Birdbooker Report 37

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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 birding pals and book collector, 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. Darwin, Charles (and David Quammen, general editor). On the Origin of Species: The Illustrated Edition. 2008. Sterling Publishing. Hardbound: 544 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S. [Amazon: $23.10]. SUMMARY: To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Sterling Publishing has reprinted the 1st edition of this scientific classic, that was published on 24 November 1859. This book is illustrated with photos, artwork and samples of letters and other writings by Darwin. Most of the artwork is from his “Voyage of the Beagle.” Anyone interested in Charles Darwin will want this book!

New and Recent Titles:

  1. Currie, Philip J., Wann Langston, Jr. and Darren H. Tanke. A New Horned Dinosaur From an Upper Cretaceous Bone Bed in Alberta. 2008. NRC Research Press, Canada. Hardbound: 144 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S. [National Research Council Canada]. SUMMARY: A detailed monograph on a new species of horned (ceratopsid) dinosaur, Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai, from Alberta, Canada. This book is divided into three chapters. The first chapter describes the new species in detail. The second chapter describes the site the specimens were found at. The third chapter details the brain cavity and inner ear structure of the new species. Anyone studying horned (ceratopsid) dinosaurs will want this book.
  2. Rupke, Nicolaas A. Alexander von Humboldt: A Metabiography. 2008. University of Chicago Press. Paperback: 316 pages. Price: $21.00 U.S. [Amazon: $18.90]. SUMMARY: Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was a well know naturalist, explorer, and politician. Rupke’s book discusses how Humboldt biographers from the Prussian era to the fall of the Berlin Wall, configured and reconfigured Humboldt’s life according to the sensibilities of the day.
  3. Schutt, Bill. Dark Banquet: Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-feeding Creatures. 2008. Harmony Books. Hardbound: 325 pages. Price: $25.95 U.S. [Amazon: $17.13]. SUMMARY: Just in time for Halloween, comes this book about the sanguivores: blood-feeding animals. Schutt starts the book by introducing his research subjects, the three species of vampire bats. My favorite bit of trivia about them is they will imitate chicken chicks to get close enough to a hen in order to get a meal. From there the author discusses blood and blood-letting, leeches, mites, ticks and the Candiru (the “penis fish”). This book isn’t for the squeamish!

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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