We usually think of cities as the domain of humans--but we are just one of thousands of species that call the urban landscape home. Chicago residents knowingly move among familiar creatures like squirrels, pigeons, and dogs, but might be surprised to learn about all the leafhoppers and water bears, black-crowned night herons and bison, beavers and massasauga rattlesnakes that are living alongside them. City Creatures introduces readers to an astonishing diversity of urban wildlife with a unique and accessible mix of essays, poetry, paintings, and photographs.
The contributors bring a story-based approach to this urban safari, taking readers on birding expeditions to the Magic Hedge at Montrose Harbor on the North Side, canoe trips down the South Fork of the Chicago River (better known as Bubbly Creek), and insect-collecting forays or restoration work days in the suburban forest preserves.
Finalist for the 2021 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
A Library Journal Best Science & Technology Book of 2020
A Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction Book of 2020
2020 Goodreads Choice Award Semifinalist in Science & Technology
Jack Nisbet first told the story of British explorer David Thompson, who mapped the Columbia River, in his acclaimed Sources of the River. That book set the standard for research and narrative biography for the region. Now Nisbet turns his attention to David Douglas, the premier botanical explorer in the Pacific Northwest and other areas of western North America. Douglas' discoveries include hundreds of western plants -- most notably the Douglas Fir.
The Collector tracks Douglas' fascinating history, from his humble birth in Scotland in 1799 to his botanical training under the famed William Jackson Hooker to his adventures in North America discovering exotic new plants for the English and European market. The book takes readers along on Douglas' journeys into a literal brave new world of then-obscure realms from Puget Sound to the Sandwich Islands. In telling Douglas' story, Nisbet evokes a lost world of early exploration, pristine nature, ambition, and cultural and class conflict with surprisingly modern resonances.
Discover the "fascinating" and surprising science of the creepers, crawlers, wrigglers, and runners that live in our homes (The Washington Post) -- and learn why they're essential to our everyday lives.
However domesticated our houses appear, they are wild beyond imagination. Look down in the basement, up in the attic, under the floorboards, and even in the showerhead, and you'll find life everywhere. Biologist Rob Dunn and his team have done it in homes worldwide, and they found nearly 200,000 species
In Never Home Alone, Dunn introduces us to these tiny tenants and shows us how -- in almost every case -- they make our lives better, and explains why trying to eradicate the bad ones just makes our lives worse. No one who reads this engrossing, revelatory, and just plain fun book will look at their home, or the life in it, in the same way again.
A New York Times Book Review's "Editor's Choice"
"Excellent." -- Wall Street Journal
"You'll love Never Home Alone." -- Bustle
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST
A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes
Finalist for thePEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
"A masterly synthesis of scientific research and personal observation."-Wall Street Journal
Legends don't come close to capturing the incredible story of the coyote In the face of centuries of campaigns of annihilation employing gases, helicopters, and engineered epidemics, coyotes didn't just survive, they thrived, expanding across the continent from Alaska to New York. In the war between humans and coyotes, coyotes have won, hands-down. Coyote America is the illuminating five-million-year biography of this extraordinary animal, from its origins to its apotheosis. It is one of the great epics of our time.
"As fascinating as it is beautifully written."---Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and Upheaval
Few would question the truism that humankind is the crowning achievement of evolution; that the defining thrust of life's history yields progress over time from the primitive and simple to the more advanced and complex; that the disappearance of .400 hitting in baseball is a fact to be bemoaned; or that identifying an existing trend can be helpful in making important life decisions. Few, that is, except Stephen Jay Gould who, in his new book Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin, proves that all of these intuitive truths are, in fact, wrong.
"All of these mistaken beliefs arise out of the same analytical flaw in our reasoning, our Platonic tendency to reduce a broad spectrum to a single, pinpointed essence," says Gould. "This way of thinking allows us to confirm our most ingrained biases that humans are the supreme being on this planet; that all things are inherently driven to become more complex; and that almost any subject can be expressed and understood in terms of an average."
