Thank you to everyone who entered our giveaway for 6 digital copies of our best-selling and most popular bird books. We had such a wonderful response, I decided to pick two winners. Congratulations to Gaurav Kandlikar and Jill Clark who are now owners of an enviable birding library on their handheld devices!
Gaurav noted this was a “nice way to start the week,” and we agree! But the best comment goes to Jill who compared winning our giveaway to winning the Powerball lottery — well, she called it a close second.
I am also pleased to announce another natural history title is now available in the iBooks store: Rare Birds of North America by Steve Howell, Ian Lewington, and Will Russell
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To celebrate the availability of Princeton University Press’s bird books through the iBooks store, we are hosting a sweepstakes giveaway of all 6 titles. See below for several ways to enter or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The prize will be 6 promo codes that allow the winner to download complimentary copies of The Crossley ID Guide, The Warbler Guide, The World’s Rarest Birds, Hawks at a Distance, The Birds of Peru, and The Unfeathered Bird. This prize can only be used through the iBooks store and to view these books, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 3 or later and iOS 4.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later. There is no device or tablet included in this giveaway.
The giveaway will run from 12:15 AM EST, Monday, February 3 through 12:00 PM EST, Friday, February 7.
The American Birding Association just announced its 2014 Bird of the Year will be the Rufous Hummingbird. Check out their announcement below (what a fun video featuring Neil Hayward who has just completed a new record Big Year & Jay Lehman, as well as a cameo by Liz Gordon) and a list of Princeton University Press resources to help you further find and appreciate this beautiful species.
First up, check out the rufous hummingbird entry from Birds of Western North America: A Photographic Guide by Paul Sterry and Brian E. Small.
Perfect your rufous hummingbird ID skills with this plate, courtesy of The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds:
Then gather some of our outstanding bird books to round-out your knowledge:
Hummingbirds of North America
Birds of North America and Greenland
The Crossley ID Guide
Birds of Western North America
Of course, that’s if you can figure out what “one of these” is.
Photo Credit: Scott Whittle, author of The Warbler Guide
Maybe these icons from this bird’s entry in The Warbler Guide will help you figure out the ID:
One of my favorite raptor sites, Hawk Mountain in Kempton PA, is seeing a steady stream of migrating Broadwing Hawks, so I thought I’d share this gorgeous plate from The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors. Hoping to make it there soon. Do you have a local hawk watch? Give them a shout out in the comments below and I’ll add them to the “places” list below.
Places to go see raptors this fall:
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
1700 Hawk Mountain Rd.
Using radar and weather to predict bird fall out during migration season, a quick case study from Derek Lovitch
I am crossposting this from Derek Lovitch’s blog. He has had two amazing days watching migrating birds (a complete list of his sightings is available on his blog, so if you want to be struck with true envy over an amazing tally, head there), but what really interests me and is useful to our migration feature this month, is how he uses radar and maps to predict what birds he’ll see and where to find them. So, I have left the bird list alone and present here the meat and potatoes of his post. I hope it helps everyone understand the power of using weather/radar/maps during migration time:
Simply put: wow! That was one heck of a flight on Day 1. In fact, it was downright overwhelming at times – flocks of flickers, waves of warblers, packs of waxwings. It was almost too much to count, and thankfully, Jenny Howard agreed (OK, so maybe I didn’t exactly ask, but beg) to tally flickers for the busiest part of the morning for me. That helped a whole lot.
After a flood like the morning of Day 1, I am not disappointed by the slow, but steady trickle through the point this morning on Day 2. It was a more manageable number to count, with quite a few birds lower than yesterday, and often only a few at a time; it was easier to sort through.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting Day 2 to be quite this good. And despite really only a “good” flight, parulas had their second highest tally – I didn’t think there would be any left after yesterday’s flight! And yes, this more manageable flight was more “enjoyable,” if considerably less awe-inspiring.
So, what made me have lower expectations for today? Let’s go to the radar!
Combined, these images show a very strong flight all night long, with a lot of birds offshore come twilight, and likely a lot of birds arriving at the coast come dawn. Looking at that image when I went to bed, and when I awoke, coupled with the light northwesterly winds all night left no doubt that things would be hopping at Sandy Point. And, as we now know, there most certainly was. If you see a radar image that looks like this – go birding in the morning!
In fact, it was a good day all-around for migrants, and everywhere we looked up yesterday, raptors were on the move.
