Interesting, Enlightening Books on Bird Migration

Here is a compendium of interesting, enlightening books on a wonderful, and fascinating topic in the natural world: bird migration.

5 stars If you enjoy birds or natural science, read this great book! 
By Richard E. Hegner

I have been a birdwatcher for 39 years, and rarely have I encountered a book that I enjoyed as much as this. Unlike another reviewer, I learned a great deal about migration from reading this book--though, truth to tell, the book is as much about population dynamics among Western Hemisphere birds as it is about migration. One of the particular insights I gained from the book is a better realization of the somewhat parochial viewpoint many of us birdwatchers in North America take, considering migrants who spend only a brief part of the year breeding here to be "our birds," when they spend most of their lives either in Latin America or migrating between the two continents. The author has an unusually captivating writing style and most of the book was hard for me to put down; he reminds me of some of the best nature writers I have encountered--Hal Borland, John Burroughs, Loren Eiseley, Pete Dunn, and Thoreau. One of the book's particular strengths is its focus on certain critical locales as well as individual species; the general observations have much more meaning because of these case examples.

"The photos and illustrations in this large volume are so beautiful that one is tempted to skim the text. . . . That, however, would be a mistake: while brief, the text provides all the information readers need to understand the how, why and where of bird migration." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

Amazon Description

 Every year, billions of birds leave their North American breeding grounds for winter quarters thousands of miles south. That so many birds migrate so far through life-threatening conditions and to the same place each year is simply stunning. 

This lavishly illustrated book provides comprehensive information on migration and its great mystery: How do the birds know where to go? The latest scientific discoveries are explained, and a comprehensive directory presents accurate profiles and chronicles the migratory routes of more than 500 typical migrant species. Colorful maps, photographs, calendars and fact files feature easy-to-read symbols and abbreviations. 

Atlas of Bird Migration includes: 
  • North American birds of prey 
  • Hummingbirds, grosbeaks and starlings 
  • Eurasian shorebirds, storks and cranes 
  • Winter visitors from the Far North, such as swans, geese and finches 
  • African, South American and Australasian migrants 
  • Migratory sea birds, such as penguins, albatrosses and terns. 

 The use of satellite tracking methods, current environmental threats and conservation initiatives are explained, and a comprehensive catalog of migrating species from all continents closes the book.

"Leaves the reader with a thorough explanatory answer to the main questions that a student, birder, or naturalist might want to ask about bird migration."--John D. Newman, National Institute of Health Science Books and Films

Amazon Description

Why do birds migrate -- and just how do they do it?

The Migration of Birds is a comprehensive illustrated presentation of the mysteries of bird migration.

Ornithologist Janice M. Hughes describes the findings of the most recent research and surveys as-yet-unanswered questions. She unravels the exciting contributions of cutting-edge technological innovations and scientific developments.

Over 70 stunning full-color photographs show some of the world's most dauntless voyagers. Maps show migration routes, and illustrations depict the mechanics of flying. The text is engaging and straightforward as well as authoritative and comprehensive, covering:
  • Bird migration through human history, with profiles of Chinese cranes and phalaropes
  • The five Ws of avian migration, with profiles of shrikes and Arctic terns
  • The phenomenon of flight, with profiles of wheatears and dippers
  • How birds find their way, with profiles of redwings, fieldfares and Bohemian waxwings
  • Migratory birds in peril.

This book will fascinate birders, naturalists and conservationists as well as general readers.

"The many charts, figures and graphic illustrations in the book give new views on the migratory phenomenon and on the incredible adaptive ability of birds to the variations and changing circumstances like the warming climate, to cite one example. The text is clear and is not solely interesting to researchers but also all those who are intrigued by the extraordinary migration of birds."--Aluada, The journal of the Societet d'Etudes Ornithologiques de France

Amazon Description

This book presents an up-to-date, detailed and thorough review of the most fascinating ecological findings of bird migration. It deals with all aspects of this absorbing subject, including the problems of navigation and vagrancy, the timing and physiological control of migration, the factors that limit their populations, and more. Author, Ian Newton, reveals the extraordinary adaptability of birds to the variable and changing conditions across the globe, including current climate change. This adventurous book places emphasis on ecological aspects, which have received only scant attention in previous publications. Overall, the book provides the most thorough and in-depth appraisal of current information available, with abundant tables, maps and diagrams, and many new insights. Written in a clear and readable style, this book appeals not only to migration researchers in the field and ornithologists, but to anyone with an interest in this fascinating subject. 

* Hot ecological aspects include: various types of bird movements, including dispersal and nomadism, and how they relate to food supplies and other external conditions 
* Contains numerous tables, maps and diagrams, a glossary, and a bibliography of more than 2,700 references
* Written by an active researcher with a distinguished career in avian ecology, including migration research

 5 stars A great book for geography, ecology, biology education
By "" 

 I found this book to be an excellent read-along book for 5-9 year olds. Behind the lovely writing style and beautiful pictures is a plot that invites lots of questions from kids about many different subjects. (And that's the way they learn!) The book follows the migration of peregrine falcons from the arctic, through the tropics and all the way to the sub-antarctic of Argentina. It was obviously well researched, yet it is not stuffy - it has heart! Highly recommended.

Amazon Description

The Peregrine’s Journey vividly describes one of the most remarkable feats in the animal kingdom. Beginning in Alaska and ending two months later in Argentina, the peregrine falcon’s annual migration is an 8,000-mile flight across the Americas. This beautifully illustrated book allows young readers to follow one bird on its journey. Based on the actual migration of a real bird that was tracked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the book is filled with amazing facts about the bird’s diet, habits, and navigational abilities, as well as stunning views of the many habitats the peregrine visits along the way.

"A wonderful and insightful work, Bird Migration and Global Change provides the first accessible and comprehensive guide to the leading conservation concern of our time. Written by a world authority, this definitive work introduces the subject ecologically, physiologically, and geographically in ways that promote clarity and understanding."--Keith L. Bildstein Director, Acopian Center for Conservation Science, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Amazon Description

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.


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