Birdbooker Report 41

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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 a wide variety of science, nature and behavior books that currently 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 edited by me and published here for your information and enjoyment. Below the fold is this week’s issue of The Birdbooker Report which lists ecology, environment, natural history and bird books that are (or will soon be) available for purchase.

New and Recent Titles:

  1. Barthel, Peter H. and Paschalis Dougalis. New Holland European Bird Guide. 2008. New Holland Publishers. Paperback: 192 pages. Price: about $16.42 U.S. [Amazon: £7.69 in the UK and $11.80 and up in the USA]. SUMMARY: A compact and concise field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe. It covers more than 500 bird species, including all those that commonly breed, pass through or winter in Britain and Europe, plus a number of regular vagrants, and contains 1,700 bird images in total. The artwork by Dougalis is nice. It is less expensive and much more portable than most other bird field guides, being lighter and more pocket-sized. I would recommend this book for beginning/casual birders. Grrlscientist comment: I’d sure like to review this book on my site, especially since I travel to Europe as much as possible!
  2. Ellis, Richard. Monsters of the Sea. 2004. The Lyons Press. Paperback: 429 pages. Price: $16.95 U.S. [Amazon: $11.53]. SUMMARY: A detailed discussion of creatures both real and imagined that have been labeled “sea monsters” over the centuries. Describing only the best known and the best documented so-called “sea monsters”, the book deals mostly with squids and sharks, but the author also traces the mermaid to the manatee and dugong, Leviathan to the sperm whale, kraken to the giant squid and polyp to the octopus (sharks, however, remain sharks). At the end of this engaging book, Ellis confesses to skepticism: “monsters, if they exist, have more to fear from us than we do from them.”
  3. Humes, Edward. Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America’s Soul. 2008. Harper Perennial. Paperback: 380 pages. Price: $15.95 U.S. [Amazon: $10.85]. SUMMARY: Using the 2005 Dover, Pennsylvania “Intelligent Design” trial as a back drop, Humes examines the evolution vs. creationism battle in America’s culture wars. like Dayton, Tenn., during the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial,” Dover became a proving ground for clashing beliefs about the origins of life and constitutional questions about the separation of church and state. Monkey Girl is the best book for staying current on the arguments for and against the teaching of evolution in our public schools. GrrlScientist comment: I have a copy of this book and the review should be forthcoming soon.
  4. Rinella, Steven. American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon. 2008. Spiegal and Grau. Hardbound: 277 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S. [Amazon: $14.97]. SUMMARY: In this spare, eloquent memoir, the author describes his fascination with the American bison, which culminated in his tracking, shooting and butchering one. Rinella was one of 24 people in 2005 to win a lottery to hunt buffalo in the foothills of Alaska’s Wrangell Mountains. Rinella’s understated prose shows great flexibility, and he is by turns moving and downright funny. The author is an experienced outdoorsman and hunter, and provides an enormous amount of historical and scientific information into a thoroughly engaging narrative. GrrlScientist comment: After spending time in Kansas, photographing bison on the Konza Prairie, I am fascinated by these creatures. I’d sure love to read and review this book on my blog!

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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