In Full House, Gould shows why a more accurate way of understanding our world (and the history of life) is to look at a given subject within its own context, to see it as a part of a spectrum of variation rather than as an isolated "thing" and then to reconceptualize trends as expansion or contraction of this "full house" of variation, and not as the progress or degeneration of an average value, or single thing. When approached in such a way, the disappearance of .400 hitting becomes a cause for celebration, signaling not a decline in greatness but instead an improvement in the overall level of play in baseball; trends become subject to suspicion, and too often, only a tool of those seeking to advance a particular agenda; and the "Age of Man" (a claim rooted in hubris, not in fact) more accurately becomes the "Age of Bacteria."
"The traditional mode of thinking has led us to draw many conclusions that don't make satisfying sense," says Gould. "It tells us that .400 hitting has disappeared because batters have gotten worse, but how can that be true when record performances have improved in almost any athletic activity?" In a personal eureka , Gould realized that we were looking at the picture backward, and that a simple conceptual inversion would resolve a number of the paradoxes of the conventional view.
While Full House deftly reveals the shortcomings of the popular reasoning we apply to everyday life situations, Gould also explores his beloved realm of natural history as well. Whether debunking the myth of the successful evolution of the horse (he grants that the story still deserves distinction, but as the icon of evolutionary failure); presenting evidence that the vaunted "progress of life" is really random motion away from simple beginnings, not directed impetus toward complexity; or relegating the kingdoms of Animalai and Plantae to their proper positions on the genealogical chart for all of life (as mere twigs on one of the three bushes), Full House asks nothing less than that we reconceptualize our view of life in a fundamental way.
"From the Hardcover edition."
Waterfowl in Winter was first published in 1988. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The emphasis in research on waterfowl has traditionally focused on breeding as opposed to migrant or wintering birds. Scientists have long been interested in courtship, nest sites, laying, and brood-rearing, and they have also been concerned about losses of eggs, young, nesting hens, and breeding habitats, especially as they have affected the goal of increasing populations. But lately there has been an upsurge of interest and research on the migratory and wintering phases, and this volume offers ample evidence of the knowledge gained.The authors--105 waterfowl biologists--have contributed 47 chapters that range geographically from Alaska to northern South America, and from the Pacific Northwest to Nova Scotia and Florida. Their subjects include: distributional changes due to human influence; population trends and concerns over less common species; pairing and other behavior that occurs in the wintering areas and is vital to the success of the species; feeding ecology and body condition during winter; new habitats created by such activities as aquaculture and park development; losses of habitat due to development and drainage for alternate uses; lead poisoning and pollutants that are detrimental to waterfowl; habitat management for maintenance of successful populations now and in the future. Also presented are reports of workshop discussions outlining current issues and future research needs. Preparation of this volume was assisted by an editorial board comprising Bruce J. J. Batt, Robert H. Chabreck, Leigh H. Fredrickson, and Dennis G. Raveling.
A firsthand exploration of the extraordinary abilities and surprising, sometimes life-saving talents of "working dogs"--pups who can sniff out drugs, find explosives, even locate the dead--as told through the experiences of a journalist and her intrepid canine companion, which The New York Times calls "a fascinating, deeply reported journey into the...amazing things dogs can do with their noses."There are thousands of working dogs all over the US and beyond with incredible abilities--they can find missing people, detect drugs and bombs, pinpoint unmarked graves of Civil War soldiers, or even find drowning victims more than two hundred feet below the surface of a lake. These abilities may seem magical or mysterious, but author Cat Warren shows the science, the rigorous training, and the skilled handling that underlie these creatures' amazing abilities. Cat Warren is a university professor and journalist who had tried everything she could think of to harness her dog Solo's boundless energy and enthusiasm...until a behavior coach suggested she try training him to be a "working dog." What started out as a hobby soon became a calling, as Warren was introduced to the hidden universe of dogs who do this essential work and the handlers who train them. Her dog Solo has a fine nose and knows how to use it, but he's only one of many astounding dogs in a varied field. Warren interviews cognitive psychologists, historians, medical examiners, epidemiologists, and forensic anthropologists, as well as the breeders, trainers, and handlers who work with and rely on these intelligent and adaptable animals daily. Along the way, Warren discovers story after story that prove the capabilities--as well as the very real limits--of working dogs and their human partners. Clear-eyed and unsentimental, Warren explains why our partnership with working dogs is woven into the fabric of society, and why we keep finding new uses for the wonderful noses of our four-legged friends.