Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review: Rare Birds of North America

Have you taken the opportunity to see
the delightfully funny movie, The Big Year, starring
Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Steve Martin?
It's been out a few years now.
If you haven't, you should.
It's not just for birders only!!
While most birders do not literally race all over the continent
in an attempt to list the most species in one year,
as this movie depicts,
many birders will drop everything to rush off to see rare birds
for the first, and usually, the only time.
If you are one of THOSE birders,
or know of someone who is,
then this book is for you:
Rare Birds of North America
by Steve N.G. Howell, Ian Lewington, and Will Russell
this comprehensive guide to vagrant species in North America
will be on the bookshelves March 5.
Vagrant species are accidental visitors from other continents
that might have "followed misguided migration paths",
were perhaps caught up in a storm,
or, as funny as it may seem,
were stowaways on ships.
I personally do not have the means
to rush off, to and fro, whenever there is a rare bird alert,
but there were a couple of times that I was in
the right place, at the right time.
Once, in northeast Cape Breton,
there was an African Western Reef Heron.
Another time, while passing through Maine
during my own annual migration,
I had the pleasure of seeing a Northern Lapwing
likely from The British Isles.
It would have been such an asset to have had this book available.
For those of you who are non-birders,
species accounts of these birds
are not in our normal every day guide books!
Rare Birds of North America
explains the hows and whys of vagrancy and
the whens and wheres of occurances,
covering 262 rare species.
Included in these species accounts are
patterns of vagrancy, identification,
seasons, regions, and migration.
Written in a straight-forward language we can all understand
it is very nicely illustrated with 275 color plates.
A big thank you to Jessica at Princeton University Press
for giving me the opportunity to preview this book.


Bob Bushell said...

Brilliant read Karen.

TexWisGirl said...

i did enjoy that movie and can totally see how people could get caught up in the fever.

Sondra said...

I loved that movie it was a good one I would enjoy watching it again...come to think of it. This looks like a great Field Guide to add my library!

julieQ said...

I love birds, but know little about them, so I love my guide to North American birds. I saw a huge bird, I mean really big the other day, flying over the hospital! It looked like a huge pelican to me...who knows what I was looking at, and who was looking down at me!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I love birds but I do not know them really well like my daughter who can identify them easily. I got a kick out of her the other day though calling me to tell me to watch for the cedar waxwings who are now briefly in our area - I saw them one year and loved them - I have not seen them though so far and she said they are normally only in our area for about 10 days.

Mom of 12 said...

That's amazing!

Montanagirl said...

I have not seen that movie, but I've heard about it.

FlourishingPalms said...

I'm only an amateur birder. I just find them interesting, especially when I visit (or move to!) someplace new. The sandhill cranes here in The Villages just blow me away. They're huge! And lately, because we now have landscaping to attract birds, I've been watching and hearing a few who are interested in our red-blooming bottle brush. With my Florida guidebook, I'm pretty sure I'm seeing a Palm Warbler. Wish you were here to tell me for sure!