family of birds. Devoting a separate chapter to each major group or genus, he delineates the outstanding characteristics of each and includes observations of little-studied tropical species such as caciques and oropendolas.
Orioles, Blackbirds, and Their Kin is an eminently readable natural history in the classic style. Enhanced by 31 scratchboard illustrations, this book will delight nature enthusiasts everywhere with its fascinating exposition of avian diversity. Because so much of the published information on the icterids is widely scattered, Skutch's painstaking compilation has created a valuable reference work that will provide students and researchers with a wealth of new insights into the tropical members of this New World family.
The average kilometer of tropical rainforest is teeming with life; it contains thousands of species of plants and animals. As The Ornaments of Life reveals, many of the most colorful and eye-catching rainforest inhabitants—toucans, monkeys, leaf-nosed bats, and hummingbirds to name a few—are an important component of the infrastructure that supports life in the forest. These fruit-and-nectar eating birds and mammals pollinate the flowers and disperse the seeds of hundreds of tropical plants, and unlike temperate communities, much of this greenery relies exclusively on animals for reproduction.
Synthesizing recent research by ecologists and evolutionary biologists, Theodore H. Fleming and W. John Kress demonstrate the tremendous functional and evolutionary importance of these tropical pollinators and frugivores. They shed light on how these mutually symbiotic relationships evolved and lay out the current conservation status of these essential species. In order to illustrate the striking beauty of these “ornaments” of the rainforest, the authors have included a series of breathtaking color plates and full-color graphs and diagrams.
This comparative analysis aids the fieldworker in identifying fossil proboscidean bones from early man sites. It also describes the skulls, mandibles, and posteranial skeletons of forty families of birds frequently found in archaeological excavations in the United States.
Penguins in the Desert
Eric Wagner Oregon State University Press, 2018 Library of Congress QL696.S473W34 2018 | Dewey Decimal 598.47
Most of us wouldn’t think to look for penguins in a hot desert, but every year along a windswept edge of coastal Patagonia, hundreds of thousands of Magellanic penguins gather to rear their young at Punta Tombo, Argentina. It is the largest penguin colony in the world outside of Antarctica, and for the past three decades, biologist Dee Boersma has followed them there.
Eric Wagner joined her team for six months in 2008, and in Penguins in the Desert, he chronicles that season in the remarkable lives of both the Magellanic penguins of Punta Tombo and the scientists who track their every move. For Boersma, the penguins are ecosystem sentinels. At the colony’s peak, more than a million birds bred there, but now less than half as many do. In confronting this fact, Boersma tackles some of the most urgent issues facing penguins and people today. What is the best way to manage our growing appetite for fish? How do we stop catastrophic oil spills from coating birds? How will we address the looming effects of climate change?
As Wagner spends more and more time with the penguins and the scientists in the field, other equally pressing questions come to mind. What is it like to be beaten by a penguin? Or bitten by one? How can a person be so dirty for so many months on end? In a tale that is as much about life in the field as it is about one of the most charismatic creatures on earth, Wagner brings humor, warmth, and hard-won insight as he tries to find the answer to what turns out to be the most pressing question of all: What does it mean to know an animal and to grapple with the consequences of that knowing?
Peregrine falcons have their share of claims to fame. With a diving speed of over two hundred miles per hour, these birds of prey are the fastest animals on earth or in the sky, and they are now well known for adapting from life on rocky cliffs to a different kind of mountain: modern skyscrapers. But adaptability only helps so much. In 1951, there were no peregrines left in Illinois, for instance, and it looked as if the species would be wiped out entirely in North America. Today, however, peregrines are flourishing.
