Big Pacific: The Yellow-eyed Penguin, A Model Parent

From page 32 of Big Pacific:

The Yellow-eyed penguin is one of the world’s rarest penguins. Equally dependent on land and sea, it is — unusually for a penguin — not a colonial bird, instead breeding in pairs in temperate coastal forests, scrubland and cliffs. Yellow-eyed penguins are model parents. They mate for life, working together to build a shallow nest of twigs, grass and leaves, often in the tangled roots of trees. The female typically lays a single clutch of two eggs, which both birds take turns incubating for up to 51 days. This division of labor continues after the chicks hatch, when one parent will return to sea to feed while the other stays on duty with the youngsters. Despite such devoted parenting, only 18 of 100 penguin chicks survive their first year of life due to predation, disease and human disturbance.

Throughout the summer, Yellow-eyed penguin chicks are always under the watchful eye of one of their two parents.

Although they appear keen-eyed, the birds are shortsighted on land, as their vision is adapted for underwater conditions. When foraging at sea they may travel as far as 25 kilometers (15 miles) from land and dive to depths of 120 meters (400 feet) in search of small to medium-sized fish, squid and crustaceans.  The Yellow-eyed penguin habitat lies within the Roaring Forties — a band of ocean below the 40th parallel south where large tracts of uninterrupted ocean allow high winds to develop. Returning to shore often involves negotiating tumultuous seas, after which the birds face a lengthy inland walk over rocks and through pastureland and forest to reach their nesting site.

Big Pacific: Passionate, Voracious, Mysterious, Violent
By Rebecca Tansley

The Pacific Ocean covers one-third of Earth’s surface—more than all of the planet’s landmasses combined. It contains half of the world’s water, hides its deepest places, and is home to some of the most dazzling creatures known to science. The companion book to the spectacular five-part series on PBS produced by Natural History New Zealand, Big Pacific breaks the boundaries between land and sea to present the Pacific Ocean and its inhabitants as you have never seen them before.

Illustrated in full color throughout, Big Pacific blends a wealth of stunning Ultra HD images with spellbinding storytelling to take you into a realm teeming with exotic life rarely witnessed up close—until now. The book is divided into four sections, each one focusing on an aspect of the Pacific. “Passionate Pacific” looks at the private lives of sea creatures, with topics ranging from the mating behaviors of great white sharks to the monogamy of wolf eels, while “Voracious Pacific” covers hunting and feeding. In “Mysterious Pacific,” you will be introduced to the Pacific’s more extraordinary creatures, like the pufferfish and firefly squid, and explore some of the region’s eerier locales, like the turtle tombs of Borneo and the skull caves of Papua New Guinea. “Violent Pacific” examines the effects of events like natural disasters on the development of the Pacific Ocean’s geography and the evolution of its marine life.

Providing an unparalleled look at a diverse range of species, locations, and natural phenomena, Big Pacific is truly an epic excursion to one of the world’s last great frontiers.

Learn more by watching Big Pacific, airing on select PBS affiliates this fall. Watch the trailer below:

Big Pacific: All About The Great White Shark

From page 14-17 of Big Pacific:

Peripatetic pilgrims of the Pacific, Great white sharks have one of the widest geographic ranges of any marine animal. Individuals migrate vast distances — even across entire ocean basins — and in the Pacific they can be found as far north as Alaska and as far south as New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic Islands. Every year, however, a great many of these oceanic travelers congregate around La Isla Guadalupe (Guadalupe Island), 241 kilometers (150 miles) off the western coast of Mexico. First to arrive, in spring and summer, are males. The females — who generally dwarf the males — arrive in the fall. It’s thought mating occurs in the late fall, although no one has ever witnessed great whites in the act. Pregnant females spend a year or more at sea while as many as ten embryos develop inside their bodies. At birth the pups measure around a meter (3 to 4 feet). Like their parents, these youngsters disappear into the deep blue, perhaps using their remarkable ability to read the magnetic fields of the Earth’s crust to navigate their way across the ocean.

