Birds of North America: Life Histories of More Than 930 Species

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9780789480019: Birds of North America: Life Histories of More Than 930 Species

Published in association with America's preeminent authority, the Smithsonian Institution. This comprehensive reference to the birds of North America includes full-page profiles of more than 930 species -- all the birds known to breed in the United States or Canada, as well as regular visitors and vagrants to the continent. Smithsonian Birds of North America provides essential identification tips for each species together with fascinating information on feeding and behavior, breeding, and nesting habits. Identification. Full-page species profiles combine a precise description and annotated photographs to highlight the key field marks of the adult male. Other plumages are portrayed with photographs or artworks if they differ significantly. Species similar to the one profiled are shown with a brief summary of the key differences. An explanation of the typical flight pattern of each species includes both schematic artworks and a verbal description. Life histories. Knowledge of behavior can be critical to differentiate between similar species, and an understanding of life histories enhances the total birding experience. Each profile includes a description of the typical vocalizations, feeding behavior, breeding, nesting, population, and conservation concerns. A range map shows each bird's occurrence in North America during summer, winder, and on migration.

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About the Author:

A visit to any of the Smithsonian's 16 museums and galleries or the National Zoo is an adventure into the world's largest museum complex. The Smithsonian Institution holds more than 140 million artifacts and specimens in trust for the American people. The Institution, also a center for research, is dedicated to public education, national service, and scholarship in the arts, sciences, and history. The Smithsonian was established in 1846 with funds bequeathed to the United States by James Smithson, an English scientist, for the increase and diffusion of knowledge. The author, Frederick Joseph Alsop, III Ph.D. is an ornithologist and a professor of biological sciences at East Tennessee State University. He received his doctorate in zoology from the University of Tennessee, and specializes in the ecology, distribution, life history, and taxonomy of birds. An avid field biologist and birder, he has identified more than 3,200 species of birds worldwide.

From Library Journal:

With its DK and Smithsonian imprimaturs, this five-pound book will get attention it does not deserve. The information it provides, with sections on identification, song, behavior, breeding, distribution, conservation, etc., is accurate and complete enough but adds little to what is found in the many good books already available on the subject books that are generally smaller, cheaper, and easier to use. Thus, titles by David Sibley, the National Geographic Society, Chandler Robbins, and Roger Tory Peterson serve much better as field guides; Paul Ehrlich's The Birder's Handbook (S. & S., 1988), although under-illustrated, provides more information on the biology of each species. Alsop includes ultra-rare species most advanced birders will not see in a lifetime, giving them unrealistic significance. His photographs, devoid of background and often one per species, appear as mounted specimens and are not helpful for identification. Though it may seem counterintuitive, field guides with stylized, generalized paintings give a much better distillation of a bird's appearance than photographs do. A professor of biological sciences at East Tennessee State University, Alsop has also published smaller Eastern and Western region spin-off titles of this work, with the same text for appropriate species. An optional purchase. Henry T. Armistead, Free Lib. of Philadelphia
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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