Showing posts from 2013

Book Review - The Warbler Guide

The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle
When I was a young birdwatcher growing up in Wisconsin in the 1960s, I used to sit and look through this book from National Geographic called THE SONG AND GARDEN BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA. One bird that had a full page picture was the Red-faced Warbler. I was quite taken with this colorful bird, and longed to visit the western US so that I could see one (This finally came true for me in May, 1988 on a trip to SE Arizona). This picture also made me enamored of warblers in general. So when I first learned of the existence of this book, I thought "Wow, a 500+ page book on nothing but warblers! What do we have here." Warblers are a fun family, because they are beautiful, are often a challenge to identify. So I asked myself the following question: "How can this book help me better identify and enjoy warblers?" This blog post seeks to evaluate this book around that question.

A quick listing of what is in this book:

Covers a…

Baby Birds Galore


Book Review - Nature's Fortune by Mark Tercek

Nature's Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature By Mark R. Tercek, Jonathan S. Adams

In the introduction to Nature's Fortune, author Mark Tercek cites the book which started him on his path to becoming first an environmentalist at Goldman Sachs, then in 2008, the CEO of The Nature Conservancy and ultimately led to the publishing of this book:
"I read The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable, the 2002 book by Stanford University's Gretchen Daily, a professor of environmental science. The book explained the workings of ecosystems and how they delivered goods and services to people. This scientific explanation of nature delivering value began to build my appreciation for nature and prompted me to reflect on opportunities and price tags"
A few pages on, he describes how the two perspectives - environmentalism and business - can mesh to protect nature:
"Environmentalists generally believe in nature's inherent va…

A New Hi-Tech Tool for Bird Conservation - Geolocators

In an earlier post I talked about a bird conservation tool called Leg Flags. This data is used to track birds during migration, so that important stopover and wintering or breeding grounds can be protected. I learned recently of a little gizmo that is being called "a revolutionary new tracking device, one that is rapidly changing our knowledge of bird migration" (BirdWatching, April, 2013). It caught my attention because this breakthrough can be the foundation for furthering bird conservation goals for previously unstudied (untracked) birds, so I decided to investigate.

These tiny, battery powered devices are called geolocators. They are embedded on an innocuous tag that sits on the backs of the bird to be studied. The data that the geolocator captures is the level of light versus time. This data permits plotting the position of the bird over time, as day length varies with latitude, and solar noon (or sunrise) varies with longitude.

Here is an informative video which show you…

Book Review - The World's Rarest Birds

The World's Rarest Birds by Erik Hirschfeld, Andy Swash, and Robert Still (ISBN 9780691155968) Princeton University Press, 2013

When I first got my review copy of this book, and started my customary "page through" to get a first impression, I was arrested by the jaw-dropping photo shown above of the appropriately named Marvellous Spatuletail. I looked up the bird in the index and found the species page with all of the pertinent data. It is endemic to Peru, and has a population of 250-999, but the good news is that "a protected area for this species was established in Amazonas in 2006." Great! I don't know if I'll ever be fortunate enough to see this bird, but I am definitely glad to know some protection has been afforded this magnificent creature.

So that experience comprises an important aspect of this book; beautiful bird photos (or drawings in some cases) coupled with concise and pertinent conservation related information for that species. There are al…