In The Peregrine Returns, Mary Hennen gives wings to this extraordinary conservation success story. Drawing on the beautiful watercolors of Field Museum artist-in-residence Peggy Macnamara and photos by Field Museum research assistant Stephanie Ware, as well as her own decades of work with peregrines, Hennen uses a program in Chicago as a case study for the peregrines’ journey from their devastating decline to the discovery of its cause (a thinning of eggshells caused by a by-product of DDT), through to recovery, revealing how the urban landscape has played an essential role in enabling falcons to return to the wild—and how people are now learning to live in close proximity to these captivating raptors.
Both a model for conservation programs across the country and an eye-opening look at the many creatures with which we share our homes, this richly illustrated story is an inspiring example of how urban architecture can serve not only our cities’ human inhabitants, but also their wild ones.
Raptor: A Journey through Birds
James Macdonald Lockhart University of Chicago Press, 2017 Library of Congress QL677.78.L632 2017 | Dewey Decimal 598.0723441
From the merlin to the golden eagle, the goshawk to the honey buzzard, James Macdonald Lockhart’s stunning debut is a quest of beak, talon, wing, and sky. On its surface, Raptor is a journey across the British Isles in search of fifteen species of birds of prey, but as Lockhart seeks out these elusive predators, his quest becomes so much more: an incomparably elegant elegy on the beauty of the British landscape and, through the birds, a journey toward understanding an awesome power at the heart of the natural world—a power that is majestic and frightening in its strength, but also fragile.
Taking as his guide the nineteenth-century Scottish naturalist and artist William MacGillivray, Lockhart loosely follows the historical trail forged by MacGillivray as he ventured from Aberdeen to London filling his pockets with plants and writing and illustrating the canonical A History of British Birds. Linking his journey to that of his muse, Lockhart shares his own encounters with raptors ranging from the scarce osprey to the successfully reintroduced red kite, a species once protected by medieval royal statute, revealing with poetic immediacy the extraordinary behaviors of these birds and the extreme environments they call home.
Creatures both worshipped and reviled, raptors have a talon-hold on the human heart and imagination. With his book, Lockhart unravels these complicated ties in a work by turns reverent and euphoric—an interweaving of history, travel, and nature writing at its best. A hymn to wanderers, to the land and to the sky, and especially to the birds, Raptor soars.
The Raptors of Arizona
Edited by Richard L. Glinski, with full-color illustrations by Richard Sloan University of Arizona Press, 1998 Library of Congress QL696.F3R375 1998 | Dewey Decimal 598.909791
Thousands of birdwatchers come to Arizona each year seeking rare or intriguing species, and for those watching the skies the additional sighting of a bird of prey is a reward in itself. The Grand Canyon state boasts the most dramatic assortment of raptors in North America: hawks, eagles, falcons, kites, and owls, plus vultures and condors. Here can be found nearly all the raptor species of the continental United States and also established populations of species associated with Mexico, such as the Gray Hawk, Common Black-Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, and Whiskered Screech-Owl.
Arizona's raptors are found in an unrivaled diversity of habitats, from saguaro cactus forests where tiny Elf Owls nest to the Vermilion Cliffs, where the gigantic California Condor was introduced in 1996. Yet many species live in habitats that are now jeopardized by degradation or development, making an understanding and appreciation of raptors crucial to their survival.
The Raptors of Arizona brings together the knowledge and insights of 29 raptor and wildlife authorities who provide original information and syntheses on Arizona's 42 raptor species, with an emphasis on aspects of their natural history in Arizona. A chapter on each bird includes its description, a range map, and information on its distribution, habitat, life history, and status. Additional chapters cover conservation, habitats, where and when to watch raptors, and the sport of falconry. The book is enhanced by 42 full-color illustrations by Richard Sloan, one of the premier wildlife artists in North America, whose paintings were commissioned by the Arizona Wildlife Foundation specifically for this project. Co-published with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
At birdfeeders and in backyards across North America, the dark-eyed junco, or snowbird, can be found foraging for its next meal. With an estimated population of at least 630 million, juncos inhabit forests, parks, and even suburban habitats, making them one of the continent’s most abundant and easily observable songbirds. But while common and widespread, juncos also exhibit extraordinary diversity in color, shape, size, and behavior across their range, making them ideal study subjects for biologists interested in ecology and evolutionary diversification.
