Tag Archives: Princeton University Press

Upcoming Releases from the Princeton University Press Natural History Catalog

The Fall 2013 lineup from Princeton University Press is going to knock you off your rocker. The books appear to be utterly amazing. Check it out –

Primates of the World: An Illustrated Guide by Jean-Jacques Petter & François Desbordes and Translated by Robert Martin – September 2013

This stunningly illustrated guide to the world’s primates  covers nearly 300 species, from the feather-light and solitary pygmy mouse lemurs of Madagascar—among the  smallest primates known to exist—to the regal mountain gorillas of Africa. Organized by region and spanning  every family of primates on Earth, the book features 72 splendid color plates, facing-page descriptions of key  features of each family, and 86 color distribution maps. Primates of the World also includes concise introductory chapters that discuss the latest findings on primate origins and evolution, behavior and adaptations,  and classification, making it the most comprehensive  and up-to-date primate guide available.

  • Covers nearly 300 species and every family of primates worldwide
  • Features 72 color plates—the finest illustrations of primates ever produced
  • Includes facing-page descriptions for each family and 86 color distribution maps
  • The most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to the world’s primates

Tracks and Signs of the Animals and Birds of Britain and Europe by Lars-Henrik Olsen – September 2013

This beautifully illustrated field guide enables you to easily identify the tracks and signs left by a wide variety of mammal and bird species found in Britain and Europe, covering behaviors ranging from hunting, foraging, and feeding to courtship, breeding, and nesting. Introductory chapters offer detailed drawings of footprints and tracks of large and small mammals, which are followed by sections on mammal scat, bird droppings, and the feeding signs of animals on food sources such as nuts, cones, and rose hips. The book then describes specific mammal species, providing information on size, distribution, behavior, habitat, and similar species, as well as more specific detail on tracks and scat. Distribution maps are also included. This indispensable field guide covers 175 species of mammals and birds, and features a wealth of stunning color photos  and artwork throughout.

  • Helps you easily identify the tracks and signs of a variety of mammals and birds
  • Covers 175 species
  • Illustrated throughout with photos, drawings, and artwork
  • Includes informative descriptions of mammal species along with distribution maps

Bugs Rule!: An Introduction to the World of Insects by Whitney Cranshaw & Richard Redak – October 2013

Bugs Rule! provides a lively introduction to the biology and natural history of insects and their noninsect cousins, such as spiders, scorpions, and centipedes. This richly illustrated textbook features more than 830 color photos, a concise overview of the basics of entomology, and numerous sidebars that highlight and explain key points. Detailed chapters cover each of the major insect groups, describing their physiology, behaviors, feeding habits, reproduction, human interactions, and more.ideal for nonscience majors and anyone seeking to learn more about insects and their arthropod relatives, Bugs Rule! offers a one-of-a-kind gateway into the world of these amazing creatures.

  • Places a greater emphasis on natural history than standard textbooks on the subject
  • Covers the biology and natural history of all the insect orders
  • Provides a thorough review of the noninsect arthropods, such as spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, and crustaceans
  • Features more than 830 color photos
  • Highlights the importance of insects and other arthropods, including their impact on human society
  • An online illustration package is available to professors

The Crossley ID Guide: Britain and Ireland by Richard Crossley & Dominic Couzens – November 2013

Aimed at beginner and intermediate birders, yet suitable for all levels, this new volume in the groundbreaking Crossley ID Guide series is the most user-friendly field guide to the birds of Britain and Ireland. Based on The Crossley ID Guide’s awardwinning design, this guide looks at all regularly occurring species of Britain and Ireland, and shows readers how to identify birds using size, structure, shape, probability, and behavior—just like the experts do! Stunning images are accompanied by the accurate and concise text of Dominic Couzens, one of Britain’s leading nature writers.