The Great White Shark. With little obvious differentiation other than the size disparity, it can be tricky to distinguish between male and female Great whites.

Unsurprisingly for such a highly evolved predator, Great white sharks are endowed with keen sensory organs. Their sense of smell — which enables them to detect a single drop of blood in 10 billion drops of water — is legendary and helps give rise to their fearsome reputation as hunters. But their vision is also good: the retina of a Great white’s eye is dually adapted for day vision and low light. Even more impressive is their ability to detect electrical currents through pores on their snouts which are filled with cells called the ampullae of Lorenzini.

Big Pacific: Passionate, Voracious, Mysterious, Violent
By Rebecca Tansley

The Pacific Ocean covers one-third of Earth’s surface—more than all of the planet’s landmasses combined. It contains half of the world’s water, hides its deepest places, and is home to some of the most dazzling creatures known to science. The companion book to the spectacular five-part series on PBS produced by Natural History New Zealand, Big Pacific breaks the boundaries between land and sea to present the Pacific Ocean and its inhabitants as you have never seen them before.

Illustrated in full color throughout, Big Pacific blends a wealth of stunning Ultra HD images with spellbinding storytelling to take you into a realm teeming with exotic life rarely witnessed up close—until now. The book is divided into four sections, each one focusing on an aspect of the Pacific. “Passionate Pacific” looks at the private lives of sea creatures, with topics ranging from the mating behaviors of great white sharks to the monogamy of wolf eels, while “Voracious Pacific” covers hunting and feeding. In “Mysterious Pacific,” you will be introduced to the Pacific’s more extraordinary creatures, like the pufferfish and firefly squid, and explore some of the region’s eerier locales, like the turtle tombs of Borneo and the skull caves of Papua New Guinea. “Violent Pacific” examines the effects of events like natural disasters on the development of the Pacific Ocean’s geography and the evolution of its marine life.

Providing an unparalleled look at a diverse range of species, locations, and natural phenomena, Big Pacific is truly an epic excursion to one of the world’s last great frontiers.

Learn more by watching Big Pacific, airing on select PBS affiliates this fall. Watch the trailer below:

Bird Fact Friday – Southern Carmine Bee-eater

From page 97 of Birds of Kruger National Park:

The Southern Carmine Bee-eater is a large, spectacular, long, slender, carmine-pink and teal-blue bee-eater with a long, pointed tail and black bill and facial mask. Immatures are duller than adults and lack long tail feathers. It is a common non-breeding summer migrant (December–April) to Kruger, where it can gather in large groups and often attends bush fires to feed on fleeing insects.

A mature Southern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicoides). (Photo credit: Keith Barnes & Ken Behrens)

The “trik-trik-trik” or “ga-gaga” calls, sound more guttural than those of European Bee-eater. Although not a common behaviour, Southern Carmine Bee-eaters have been recorded sitting on the backs of antelopes or Kori Bustards, swooping out and catching insects that are flushed. It specializes in catching large flying insects, including termites, cicadas, dragonflies, butterflies and locusts and regurgitates pellets of indigestible insect remains.

 

Birds of Kruger National Park
Keith Barnes & Ken Behrens

South Africa’s Kruger National Park is one of the largest and most iconic conservation areas in Africa. Habitats range from wide-open savannah and rugged thornveld to broadleaved mopani woodland. This microhabitat variation gives Kruger a phenomenal diversity of some 520 bird species, half of which are resident. From Africa’s most extraordinary eagles, like the scarlet-faced Bateleur, to electric-colored glossy-starlings and jewel-like finches, Kruger offers an avian celebration of form and color. It is also a crucial conservation area, supporting South Africa’s largest viable populations of vultures, eagles, and large terrestrial birds.

