Birdbooker Report 38

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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. Davis, Kate. Falcons of North America. 2008. Mountain Press Publishing Company. Paperback: 227 pages. Price: $22.00 U.S. [Amazon: $14.96]. SUMMARY: This book covers the six regularly occurring species of North American falcons [Kestrels, Merlins, Aplomado, Prairie and Peregrine Falcons, and the Gyrfalcon]. The book is divided into two sections: general biology and species accounts, and the book even includes directions for assembling nest boxes for kestrels. The outstanding photography highlights this book. Anyone interested in falcons will want this book!

New and Recent Titles:

  1. Birkhead, Tim. The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology. 2008. Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 433 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S. [Amazon: $29.70]. SUMMARY: Tim Birkhead examines the history of various ornithological topics such as the breeding cycle, territoriality, instinct and intelligence, and by doing so, he reveals how birders have overcome centuries-old superstitions and untested truths to reach a clearer understanding of birds.The artwork is mostly by pre-1900s artists, and many of these works have rarely if ever been seen before. Anyone interested in ornithological history will want to add this book to their collection.
  2. Ford, Ansley Watson and Denver W. Holt. Snowy Owls: Whoo Are They? 2008. Mountain Press Publishing Company. Paperback: 68 pages. Price: $12.00 U.S. [Amazon: $10.20]. SUMMARY: This children’s book will especially appeal to Harry Potter fans, young and old, who want to learn more about the real “Hedwig”. This book covers the biology and life cycle of the Snowy Owl, from hunting to courtship, nesting, raising chicks, and yearly migration. For ages 8 and up.
  3. Holldobler, Bert and E.O. Wilson. The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies. 2008. W.W. Norton. Hardbound: 522 pages. Price: $55.00 U.S. [Amazon: $34.65]. SUMMARY: The authors of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Ants (1990) collaborate once again on the social evolution of insects. The Superorganism promises to be one of the most important scientific works published in this decade: published eighteen years after the publication of The Ants, this new volume expands our knowledge of the social insects (among them, ants, bees, wasps, and termites) and is based on remarkable research conducted mostly within the last two decades. Includes 110 color and 100 black-and-white illustrations. If you liked the authors’ previous work, you’ll like this book. Writers of science fiction will also appreciate this book.
  4. Kingsland, Sharon E. The Evolution of American Ecology: 1890-2000. 2008. Johns Hopkins University Press. Paperback: 313 pages. Price: $25.00 U.S. [Amazon: $25.00]. SUMMARY: The author argues that the creation of institutions and research laboratories, coupled with a new intellectual directions in science, were crucial to the development of ecology as a discipline in the United States. Deeply researched and well written, Kingsland’s study is likely to become a standard reference for scholars from many fields: Anyone interested in the history of American ecology will want this book.

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 38

  1. Patrick says:

    That gyr in the picture must be a captive bird. It’s bill looks a bit overgrown.

  2. shonny says:

    Douglas Carlson’s biography Roger Tory Peterson should be added to the list.
    Not particularly well written, but the subject (RTP) is very interesting.

  3. Anne Iverson says:

    Thank you for the review of our book “Falcons of North America.” We truly appreciate the great review. The picture of the gyrfalcon next to the book cover is not from our book, and its beak is overgrown. Please feel free to use one of the fabulous pictures that are from the book instead of the one that you posted.
    Anne Iverson
    Mountain Press Marketing Manager

  4. Ian Paulsen says:

    HI ALL:
    Here’s a nicer photo of a falcon, this time a Peregrine Falcon.