This unique book treats over 310 species—those birds most likely to be encountered by observers—and the guide’s attractive pages provide a real-life approach to bird identification. Beautiful, in-focus scenes present birds in various plumages, in lifelike poses set in identifiable British and Irish habitats, and plates also illustrate how a bird’s appearance changes with distance. Organizing images in cohesive, easyto-understand plates rather than as separate photographs, this book also sets itself apart by containing more images that demonstrate flight, behavior, habitat, and plumages than any other volume available. Not only is this field guide a reference book, it is also a spectacular teaching resource that makes it easy for nature enthusiasts to see and appreciate the big picture of bird identification.

  • The most user-friendly guide to the birds of Britain and Ireland
  • A close look at over 310 species
  • Award-winning Crossley ID Guide design
  • Lifelike images of birds from near and far
  • Stunning depictions of British and Irish scenes
  • A field, reference, and teaching guide
  • Concise and interesting text by Dominic Couzens

Rare Birds of North America by Steve N. G. Howell, Ian Lewington & Will Russell – December 2013

Rare Birds of North America is the first comprehensive illustrated guide to the vagrant birds that occur throughout the United States and Canada. Featuring 275 stunning color plates, this book covers 262 species originating from three very different regions—the Old World, the New World tropics, and the world’s oceans. It explains the causes of avian vagrancy and breaks down patterns of occurrence by region and season, enabling readers to see where, when, and why each species occurs in North America. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, taxonomy, age, sex, distribution, and status.

Rare Birds of North America provides unparalleled insights into vagrancy and avian migration, and will enrich the birding experience of anyone interested in finding and observing rare birds.

  • Covers 262 species of vagrant birds found in the United States and Canada
  • Features 275 stunning color plates that depict every species
  • Explains patterns of occurrence by region and season
  • Provides an invaluable overview of vagrancy patterns and migration
  • Includes detailed species accounts and cutting-edge identification tips

Thanks to Princeton University Press for providing Thermal Birding with review copies of excellent books. We are pleased to share this information on behalf of PUP.

Review – Birds of Peru: Revised and Updated Edition

The revised and updated edition of Birds of Peru was published in 2010. Since I became a birder, I have always dreamed of birding in Peru. Who wouldn’t want to bird in Peru. I mean, one fifth of the world’s bird species are have been recorded in Peru and they depicted in this comprehensive guide. All 1,817 species recorded, up to 2004, in Peru are accurately represented in this revised and updated edition.

Peru is located in northwest South America and is one of the richest countries for birds in the world. Peru is comprised of a variety of habitats that support various forms of avian life. Different types of forest habitats such as river-edge forest, montane forest, elfin forest, dry forest, white-sand forest, and mangrove forest can all be found in Peru along with scrub, savanna, puna, marsh, beach, lakes and ponds, bamboo, and others can be found throughout avian rich country. Needless to say, Peru is diverse.

The plates in this book are absolutely stunning. Peru supports some of the most colorful and brilliant bird species in the world such as the barbets pictured below.The illustrators of this guide did a fantastic job with the color plates. There was actually a new species of barbet discovered in 2008 during an expedition led by young Cornell Graduates – the Sira Barbet, Capito fitzpatricki.

Another plate that stood out was this awesome depiction of a few hummingbird, woodstar, and sheartail species that occur in Peru. It may just be that the birds are gorgeous on their own, or the shear detail the illustrators laid down in this beautiful plate.

Birds in the tropics are definitely in trouble due to deforestation and other factors. A guide like this is a major accomplishment in the ornithological community.

More on Birds of Peru: Revised and Updated Edition

  • A comprehensive guide to all 1,817 species found in Peru–one fifth of the world’s birds–with subspecies, sexes, age classes, and morphs fully illustrated
  • Designed especially for field use, with vivid descriptive information and helpful identification tips opposite color plates
  • Detailed species accounts, including a full-color distribution map
  • Includes 25 additional species not covered in the first edition
  • Features 3 entirely new plates and more than 25 additional illustrations

About the authors – “Thomas S. Schulenberg is a research associate at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Douglas F. Stotzis an ornithologist and conservation ecologist at the Field Museum in Chicago. Daniel F. Lane and John P. O’Neill are illustrators and field ornithologists, and both are research associates at the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science. Lane also leads Field Guides birding tours. Theodore A. Parker III, who worked throughout Peru before his death in 1993, was the premier neotropical field ornithologist of his time.”