This field guide offers a unique window into the world of Kruger’s birds. More than 500 stunning color photographs illustrate the 259 most frequently encountered species, and a habitat-based approach assists in identification. The authoritative text provides key information about identification, habitat, behavior, biology, and conservation. The guide contains information likely to be new to even the most experienced birders, but is written in a nontechnical style that makes it accessible to anyone.

  • An essential guide to Kruger’s birds
  • Perfect for new and experienced birders alike
  • Small, portable format ideal for field use
  • Unique attractive layout with more than 500 stunning color photographs
  • Covers the 259 most frequently seen species
  • Uses a habitat-based approach to aid identification
  • Authoritative and accessible text provides key information about identification, behavior, biology, and conservation

 

Bird Fact Friday – The Wattled Jacana

From page 98 of Birds of Western Ecuador:

The Wattled Jacana is common in freshwater marshes, flooded rice paddies, ditches, and vegetated margins of lakes and sluggish rivers in the lowlands. The distinctive adult is not likely to be confused with any other species (W Ecuador birds have black scapular patches, not evident in this photo). Immature is extremely different from adult and has no similar species: it is all white below and has distinctive black-and-white head stripes.

The Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana).

The Wattled Jacana forages methodically, in singles, pairs, or scattered groups, over matted and floating vegetation, where it is generally easy to see. Flight is slow, usually low to ground, with rather stiff wingbeats, legs and long toes protruding way beyond tail; when alighting, wings are often held outstretched, showing off yellow primaries. They can be quite noisy, emitting a series of loud yapping and yelping, cackling notes and churring sounds.

Birds of Western Ecuador
By Nick Athanas & Paul J. Greenfield
With special contributions from Iain Campbell, Pablo Cervantes Daza, Andrew Spencer & Sam Woods

Western Ecuador is famed for its astonishingly diverse birdlife, from colorful hummingbirds and outrageous toucans to more difficult groups like raptors, flycatchers, and ovenbirds. Here is the ultimate photographic guide to the spectacular birds of this region. Featuring nearly 1,500 stunning color photos of 946 species, this richly detailed and taxonomically sophisticated field guide will help you with even the toughest identification challenges. Species accounts, photos, and color distribution maps appear side by side, making it easier than ever to find what you are looking for, whether you are in the field or preparing for your trip.

  • Features nearly 1,500 photos of 946 species
  • Includes facing-page species accounts, photos, and maps
  • Provides photos of multiple plumages for many species
  • Helps you to differentiate between similar species

 

 

 

Bird Fact Friday – Blyth’s Tragopan

From page 28 of A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh:

Blyth’s tragopan is a large, brilliantly coloured game bird. It has bare yellow facial skin with a black band extending from the base of its bill to its crown. The bird has an unmarked red head, rusty-red neck and breast, and pale blue horns. Its upperparts are brownish red with many white ocelli.

 

Blyth’s tragopan (Tragopan blythii) are typically found on steep slopes in montane forest undergrowth.

Males tend to be 68 cm, while females are 59 cm and have a brown uniform with black buff and white mottling. They both also have pinkish-brown legs and white-spotted red flanks.

A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh
By Bikram Grewal, Sumit Sen, Sarwandeep Singh, Nikhil Devasar & Garima Bhatia

This is the only comprehensive photographic field guide to the birds of the entire Indian subcontinent. Every distinct species and subspecies—some 1,375 in all—is covered with photographs, text, and maps. The guide features more than 4,000 stunning photographs, many never before published, which have been carefully selected to illustrate key identification features of each species. The up-to-date facing-page text includes concise descriptions of plumage, voice, range, habitat, and recent taxonomic changes. Each species has a detailed map reflecting the latest distribution information and containing notes on status and population density. The guide also features an introduction that provides an overview of birdlife and a brief history of ornithology in India and its neighbors. The result is an encyclopedic photographic guide that is essential for everyone birding anywhere in the subcontinent.

