Birdbooker Report 34

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“One cannot have too many good bird books”
–Ralph Hoffmann, Birds of the Pacific States (1927).

The Birdbooker Report is a special weekly report of wide variety of science, nature and behavior books that are or soon will be available for purchase. This report is written by one of my Seattle bird pals, Ian “Birdbooker” Paulsen, and is published here for your enjoyment. Here’s this week’s issue of the Birdbooker Report by which lists ecology, environment, natural history and bird books that are (or will soon be) available for purchase.


  1. Hanson, Harold C. The White-cheeked Geese: Taxonomy, Ecophysiographic Relationships, Biogeography, and Evolutionary Considerations (2 volumes). 2006 and 2008. AVVAR books. Paperbacks: 420 pages and 692 pages. Price: $25.00 U.S. each. SUMMARY: Harold Hanson’s (1917-2003) posthumously published magnum opus on the systematics of the Canada Goose complex.

New and Recent Titles:

  1. Angier, Bradford (revised by David K. Foster). Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants (2nd edition). 2008. Stackpole Books. Paperback: 258 pages. Price: $21.95 U.S. [Amazon: $16.46]. SUMMARY: This classic field guide on medicinal wild plants has been revised and updated.
  2. Benton, Michael J. (editor). The Seventy Great Mysteries of the Natural World. 2008. Thames and Hudson. Hardbound: 304 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S. [Amazon: $29.70]. SUMMARY: Topics covered range from origins (of the Earth and life on it) to global warming and the future.
  3. Fortey, Richard. Dry Storeroom No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum. 2008. Knopf. Hardbound: 335 pages. Price: $27.50 U.S. [Amazon: $16.50]. SUMMARY: A behind the scenes look at the Natural History Museum of London, England. GrrlScientist comment: As a former postdoc researcher at a natural history museum, I MUST READ THIS BOOK!
  4. Gibbons, Diane K. (with Mark Elbroch). Stories in Tracks and Sign: Reading the Clues that Animals Leave Behind. 2008. Stackpole Books. Paperback: 113 pages. Price: $21.95 U.S. [Amazon: $14.93]. SUMMARY: Sort of a CSI for naturalists.

About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to Birdbooker Report 34

  1. Rick Wright says:

    I hear only bad things about Hanson on Branta–any countervailing views out there?

  2. Ian "Birdbooker" Paulsen says:

    HI Rick et al.:
    Hanson’s work is controversial among avian taxonomists. He recognizes 6 species in the Canada Goose complex and around 200 SUBspecies! These large numbers are hard for other taxonomists to swallow. I would just stick with the current 2 species (Canada and Cackling Geese) that the AOU checklist committee recognize.