You can purchase this guide from Princeton University Press for $39.50 and is also available in various eBook formats.

Disclosure – Princeton University Press kindly provided us with a review copy of this book.

Crossley ID Guide Blog Tour – Q&A with Brian Sullivan

Alright, this is the second to the last stop of the Crossley ID Guide Blog Tour hosted by Princeton University Press. Be sure to check out the great posts from the past eight weeks as it has definitely been a wild ride.

I had my hands on a copy of the new Crossley ID Guide: Raptors for a few days and was extremely impressed at the detail and high quality information that is contained within its covers. The plates are immaculate and the text is equally as impressive and important. Richard Crossley, Brian Sullivan, and Jerry Ligouri did an exceptional job when developing this new addition to the revolutionary Crossley ID Guide series.

For Day 9 of The Raptor Blog Tour, we here at Thermal Birding have a Q&A (Question & Answer) session with Brian Sullivan. Brian provides insight on the new guide, hawk ID, and hawk watching. Read all about it below!

Adult light-morph Ferruginous Hawk, Butte Valley, CA, Feb. Photo by Brian L. Sullivan.

1. What was your part in creating The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors?

  • Jerry Liguori and I were brought in mainly to work on the species accounts and to provide photos for the plates. Richard built the plates with some input from us, but those are largely his creations.
2. What is your favorite part of the new guide?
  • I really like the approach of putting birds in their habitat and trying to convey something more than plumage details about these species. There are a lot of books out there that will give you the plumage details, but I don’t think these species have ever been presented in this way. I also really enjoyed writing the introductions to each species account with Jerry. We were forced to think outside the box with these, and dig out some insights into raptors that really give you a sense of the essence of the bird. Most challenging was taking a highly complicated subject and trying to simplify it down to its core, essentially trying to figure out the best ways to help people arrive at correct identifications in what is a notoriously challenging group of birds.
3. There are so many other families or groups of birds, why raptors? How did you find your niche?
  • Raptors fascinated me a child. I spent lots of time when I was really young watching the procession of Red-tailed Hawks march past Hawk Mountain every fall, and then really cut my teeth on raptor identification, and the appreciation of all birds, at Cape May Point, NJ. To me there is something life-affirming, almost spiritual, about bird migration, and raptors stage some of the most spectacular flights on our continent. I was drawn to it, and to the challenge of putting a name on birds in the distance, when they were at the limit of vision. 
4. What do you find most fascinating or interesting about raptors?
  • There are so many things that make these birds interesting. They are big, fast, powerful, and predatory, if that kind of thing appeals to you. They are fantastic birds to watch due to their exciting behaviors, but they are much more too. Raptors are subtly beautiful, have incredibly variable plumages in some cases, and represent the cutting edge of bird identification techniques in many ways. We are still learning about the complexities of very common raptors, such as the Red-tailed Hawk, and while we see these species all over North America, surprisingly little is known of it during the breeding season, especially in the northern and western portions of its range. Species like the Red-tailed Hawk present constant challenges for us, making us learn more and look closer. 

Identifying this bird as a Golden Eagle is relatively easy. But can you tell what age it is? This bird is a second-year based on the molt patterns in the wings. Pick up the Crossley ID Guide: Raptors to learn how to age Golden Eagles. Photo by Brian L. Sullivan.

