Thursday, December 19, 2019

Need a last second Christmas present?

Because Princeton Books has a suggestion!
No serious birder can have too many references from Steve Howell.  I think this is at least the 3rd that I own and I feel that his style is transitioning.  While Gulls of the Americas is a must-have reference, a lot of the text is in chapters of fairly dense description at the end of the book.  This book is much more Sibley meets Crossley with every page dominated by pictures, usually with text at the bottom of the page, and at times annotated with Peterson like arrows. 

Here's a sample for Parasitic Jaeger...
But it doesn't just cover birds we find now and then, it covers everything from all the penguins to all the albatrosses to all the storm petrels to all the boobies to ... you get the idea.

One of the best things about this book is that while overall the format is somewhat like Sibley (with photos instead of watercolors) with an intro plate showing small images of all the species in a grouping and then going into each individually with its own page more or less, he changes things up where necessary.  If he needs to depart from that format to do a specific comparison of a given set of birds he does.  Here's an example
 Seabirds are incredibly complex and not everything is yet known with regards to aging and taxonomy; the authors do a good job of laying out where uncertainties lie.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is going to be spending time on the ocean.  The photographs are excellent (apologies for the low quality reproductions here) and I think should give a person a reasonable gestault foundation from which to build in the specific points that the authors highlight.

And full disclosure, I got a free copy for writing a review! (though I've never seen any evidence that Princeton reviews the reviews).

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