Intended for scholars, citizen scientists, and amateur ornithologists, alike, Snowbird synthesizes decades of research from the diverse and talented researchers who study the Junco genus. Though contributors approach their subject from a variety of perspectives, they share a common goal: elucidating the organismal and evolutionary processes by which animals adapt and diversify in response to environmental change. Placing special emphasis on the important role that underlying physiological, hormonal, and behavioral mechanisms play in these processes, Snowbird not only provides a definitive exploration of the junco’s evolutionary history and behavioral and physiological diversity but also underscores the junco’s continued importance as a model organism in a time of rapid global climate change. By merging often disparate biological fields, Snowbird offers biologists across disciplines an integrative framework for further research into adaptation, population divergence, and the formation of new species.
A dynamic account of ornithological history in America’s heartland.
Today, more than fifty million Americans traipse through wetlands at dawn, endure clouds of mosquitoes, and brave freezing autumn winds just to catch a glimpse of a bird. The human desire to connect with winged creatures defies age and generation. In the Midwest, humans and birds have lived together for more than twelve thousand years. Taking Flight explores how and why people have worshipped, feared, studied, hunted, eaten, and protected the birds that surrounded them.
Author and birder Michael Edmonds has combed archaeological reports, missionaries’ journals, travelers’ letters, early scientific treatises, the memoirs of American Indian elders, and the folklore of hunters, farmers, and formerly enslaved people throughout the Midwest to reveal how our ancestors thought about the very same birds we see today. Whether you’re a casual bird-watcher, a hard-core life-lister, or simply someone who loves the outdoors, you’ll look at birds differently after reading this book.
People form enduring emotional bonds with other animal species, such as dogs, cats, and horses. For the most part, these are domesticated animals, with one notable exception: many people form close and supportive relationships with parrots, even though these amusing and curious birds remain thoroughly wild creatures. What enables this unique group of animals to form social bonds with people, and what does this mean for their survival?
In Thinking like a Parrot, Alan B. Bond and Judy Diamond look beyond much of the standard work on captive parrots to the mischievous, inquisitive, and astonishingly vocal parrots of the wild. Focusing on the psychology and ecology of wild parrots, Bond and Diamond document their distinctive social behavior, sophisticated cognition, and extraordinary vocal abilities. Also included are short vignettes—field notes on the natural history and behavior of both rare and widely distributed species, from the neotropical crimson-fronted parakeet to New Zealand’s flightless, ground-dwelling kākāpō. This composite approach makes clear that the behavior of captive parrots is grounded in the birds’ wild ecology and evolution, revealing that parrots’ ability to bond with people is an evolutionary accident, a by-product of the intense sociality and flexible behavior that characterize their lives.
Despite their adaptability and intelligence, however, nearly all large parrot species are rare, threatened, or endangered. To successfully manage and restore these wild populations, Bond and Diamond argue, we must develop a fuller understanding of their biology and the complex set of ecological and behavioral traits that has led to their vulnerability. Spanning the global distribution of parrot species, Thinking like a Parrot is rich with surprising insights into parrot intelligence, flexibility, and—even in the face of threats—resilience.
Raptors are an unusual success story of wildness thriving in the heart of our cities—they have developed substantial populations around the world in recent decades. But there are deeper issues around how these birds make their urban homes. New research provides insight into the role of raptors as vital members of the urban ecosystem and future opportunities for protection, management, and environmental education.
A cutting-edge synthesis of over two decades of scientific research, Urban Raptors is the first book to offer a complete overview of urban ecosystems in the context of bird-of-prey ecology and conservation. This comprehensive volume examines urban environments, explains why some species adapt to urban areas but others do not, and introduces modern research tools to help in the study of urban raptors. It also delves into climate change adaptation, human-wildlife conflict, and the unique risks birds of prey face in urban areas before concluding with real-world wildlife management case studies and suggestions for future research and conservation efforts.