5. What is the first characteristic you look at when attempting to ID a raptor?
  • It depends on the situation. If the bird is sitting and you can get a good close look at the plumage, then that can be helpful. But often raptors are seen in flight, unfortunately at a distance, and at these times it’s best to focus on shape and flight style. Learning to distinguish the shapes of the different groups of raptors can help you quickly limit your choices, after which you can focus on more subtle flight style differences and broad plumage patterns. Shape is helpful even when perched.
6. What is the first characteristic you tell beginning birders to look at when trying to ID raptors?
  • Shape. The various groups of raptors all contain species that share similar general shapes. Accipiters for example, have long tails and short, rounded wings when compared to the shorter-tailed and longer-winged buteos. Learning these basics helps you restrict your likely species choices from more than 30 to 3 in just a glance, in the case of accipiters.
 7. Do you have a favorite raptor?
  • Hard to say. In general I really like the buteos, especially Red-tailed, Rough-legged, and Swainson’s hawks. These three species are highly variable, and pose more questions each time I really look at them carefully. Really digging into the subspecies differences and the biogeography of Red-tailed Hawk is one of my main interests these days.

Would you be able to identify this bird? Red-tailed Hawks show the most complicated plumage variation of any North American raptor. This dark-morph juvenile was photographed in Big Sur, CA, Dec. Photograph by Brian L. Sullivan.

 8. Where is your favorite place to hawk watch?
  • Right now it would be the Goshutes in Nevada. The site is so far away from any kind of population center that it really is a retreat; a chance to unplug from the digital world and reconnect with the natural world.  A long hike is rewarded with stunning views from the lookout, and when the wind blows from the southwest, and steady stream of hawks make use of the updrafts passing within near arm’s reach of you and they head south along the ridge. I try to spend a few days here each year. The site is run by Hawkwatch International.

Hawk counters scan the edge of an approaching rain squall for migrating raptors, Goshutes, NV, Sep. Photo by Brian L. Sullivan.

9. Anything else you would like to add about the The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors

  • The idea of this book is to take a very complicated subject and break it down to its essence, making raptor identification accessible for all birders. The plates are a new approach, and the text is light and readable, yet informative. We hope you enjoy this book, and most of all, we hope it inspires you to get out there and do some hawkwatching!
We would like to thank Brian for taking the time to answer our questions!
Brian Sullivan is the coauthor of the forthcoming Princeton Guide to North American Birds. He is eBird project leader and photographic editor of the Birds of North America Online at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, as well as photographic editor for the American Birding Association’s journal, North American Birds. (Photo – Jerry Ligouri (left) and Brian Sullivan (right) at Goshutes, Nevada during Fall 2012. Photo by Aaron Barna). 

The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors is set for release in April 2013. Until then, check out these downloadable E-Books – The Top 25 Garden Feeder Birds; Raptors E-Book Sampler. There will also be a Shindig tomorrow online tomorrow night  that is FREE. The Shindig will be from 6 – 7 PM on 22 March 2013. You can pre-register here or just join in at 6 PM. Princeton University Press is also giving away a fantastic prize package. Enter to Win the Ultimate Crossley ID Guide Prize Pack here.

Two other blogs are featured for today’s stop along the Raptors Blog Tour including:

BRDPICS  – Tips on raptor photography & ID
NatureShare – A feature on the ubiquitous red-tailed hawk.

Review – The Unfeathered Bird

In all honesty, I was creeped out when I opened up The Unfeathered Bird by Katrina van Grouw. This is most likely due to the accurate representation of skeletal systems and posture of species depicted in this coffee table type book. Van Grouw et al have spent over 25 years and countless hours producing this magnificent and detailed book that provides insight into the skeletal structure, function, and evolution of birds.

The Great Spotted Woodpecker, Dendrocopos major, which was a hot topic in the movie, The Big Year, is depicted in both “skin removed but tail left attached” (left) and “skeleton” (right) forms below. The drawings are extremely detailed and absolutely flawless.

The Unfeathered Bird details all parts of a bird’s skeleton including the right foot of the Common Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus. Van Grouw shows the foot on the ground along with every view and angle you can think of.

I really like the posture drawings in The Unfeathered Bird, such as the Indian Runner Duck (left), Anas platyrbynchos, and the Mallard (right), Anas platyrbynchos. This is a really cool way of showing the skeletal system because you frequently encounter these two species, whether they are domestic or wild, in an upright posture.