As night fell Tuesday night (Day 1, ed note), clear and mostly calm conditions let birds take to the air once again – but not nearly as many as the night before (pre-Day 1). Notice how much smaller the area of return is, and how much less dense? Meanwhile, the velocity image was much less distinctly fast-moving, north-to-south as the previous night (of course, with little to no wind, the ground speed of the birds would be less anyway) – a little more ambiguous than the night before. Furthermore, with a forecast for westerly winds (not as good as northwesterly), and the chance that they would become southwesterly by dawn, I did consider skipping Sandy Point this morning, but with the rest of the week looking even less productive, I knew I had to give it a go.
And, obviously, I am glad that I did. But upon returning to the store, and checking those above radar images once again, I find it a bit odd that the radar image (small in diameter, but very dense) did not translate to a more distinct velocity image. Perhaps there was a lot of slow-moving stuff up there (insects, pollen, dust, etc) that clouded the motion of the birds. Either way, it was a good night for flying, and if it’s a good night for flying, it’s a good morning to be at Sandy Point!
Derek Lovitch has worked on avian research and education projects throughout the United States, has written numerous articles for birding publications, and was a columnist for Birding magazine. He now owns and runs Freeport Wild Bird Supply in Maine. He is also author of How to Be a Better Birder which you can check out here.
To kick off our Migration blog coverage, we’re taking to the skies with a Rafflecopter giveaway event!
How to win? There are numerous ways to win, including liking any of the three books Facebook pages, emailing us at email@example.com, signing up for our email alerts for Bird and Natural History Titles at http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/,or tweeting at @PrincetonNature or at any of the author’s Twitter pages (@IDCrossleyGuide or @The WarblerGuide). Just follow the steps in the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at the beginning of October.
From our WildGuides selection, we are introducing two new beautifully illustrated books for your personal library.
Britain hosts a diversity of freshwater environments, from torrential hill streams and lowland rivers to lakes, reservoirs, ponds, canals, ditches, and upper reaches of estuaries. Britain’s Freshwater Fishes covers the 53 species of freshwater and brackish water fishes that are native or have been introduced and become naturalized. This beautifully illustrated guide features high-quality in-the-water or on-the-bank photographs throughout. Detailed species accounts describe the key identification features and provide information on status, size and weight, habitat, ecology, and conservation. Written in an accessible style, the book also contains introductory sections on fish biology, fish habitats, how to identify fishes, and conservation and legislation.
This is the first book to cover England’s rare and threatened mosses and liverworts, collectively known as bryophytes. As a group, they are the most ancient land plants and occupy a unique position in the colonization of the Earth by plant life. However, many are at risk from habitat loss, pollution, climate change, and other factors. Britain is one of the world’s best bryologically recorded areas, yet its mosses and liverworts are not well known outside a small band of experts. This has meant that conservation action has tended to lag behind that of more charismatic groups such as birds and mammals. Of the 918 different types of bryophyte in England, 87 are on the British Red List and are regarded as threatened under the strict criteria of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
This book aims to raise awareness by providing stunning photographs–many never before published–of each threatened species, as well as up-to-date profiles of 84 of them, including status, distribution, history, and conservation measures. The book looks at what bryophytes are, why they are important and useful, and what makes them rare; it also examines threats, extinctions, ex situ conservation techniques, legislation, and the impact of the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity.
For more selections from WildGuides, please visit:
The Warbler Guide, written by Tom Stephenson & Scott Whittle, received high marks from The Exponent Telegram in a review published on Saturday, July 6th, 2013:
The first 137 pages cover introductory material that would make a valuable stand-alone book. It’s birding 101 focused solely on warblers. It begins with a legend for icons and silhouettes used in every species account. Two pages explain how to use and interpret range maps. Then comes a topographic tour of the basic warbler body. Here you learn to distinguish among primaries, secondaries, tertials and coverts.
37 pages [are] devoted to vocalizations with emphasis on using and understanding sonograms (graphical representations of bird sounds). This discussion includes songs, calls, chirps and flight calls.
Though I’ve been birding for more than 40 years, I felt like a beginner on some pages, and I know I’ll be a better birder next spring.
–Scott Shalaway, The Exponent Telegram
Read the entire Exponent Telegram review here: http://www.exponent-telegram.com/sports/outdoors/the-warbler-guide/article_05109640-e6b7-11e2-a070-0019bb2963f4.html
The Warbler Guide
Tom Stephenson & Scott Whittle
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 effectively learn 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.
- Covers all 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada
- Visual quick finders help you identify warblers from any angle
- Song and call finders make identification easy using a few simple questions
- Uses sonograms to teach a new system of song identification that makes it easier to understand and hear differences between similar species
- Detailed species accounts show multiple views with diagnostic points, direct comparisons of plumage and vocalizations with similar species, and complete aging and sexing descriptions
- New aids to identification include song mnemonics and icons for undertail pattern, color impression, habitat, and behavior
- Includes field exercises, flight shots, general identification strategies, and quizzes
Tom Stephenson’s articles and photos have appeared in Birding and Bird Watcher’s Digest, at Surfbirds.com, and in the Handbook of the Birds of the World. He has guided groups across the United States and Asia. A musician, he has had several Grammy and Academy Award winners as clients, and was director of technology at Roland Corporation. Scott Whittle lives in Cape May, New Jersey, and has twenty years of experience as a professional photographer and educator. He holds an MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York, is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, and is a onetime New York State Big Year record holder.
