Flight Paths: How a Passionate and Quirky Group of Pioneering Scientists Solved the Mystery of Bird Migration

If there is a perfect if unintended target demographic for Flight Paths, the debut book by science writer Rebecca Heisman, it may be the members and associates of the Association of Field Ornithologists. Subtitled "How a Passionate and Quirky Group of Pioneering Scientists Solved the Mystery of Bird Migration," Heisman's book chronicles the emergence of the increasingly sophisticated techniques... Read More

Vultures of the World: Essential Ecology and Conservation

This book provides a very thorough and up-to-date scientific review of all aspects of the biology of a globally imperiled group of birds that arguably have a disproportionately large ecological role everywhere that they occur in the world. Not since the pesticide DDT drove a suite of apex predators to the brink of extinction in the middle decades of the twentieth century, has the survival of an entire group of birds been threatened by human use of a single chemical... Read More

Identification Guide to North American Birds, Part I (Second Edition)

For more than three decades, the “Pyle Guide” has been banders’ most comprehensive resource to aid in identifying, ageing, and sexing birds in the hand, and many banders consider their equipment incomplete without a copy. Part 1 of the Identification Guide to North American Birds, first published in 1997, contains meticulously detailed species accounts for all North American passerines and near-passerines with text describing all plumages, molt strategies and timing, and other identification, ageing, and sexing criteria. Read More

Halcyon Journey

Within the field of ornithology, there is a melding of different people who are connected by a common passion – birds. Our passions are as diverse as our obsessions for these creatures.  Some of us simply love birds for their beauty, some for their fascinating natural history, and others for the adventures related to merely sharing a “place” with them. There are also those who desire to study, research, and reduce the complexities of birds to advance scientific knowledge and understand their contribution to the overall... Read More

Peterson Reference Guide to Bird Behavior

There is a stereotype of a certain type of birder, sometimes called a lister, ticker, or twitcher, who is only concerned with identification, chasing rarities, and adding new species to a life list, while the behavior and the lives of the birds are unimportant. I don’t know how many birders actually fit that stereotype, but it is certainly true that many birders know little about the behavior of the birds they chase. Even backyard birders might initially know little about the chickadees that are coming to their feeders. Read More

The Secret Perfume of Birds: Uncovering the Science of Avian Scent

The COVID19 pandemic presented an enormous scientific challenge almost unparalleled in its urgency. Among the myriad of questions laid at the feet of virologists and epidemiologists by the emergence of SARS-CoV2 was the question of transmission. We all recall the first months of the pandemic in early 2020 and the guidelines calling for frequent handwashing and distancing of two meters... Read More

Europe’s Birds: An Identification Guide

When Europe’s Birds: An Identification Guide arrived, my initial thought was ‘Do we really need another guide to Europe’s birds?’ The first thing I noted was that the book is a photographic guide and the second that its subtitle is ‘An identification guide’ rather than a ‘field guide,’ – a difference which is significant and one we will get back to later. Read More

Habitats of the World: A Field Guide for Birders, Naturalists, and Ecologists

As any field guide aficionado will recognize, field guides focused on habitats are uncommon. But this rarity does prompt the questions: Just who needs a field guide to habitats? and how are we defining “habitat”? Fortunately, the introductory material of this book does a nice job of explaining that (a) the intended audience is anyone traveling with the express interest of viewing birds and other charismatic wildlife... Read More

Illuminating Natural History: The Art and Science of Mark Catesby

Before there was John James Audubon, there was Alexander Wilson, but before both there was Mark Catesby—the first artist-naturalist to engage in the ambitious project of depicting the flora and fauna of North America, most notably (and for readers of this journal, most agreeably) birds. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Audubon (1785-1851) became America’s most adulated avian artist, even as he worried about Wilson (1766-1813) as an ornithological rival, but Catesby (1683-1749) provided... Read More

Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to find and Save the World’s Largest Owl

This is a true story as told by Jonathan Slaght, a young graduate student, about his graduate study on Blakiston’s Fish Owl (hereafter Fish Owl) in the Primorye Province of eastern Russia. Slaght was originally in this region working for the Peace Corps. He later completed a Master of Science (MS) degree on song birds and forest management in the Primorye region. He learned to speak Russian fluently... Read More