The shorebird skull plate, if you will, that is pictured below appears to be well though out. I really find the comparison between different head and bill shapes to be very intriguing. The detail needed to draw an accurate representation of these skulls is unbelievable.

More on The Unfeathered Bird

  • A unique book that bridges art, science, and history
  • Over 385 beautiful drawings, artistically arranged in a sumptuous large-format book
  • Accessible, jargon-free text–the only book on bird anatomy aimed at the general reader
  • Drawings and text all based on actual bird specimens
  • Includes most anatomically distinct bird groups
  • Many species never illustrated before

About the author – “Katrina van Grouw is a former curator of the ornithological collections at London’s Natural History Museum, a taxidermist, an experienced bird bander, a successful fine artist, and a graduate of the Royal College of Art. She is the author of Birds, a historical retrospective of bird art, published under her maiden name Katrina Cook. The creation of The Unfeathered Bird has been her lifetime’s ambition.”

You can purchase this hauntingly beautiful book from Princeton University Press for $49.95.

Disclosure – Princeton University Press kindly provided us with a review copy of this book.

Review – Birds of Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire

Birds of Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire was written by Bart de Boer and Eric Newton and illustrated by Robin Restall and published in March 2012. This comprehensive field guide the only one published (a quick Amazon search yielded one other from Helm Field Guides which is probably the same guide) for these three islands that lie off the north coast of South America in the Caribbean Sea. Curacao is the largest of the three islands with a surface area of 444 square kilometers, then Bonaire with a surface area of 288 square kilometers, and lastly Aruba with a surface area of 190 square kilometers.

There are almost a 1,000 illustrations on 71 color plates packed into this light and rather compact field guide. The plates are comprised of both newly painted images and of images taken from Birds of Northern South America and Birds of Trinidad & Tobago 2nd edition. The paintings appear to be accurate as there are quite a few neotropical migrants that show up in North America yearly.

Here are a couple of plates depicting neotropical migrants that one can expect to see while birding on one of the three islands.

The guide also gives suggested birding spots for each island with information on what to expect at each hot spot. To be honest, my favorite part of the book is on page 13 in “The Avifauna” section when the authors ask birders to record their sightings and share their data using eBird!

This guide is a must have for birders travelling to any of the three islands – Aruba, Curacao, or Bonaire. The guide is thin, compact, and will fit in any bag. The paintings are accurate and the guide provides ample information in the text to keep the nerds happy.

More on Birds of Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire

  • First comprehensive field guide to the birds of Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire
  • Complete coverage of the islands’ bird species, including residents, migrants, and vagrants
  • Close to 1,000 illustrations on 71 color plates depicting every species and all major plumages and races
  • Concise text on facing pages highlights key identification features, including voice, habitat, behavior, and status

About the authors – “Bart de Boer is a Dutch ornithologist. He is the author of Our Birds: Curaçao, Bonaire, Aruba and Our Animals: Curaçao, Bonaire, ArubaEric Newton is an amateur ornithologist who resides on Curaçao. Robin Restall is the principal author and sole illustrator of Birds of Northern South America.”

Birds of Aruba, Curacao, & Bonaire can be purchased from Princeton University Press for $27.95.

Disclosure – Princeton University Press kindly provided us with a review copy of this book. 

And the 2013 ABA Bird of the Year is…

You’ll have to check out the video over at the ABA Blog to find out! Also, Jessica Pellien from Princeton University Press had a few neat posts regarding the new ABA Bird of the Year that can be seen here and here. Robert Mortensen of Birding is Fun did a fine job of announcing this spectacular bird!

Crossley ID Guide: Raptor Quiz!

Check out this topside mystery plate filled with raptors from North America. If you’re up for the challenge, post your answers over at the Princeton University Press Blog. Hint: There’s a high resolution image over there!

To see ALL the sample plates from The Crossley ID Guide, click here.

*Used with permission from Princeton University Press