This book describes the results of a long-term study of the ecology, evolutionary genetics and sociobiology of a seabird, the Arctic Skua. This species is polymorphic: the birds show one of three, genetically different forms of plumage - pale, intermediate and dark. The forms vary in frequency from predominantly pale in the north to dark in the south. The study was undertaken with the aim of explaining how natural and sexual selection act to maintain all three forms of skua in its populations. The results show that natural selection for pale is balanced by sexual selection for intermediate and dark. Models derived from Darwin's theories of female choice and sexual selection in monogamous birds fit the breeding data of the Arctic Skua. Darwibn's views on sexual selection are fully confirmed. The study produced original data on breeding ecology, demography, population regulation, sexual behaviour and territoriality. A chapter on feeding ecology is also included in the book, which gives a complete and largely original account of the population ecology and sociobiology of a single species of bird.
This unprecedented anthology of John James Audubon's lively and colorful writings about the American wilderness reintroduces the great artist and ornithologist as an exceptional American writer, a predecessor to Thoreau, Emerson, and Melville.
Audubon's award-winning biographer, Richard Rhodes, has gathered excerpts from his journals, letters, and published works, and has organized them to appeal to general readers. Rhodes's unobtrusive commentary frames a wide range of selections, including Audubon's vivid "bird biographies," correspondence with his devoted wife, Lucy, journal accounts of dramatic river journeys and hunting trips with the Shawnee and Osage Indians, and a generous sampling of brief narrative episodes that have long been out of print--engaging stories of pioneer life such as The Great Pine Swamp, "The Earthquake," and "Kentucky Barbecue on the Fourth of July." Full-color reproductions of sixteen of Audubon's stunning watercolor illustrations accompany the text.
The Audubon Reader allows us to experience Audubon's distinctive voice directly and provides a window into his electrifying encounter with early America: with its wildlife and birds, its people, and its primordial wilderness.
When seen hunting over a meadow, barn owls have an ethereal grace and beauty that can be matched by no other bird. The barn owl has an almost global distribution and has lived in close proximity to humans since settlement and farming created the forest clearings needed for hunting and places in which to nest. However, in many countries, barn owl numbers are falling rapidly. This book explores the relationships between barn owls and their prey worldwide, and demonstrates how an understanding of such relationships can help in the conservation of the species. In this comprehensive account, Iain Taylor describes the biology and ecology of this species, including the factors affecting breeding success, and causes of mortality affecting the final recruitment of new birds into the population. He concludes by suggesting ways in which we can manage and conserve this beautiful bird for the future.
Fine art photographer Leila Jeffreys captures the beauty and diversity of some of our most colorful and elegant feathered friends. From the exotic birds of her native Australia to those of North America, Jeffreys seems to delve into the very souls of these creatures with her stunning and evocative portraits. Jeffreys works with animal rescue and conservation groups to find subjects to photograph. Her love and compassion for her subjects is evident throughout, as she captures their personalities in her delightful portraits; Commander Skyring the Gang-Gang Cockatoo, Dexter the White-Bellied Sea Eagle, Mrs. Plume the Budgerigar, and many others are as whimsical as they are beautiful.
Here is an evocative, closely observed portrait of terns, as the noted naturalist John Hay has watched these "tirelessly flying, excitable, vulnerable birds" for years on Cape Cod. Celebrating their beauty, Hay describes all aspects of the birds' lives, from threats by enemies (including human beings' neglect of the environment) to mating rituals, the wild tumult of a crowded nesting site, and their long-range migrations.
In 2015, Noah Strycker set himself a lofty goal: to become the first person to see half the world's birds in one year. For 365 days, with a backpack, binoculars, and a series of one-way tickets, he traveled across forty-one countries and all seven continents, eventually spotting 6,042 species--by far the biggest birding year on record.This is no travelogue or glorified checklist. Noah ventures deep into a world of chronic sleep deprivation, airline snafus, breakdowns, mudslides, floods, war zones, ecologic devastation, conservation triumphs, common and iconic species, and scores of passionate bird lovers around the globe. By pursuing the freest creatures on the planet, he gains a unique perspective on the world they share with us--and offers a hopeful message that even as many birds face an uncertain future, more people than ever are working to protect them. "Birding Without Borders is light-hearted and filled with stories of exotic birds, risky adventures, and colorful birding companions." -- New York Times Book Review "Highly recommended for anyone interested in travel, natural history, and adventure." -- Library Journal "Even readers who wouldn't know a marvellous spatuletail from a southern ground hornbill will be awed by Strycker's achievement and appreciate the passion with which he pursues his interest." -- Publishers Weekly
-- Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk There is no denying that many people are crazy for birds. Packed with intriguing facts and exquisite and rare artwork, Birdmania showcases an eclectic and fascinating selection of bird devotees who would do anything for their feathered friends. In addition to well-known enthusiasts such as Aristotle, Charles Darwin, and Helen Macdonald, Brunner introduces readers to Karl Russ, the pioneer of "bird rooms", who had difficulty renting lodgings when landlords realized who he was; George Lupton, a wealthy Yorkshire lawyer, who commissioned the theft of uniquely patterned eggs every year for twenty years from the same unfortunate female guillemot who never had a chance to raise a chick; George Archibald, who performed mating dances for an endangered whooping crane called Tex to encourage her to lay; and Mervyn Shorthouse, who posed as a wheelchair-bound invalid to steal an estimated ten thousand eggs from the Natural History Museum in Tring. As this book illustrates, people who love birds, whether they are amateurs or professionals, are as captivating and varied as the birds that give flight to their dreams.
The first comprehensive field guide to every bird species in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East
Birds of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East is the first comprehensive pocket-sized photographic field guide to every bird species in Europe--this includes winter visitors and common migrants but also all rarities to the region, even if they have been recorded only once. The guide also covers hypothetical species--those that have a good chance of being recorded due to such factors as range expansion and changing weather patterns.
The book's 2,200 stunning color photographs mean that every species is pictured, making field identification quick and easy. Succinct text covers key identification features, voice, habitat, and distribution, and distribution maps are provided for regular breeding species. Particular attention and details are given to help differentiate similar-looking species.
Lavishly illustrated, up-to-date, and wide-ranging, Birds of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East is an essential field guide for every naturalist and birder.
- First comprehensive field guide to all species recorded in Europe: resident, winter visitor, common migrant, and rarity
- 860 species covered using 2,200 photographs
- Includes every species from North Africa and the Middle East to have occurred in Europe
This is one of two companion field guides that illustrate and describe all of the approximately 1,800 bird species found in the Palearctic--the huge region that includes Europe, Asia north of the Himalayas, Africa north of the Sahara Desert, and the Middle East excluding the Gulf countries. This volume covers non-passerines--non-songbirds, including raptors, owls, swifts, hummingbirds, cuckoos, and pigeons. It includes every non-passerine species and subspecies, in every adult plumage--all illustrated and described by Norman Arlott, a leading bird artist with many years of field experience.The two volumes of Birds of Europe, Russia, China, and Japan are the only field guides to illustrate and describe every bird species in the Palearctic. And, for many parts of this region, these books provide the first and only field guides.
- Color plates of all field-identifiable species, including subspecies and color morphs
- Succinct facing-page text concentrates on key field-identification features, including voice
- Detailed distribution map for each species
- Well-researched and accessible
- Handy format--the ideal field guide
- Essential for anyone interested in Eurasian birds