“The Warbler Guide is a fine book crammed with photographs, tips, expert advice, innovation and information designed to help identify a unique and beautiful set of birds.”–Phil Slade, Another Bird Blog
“Fantastic and, yes, ground-breaking. . . . There will be no birder north of the Rio Grande who would turn down this book. There will be few who intend to visit North America that would not want to spend time familiarising themselves with the Wood Warblers, and there is no better way for them than to open these pages and get lost in their cornucopia of detail. . . . Everything from sonograms to seasonal variations, confusion species to aging and sexing and with pretty detailed distribution maps as well. The term ‘tour de force’ sits well upon its wide shoulders.”–Fatbirder
“The Warbler Bible has come forth! This is easily the most comprehensive and fantastic warbler specific guide covering North American Warblers. I am amazed and impressed with each of its features. . . . [A] must-have book.”–Robert Mortensen, Birding is Fun
“A warbler feast for the eyes, the answer to the prayers of every birder who has seen a glimpse of yellow, black, and white and said, ‘If only that leaf wasn’t in the way, I’d know that warbler’s name.’. . . The Warbler Guide, by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle, is not just another bird identification book. . . . The authors have thought long and hard about what makes an identification guide work and then approached it their own way. The auditory descriptions of bird song and chips, based on scientific analysis rather than a subjective translation of sound, present a very different approach to identifying birds by ear. The abundance of photographs, the plethora of charts and finding guides, all printed in brilliant color on lovely paper, the clarity of design, make this book a joy to look at and to use.”–Donna Schulman, 10,000 Birds
Even House Majority Whips need some ornithology schooling. Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey in the Netflix series House of Cards, demonstrates in episode 12 of season one that birds–specifically parrots–maintain exquisite complexities in both behavior and appearance that differentiate one species from another. Such intricacies are not easily detectable to the untrained eye. Fortunately, Underwood finds the publisher and field guide to solve his parrot identification dilemma: Princeton University Press’s Parrots of the World, written by Joseph. M. Forshaw and illustrated by Frank Knight.
When asked to identify the caged bird in the kitchen of Raymond Tusk, played by Gerald McRaney, Underwood, who hails from South Carolina’s 5th congressional district, dismissively offers, “Carolina Parakeet,” a “midsize green parrot with yellow head” with orange upper cheeks. “You’re wrong, but you’re close,” rebuts Tusk. He expounds, as noted in Parrots of the World, the Carolina Parakeet is extinct; the winged beauty in the room is a Sun Conure, a “black-billed yellow conure with green primaries and secondary-converts.”
Underwood comes to realize he has been too quick to assume and should have first honed his identification skills, both in birding and the context of his political conquest. Don’t follow in his footsteps–take a closer look at some Parrots of the World two-page spreads here:
From the macaws of South America to the cockatoos of Australia, parrots are among the most beautiful and exotic birds in the world–and also among the most endangered. This stunningly illustrated, easy-to-use field guide covers all 356 species and well-differentiated subspecies of parrots, and is the only guide organized by geographical distribution–Australasian, Afro-Asian, and neotropical. It features 146 superb color plates depicting every kind of parrot, as well as detailed, facing-page species accounts that describe key identification features, distribution, subspeciation, habitat, and status. Color distribution maps show ranges of all subspecies, and field identification is further aided by relevant upperside and underside flight images. This premier field guide also shows where to observe each species in the wild, helping make this the most comprehensive and user-friendly guide to the parrots of the world.
We invite you to download and browse our 2012-2013 Biology catalog:
Be on the lookout for these new and forthcoming titles (just to name a few):
Nature’s Compass: The Mystery of Animal Navigation
by James L. Gould & Carol Grant Gould
Darwinian Agriculture: How Understanding Evolution Can Improve Agriculture
by R. Ford Denison
by Roland Ennos
How and Why Species Multiply: The Radiation of Darwin’s Finches
by Peter R. Grant & B. Rosemary Grant
Atmosphere, Clouds, and Climate
by David Randall
The World’s Rarest Birds
by Erik Hirschfeld, Andy Swash & Robert Still
and more. There are too many great titles to list here. You’re just going to have to check it out online: http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/bio12.pdf
If you are attending the First Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology in Ottawa, stop by and visit us at booth #105!