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The Great Horned Owl: An In-depth Study, by Scott RashidThe Great Horned Owl: An In-depth Study
by Scott Rashid

From Schiffer Publishing:

The Great Horned Owl is the largest owl found throughout most of North America. Adult owls are between eighteen to 24 inches from head to tail and can have a wing span of more than four feet. Their long ear tufts and cryptic coloration enables them to remain well hidden during the day, often out of sight of sharp-eyed diurnal raptors and eagle-eyed birders. Through more than 130 photographs and illustrations, take an in-depth look into the life of this very impressive and formidable bird. Explore the owls food habits, nesting sites, how they raise their young, and the rehabilitation of injured owls. The one-of-a-kind photographs and comprehensive descriptions make this a must-have treasure to be enjoyed by all ages. It is sure to become the go-to reference on the Great Horned Owl.

 

You’ve got to respect a bird like the Great Horned. This book looks like a great study on these awesome birds.

 

The Great Horned Owl: An In-depth Study
by Scott Rashid
Hardcover; 112 pages
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.; March 9, 2015
ISBN: 978-0764347665
$34.99

H is for HawkH is for Hawk
by Helen Macdonald

From Grove Press:

When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White’s chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity and changed her life.

Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer’s eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator.

 

I recently saw this book on the bestsellers shelf in an airport newsstand. That has to be the first time I’ve seen a bird book there! But with all the great press about this book, I’m not surprised. I’m really looking forward to reading it.

 

H is for Hawk
by Helen Macdonald
Hardcover; 288 pages
Grove Press; March 3, 2015
ISBN: 978-0802123411
$26.00

by Donald and Lillian Stokes

A field guide for new birders.

Read the full review »

It’s still early in the year (although, somehow, almost a quarter of it is now over!), but several great-looking bird books have been announced for 2015. Here are a few to look forward to.

My review of Birds and Animals of the Serengeti / Masai Mara / Kenya’s Rift Valley is now up on Nature Travel Network.

Birds of the Masai Mara, Birds of the Serengeti, Birds of Kenya’s Rift Valley, Animals of the Masai Mara, Animals of the Serengeti

by Douglas Brinkley

A look at Theodore Roosevelt, naturalist and conservationist.

Read the full review »

by David Allen Sibley

The best field guide to North American birds.

Read the full review »

by Mark Avery

A look at the Passenger Pigeon and its extinction, and what it means for us today.

Read the full review »

From Florida to Hawaii to New Guinea; hummingbirds to kestrels; checklists to novels – there’s something in January’s reviews for everyone.

Here’s some great news for anyone who bought the second edition of The Sibley Guide when it was first published, only to be disappointed by color reproduction and type readability (more details in my Initial Review). The publisher, Knopf (a division of Random House), is offering a free replacement with the much improved second printing:

If you bought the 1st printing of Sibley’s 2d edition, Random House will send you the vastly improved 2d printing if you call them at (800) 793-2665 (during business hours). There will be a number to press to get details on the replacement. In order to get a replacement, you will have to cut off the UPC from the 1st printing and mail it to them at:

Penguin Random House
Attn: Consumer Services/DMF
400 Hahn Rd.
Westminster, MD 21157

This is a very classy move by the publisher. Thanks Knopf! And thanks to Dalcio on BirdForum for calling attention to this.

This issue has gone through several stages, from the initial excitement about the program and success of some people, to subsequent denials from the publisher, to finally what seems like an official program as outlined above.

Update 2/4/2015: People have been reporting various degrees of success after calling the publisher. After giving their contact info, some have been told that a replacement will be sent to them, others that they will be contacted later. Some have been told that only copies bought directly from the publisher will be replaced, and all others should seek to exchange it from wherever they originally purchased it. And then others were told that this is for real and they will get a replacement (and were even given a confirmation number).

Basically, no one is sure what the real situation is. It’s quite possible that there is no official replacement program. At this time, the best thing to do is call the publisher and hope this is for real.

Update 2/5/2015: There are still inconsistent messages coming from the publisher. However, several people have reported success in getting returns authorized from Amazon. If you got the 1st printing from Amazon, I’d suggest contacting them and letting them know it was defective and that a new printing has been done to correct it. They should send you a replacement, even if it’s beyond the normal 30-day return window. Some have been told they will NOT have to return the original item, but others were told they’d get a shipping label to return it. If they say you don’t have to return it, I would suggest keeping that correspondence, just in case.

Update 2/6/2015: It seems that Random House has set their official policy – unfortunately, it’s that free replacements are no longer being offered (see the comments for some communications from the publisher). I’m glad that some people did get their copy of the 2nd printing, though. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest contacting the publisher anyway – they are taking down contact information and maybe, just maybe, they will continue sending out replacements.

Update 2/18/2015: The details above have been updated. The publisher has added an option to their automated system when you call them to provide details on how to get a replacement copy. It seems this is now official.