  • Covers all 1,375 subcontinental bird species
  • Features more than 4,000 stunning photographs to aid quick field identification
  • Includes up-to-date facing-page text and range maps
  • Contains concise descriptions of plumage, voice, habitat, and much more

Bird Fact Friday – Northern Harrier

From page 140 of Raptors of Mexico and Central America:

Norther Harriers are slim-bodied raptor with long legs, long wings, and a long tail. Their distinctive quartering flight, flying low over the ground, is unique. A white patch on the uppertail coverts and a dark head that appears hooded and shows an owllike facial disk are distinctive. Sexes have different adult plumages, but are nearly identical in juvenile plumage. Females are noticeably larger than males.

Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius). Adult female. Adult females have brown upperparts, heavily streaked underparts, white bands on underwings, and yellow eyes. Photo credit: Richard Pavek

They hunt most of the time with their distinctive quartering flight, flying low over the ground and pouncing quickly when prey is spotted. However, they can fly directly toward avian prey in a rapid flight from some distance, with a short, twisting tail chase at the end. Males prey more on birds, while females take more mammals, but they both take both. They have been reported to drown waterfowl. Recent studies have shown that Northern Harriers can locate prey by sound almost as well as owls can, which explains the facial disk.

Raptors of Mexico and Central America
William S. Clark & N. John Schmitt
With a foreword by Lloyd Kiff

Raptors are among the most challenging birds to identify in the field due to their bewildering variability of plumage, flight silhouettes, and behavior. Raptors of Mexico and Central America is the first illustrated guide to the region’s 69 species of raptors, including vagrants. It features 32 stunning color plates and 213 color photos, and a distribution map for each regularly occurring species. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, age-related plumages, status and distribution, subspecies, molt, habitats, behaviors, potential confusion species, and more.

Raptors of Mexico and Central America is the essential field guide to this difficult bird group and the ideal travel companion for anyone visiting this region of the world.

Five Books for Hawk Migration Season

From hawks, to falcons, to our illustrious bald eagle, raptors are the kings of the sky, so it seems only right to pay homage to them during this fall migration season. Whether you’re a birdwatching pro or new to the hobby, we’ve picked out five guides that can help you identify various raptors across America and learn more about birds as a whole.

Whether soaring or perched, diurnal birds of prey often present challenging identification problems for the bird enthusiast. Variable plumage, color morphs, and unique individual characteristics are just some of the factors bird watchers must consider when identifying the different species. In A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors, two of the world’s top experts on raptors provide an essential guide to the variations in the species, allowing for easier recognition of key identification points. All the distinguishing marks described have been exhaustively tested in a wide range of field conditions by the authors as well as the colleagues and students who have learned from them.
Raptors are among the most challenging birds to identify in the field due to their bewildering variability of plumage, flight silhouettes, and behavior. Raptors of Mexico and Central America is the first illustrated guide to the region’s 69 species of raptors, including vagrants. It features 32 stunning color plates and 213 color photos, and a distribution map for each regularly occurring species. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, age-related plumages, status and distribution, subspecies, molt, habitats, behaviors, potential confusion species, and more.
Comprehensive and authoritative, The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors covers all thirty-four of North America’s diurnal raptor species (all species except owls). Each species is featured in stunning color plates that show males and females, in a full spectrum of ages and color variants, depicted near and far, in flight and at rest, and from multiple angles, all caught in their typical habitats. There are also comparative, multispecies scenes and mystery photographs that allow readers to test their identification skills, along with answers and full explanations in the back of the book. In addition, the book features an introduction, and thirty-four color maps accompany the plates.
The ultimate must-have guide for identifying migrant raptors, Hawks at a Distance is the first volume to focus on distant raptors as they are truly seen in the field. Jerry Liguori, a leading expert on North American raptors, factors in new information and approaches for identifying twenty-nine species of raptor in various lighting situations and settings. The field guide’s nineteen full-color portraits, 558 color photos, and 896 black-and-white images portray shapes and plumages for each species from all angles. Useful flight identification criteria are provided and the accompanying text discusses all aspects of in-flight hawk identification, including flight style and behavior. Concentrating on features that are genuinely observable at a distance, this concise and practical field guide is ideal for any aspiring or experienced hawk enthusiast.
Hawks from Every Angle takes hawk identification to new heights. It offers a fresh approach that literally looks at the birds from every angle, compares and contrasts deceptively similar species, and provides the pictures (and words) needed for identification in the field. Jerry Liguori pinpoints innovative, field-tested identification traits for each species from the various angles that they are seen. Featuring 339 striking color photos on 68 color plates and 32 black & white photos, this is a unique in presenting a host of meticulously crafted pictures for each of the 19 species it covers in detail–the species most common to migration sites throughout the United States and Canada.