Boal and Dykstra have compiled the go-to single source of information on urban birds of prey. Among researchers, urban green space planners, wildlife management agencies, birders, and informed citizens alike, Urban Raptors will foster a greater understanding of birds of prey and an increased willingness to accommodate them as important members, not intruders, of our cities.
For over one hundred years, ornithologists and amateur birders have jointly campaigned for the conservation of bird species, documenting not only birds’ beauty and extraordinary diversity, but also their importance to ecosystems worldwide. But while these avian enthusiasts have noted that birds eat fruit, carrion, and pests; spread seed and fertilizer; and pollinate plants, among other services, they have rarely asked what birds are worth in economic terms. In Why Birds Matter, an international collection of ornithologists, botanists, ecologists, conservation biologists, and environmental economists seeks to quantify avian ecosystem services—the myriad benefits that birds provide to humans.
The first book to approach ecosystem services from an ornithological perspective, Why Birds Matter asks what economic value we can ascribe to those services, if any, and how this value should inform conservation. Chapters explore the role of birds in such important ecological dynamics as scavenging, nutrient cycling, food chains, and plant-animal interactions—all seen through the lens of human well-being—to show that quantifying avian ecosystem services is crucial when formulating contemporary conservation strategies. Both elucidating challenges and providing examples of specific ecosystem valuations and guidance for calculation, the contributors propose that in order to advance avian conservation, we need to appeal not only to hearts and minds, but also to wallets.
The Missouri River Basin is home to thousands of bird species that migrate across the Great Plains of North America each year, marking the seasonal cycle and filling the air with their song. In time immemorial, Native inhabitants of this vast region established alliances with birds that helped them to connect with the gods, to learn the workings of nature, and to live well.
This book integrates published and archival sources covering archaeology, ethnohistory, historical ethnography, folklore, and interviews with elders from the Blackfoot, Assiniboine, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, and Crow communities to explore how relationships between people and birds are situated in contemporary practice, and what has fostered its cultural persistence. Native principles of ecological and cosmological knowledge are brought into focus to highlight specific beliefs, practices, and concerns associated with individual bird species, bird parts, bird objects, the natural and cultural landscapes that birds and people cohabit, and the future of this ancient alliance.
Detailed descriptions critical to ethnohistorians and ethnobiologists are accompanied by thirty-four color images. A unique contribution, The Winged expands our understanding of sets of interrelated dependencies or entanglements between bird and human agents, and it steps beyond traditional scientific and anthropological distinctions between humans and animals to reveal the intricate and eminently social character of these interactions.
There is a common but often unspoken arrogance on the part of outside observers that folk science and traditional knowledge—the type developed by Native communities and tribal groups—is inferior to the “formal science” practiced by Westerners. In this lucidly written and humanistic account of the O’odham tribes of Arizona and Northwest Mexico, ethnobiologist Amadeo M. Rea exposes the limitations of this assumption by exploring the rich ornithology that these tribes have generated about the birds that are native to their region. He shows how these peoples’ observational knowledge provides insights into the behaviors, mating habits, migratory patterns, and distribution of local bird species, and he uncovers the various ways that this knowledge is incorporated into the communities’ traditions and esoteric belief systems. Drawing on more than four decades of field and textual research along with hundreds of interviews with tribe members, Rea identifies how birds are incorporated, both symbolically and practically, into Piman legends, songs, art, religion, and ceremonies. Through highly detailed descriptions and accounts loaded with Native voice, this book is the definitive study of folk ornithology. It also provides valuable data for scholars of linguistics and North American Native studies, and it makes a significant contribution to our understanding of how humans make sense of their world. It will be of interest to historians of science, anthropologists, and scholars of indigenous cultures and folk taxonomy.