You can also check out this sample raptor ID guide from The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors for a taste of what you’ll find in these publications.

Bird Fact Friday – Townsend’s Warbler

From pages 440-442 in The Warbler’s Guide:

Townsend’s Warbler is easily identified by its high-contrast yellow face, which also contains a dark ear patch and yellow undereye arc. These warblers have variably black throats boarded by yellow, and dark streaking. In addition, they have a dark olive-green back and white wing bars. Their dark flight feathers contrast with their yellow bodies. Additionally, Townsend’s Warblers are identified by their white bellies and tails. They also have a distinctive, contrasty facial pattern.

The Townsend Warbler (Setophaga townsendi) perched on a branch. Photo courtesy of the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL. Copyright: Scott Whittle and Tom Stephenson.

This warbler breeds in conifers; during migration, they can use a range of habitats, but are often found in pines whenever available. Their breeding range overlaps with Hermit Warbler’s, and hybrids between the two are found annually. Townsend’s Warblers are typically found in the western part of the United States.

The Warbler GuideThe Warbler Guide
Tom Stephenson & Scott Whittle
Drawings by Catherine Hamilton

Warblers are among the most challenging birds to identify. They exhibit an array of seasonal plumages and have distinctive yet oft-confused calls and songs. The Warbler Guide enables you to quickly identify any of the 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada. This groundbreaking guide features more than 1,000 stunning color photos, extensive species accounts with multiple viewing angles, and an entirely new system of vocalization analysis that helps you distinguish songs and calls.

The Warbler Guide revolutionizes birdwatching, making warbler identification easier than ever before. For more information, please see the author videos on the Princeton University Press website.

Bird Fact Friday – The Red Faced Warbler

From pages 422-424 of The Warbler Guide:

The Red Faced Warbler can be easily identified by its red face, throat and upper breast. It also has a black cap that extends down the sides of its head to create “earflaps”, a white belly, and a long gray tail that is often flipped or wagged. It also has a short, thick bill and a single white wing bar with a blackish edge. The Red Faced Warbler is the only U.S. warbler with a bright red face.

The Red Faced Warbler

The Red Faced Warbler (Cardellina rubrifrons) perched on a branch. Photo Credit: Michael H. Bruce

While feeding, the Red Faced Warbler tends to be acrobatic and hang from branches. It has a long, slender shape, and its pale white rump is clearly visible during flight. This warbler has a limited range and altitude but, in Arizona and New Mexico, it tends to prefer mixed forests and steep terrain, typically above 2000m.

warblerThe Warbler Guide
Tom Stephenson & Scott Whittle
Drawings by Catherine Hamilton

Warblers are among the most challenging birds to identify. They exhibit an array of seasonal plumages and have distinctive yet oft-confused calls and songs. The Warbler Guide enables you to quickly identify any of the 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada. This groundbreaking guide features more than 1,000 stunning color photos, extensive species accounts with multiple viewing angles, and an entirely new system of vocalization analysis that helps you distinguish songs and calls.

The Warbler Guide revolutionizes birdwatching, making warbler identification easier than ever before. For more information, please see the author videos on the Princeton University Press website.

A peek inside Mariposas Nocturnas by Emmet Gowin

American photographer Emmet Gowin is best known for his portraits of his wife, Edith, and their family, as well as for his images documenting the impact of human activity upon landscapes around the world. For the past fifteen years, he has been engaged in an equally profound project on a different scale, capturing the exquisite beauty of more than one thousand species of nocturnal moths in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guiana, and Panama. Throughout Gowin’s distinguished career, his work has addressed urgent concerns. The arresting images of Mariposas Nocturnas extend this reach, as Gowin fosters awareness for a part of nature that is generally left unobserved. Essential reading for audiences both in photography and natural history, this lavishly illustrated volume reminds readers that, as Terry Tempest Williams writes in her foreword, “The world is saturated with loveliness, inhabited by others far more adept at living with uncertainty than we are.”

 

 

Emmet Gowin is emeritus professor of photography at Princeton University. His many books include Emmet Gowin and Changing the Earth. His photographs are in collections around the world, including at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Tokyo Museum of Art. Terry Tempest Williams is an author, conservationist, and activist. Her books include The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks and Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place.

Just in Time for Migration Season: The Warbler Guide

The Warbler GuideWarblers are among the most challenging birds to identify. But, as we enter the fall migration season, Princeton University Press has the perfect tool for identifying these beautiful birds: The Warbler Guide.

This helpful guide enables readers to quickly identify any of the 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada, with more than 1,000 stunning color photos, extensive species accounts with multiple viewing angles, and an entirely new system of vocalization analysis that helps you distinguish songs and calls.

This is the perfect tool for birdwatching, making warbler identification easier than ever before. But fear not: we are pleased to offer some of these tools to print, laminate, and take with you as you set out on your own adventures. Below, we have eight different finder keys – you can also download them in a complete set as a PDF or JPG. Additionally, we have a tip sheet on identifying the age and sex of warblers, including those from the West Coast. Take these with you on your next birdwatching trip, and then check out the complete Warbler Guide for additional information and insights.

 

Face Quick Finder

Face Quick Finder PDF | JPG

45 Degree Quick Finder

45 Degree Quick Finder    PDF | JPG

East Fall Quick Finder

East Fall Quick Finder        PDF | JPG

East Spring Quick Finder

East Spring Quick Finder    PDF | JPG

Side Quick Finder

Side Quick Finder PDF | JPG

Undertails Quick Finder

Undertails Quick Finder     PDF | JPG

Underview Quick Finder

Underview Quick Finder     PDF | JPG

West Quick Finder

West Quick Finder PDF | JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird Fact Friday – The Ringed Kingfisher

From page 154 of Wildlife of Ecuador:

The Ringed Kingfisher is one of the largest kingfishers in the world. The head, back, and tail are pale grayish blue; the belly (and chest in males) is rich rust; and a complete white collar encircles the neck. Females have a grayishblue breast band.

Ringed Kingfisher

A female Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata) perched on a tree. Photo credit: Pablo Cervantes D, Tropical Birding Tours & Capturing Nature Tours

The Ringed Kingfisher’s loud, machine-gun-like call is often the first alert to its presence. It is common and widespread on both sides of the Andes, from lowlands to about 1,500m (4,920ft ), but requires medium-size to large bodies of water. It is often found around fish-farm pools on Andean slopes where rivers are narrower.

Andrés Vásquez Noboa
Photography by Pablo Cervantes Daza
Preview a Chapter

Mainland Ecuador’s spectacular wildlife makes it a magnet for nature tourists, but until now there hasn’t been a go-to, all-in-one guide geared to the general reader. With this handy and accessible guide, visitors now have everything they need to identify and enjoy the majority of birds and animals they are likely to see. Written and illustrated by two of Ecuador’s most experienced nature guides and photographers, this book covers more than 350 birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. It features over 400 stunning color photographs and includes a range map for each species, as well as a brief account of the country’s natural history and biogeography. With its extensive coverage, attractive and easy-to-use layout, beautiful photographs, and nontechnical text, this is an essential guide for anyone who wants to explore the natural wonders of Ecuador.