Book News

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.

The Birds' WeddingThe Birds’ Wedding
by Bryna Hellmann and Leslie Browne

This is two books inside one cover. The story of The Birds’ Wedding is for reading aloud – perhaps at bedtime, since it ends with “Good Night!”. It’s a fantasy, of course, but even though the wedding guests are wearing hats and playing musical instruments, they look the way they do in real life.

The second part, Looking at Birds, is about lots of other birds, how they look, sing and make their nests, what they eat, where they live and what we call them. This part is for children who can read for themselves and for parents who want to answer their kids’ questions. We hope it’s fun to read and will encourage children to look for the birds where they live, recognize them, know their names and care about their well-being.

Because we “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth”, we’re responsible for the well-being of all the living creatures we share our planet with. We depend on them as much as they depend on us. A world without birds would be a sad place.

 

This is a cute, short story for kids about a bird wedding. It’s illustrated with some beautifully distinctive drawings. The second part is an overview of birds with a plea for conservation.

You can buy this book by emailing the author at brynah@xs4all.nl. The cost is $25, which includes shipping to the US.

 

The Birds’ Wedding
by Bryna Hellmann and Leslie Browne
Paperback; 46 pages
Calbona Publishing; July, 2014
$25.00

When the second edition of The Sibley Guide was published earlier this year, there were clearly some issues with it. The most serious of those was color reproduction on some plates and a light text font that could make it hard to read. But a recently released second printing has corrected those issues. The text is darker, making it easier to read now. The colors also look much better. The most often cited offender was the male Scarlet Tanager, which was clearly not “brilliant red”, as the text notes. The second printing is clearly redder, although not quite as much as it had been in the first edition.

Scarlet Tanager comparison between Sibley Guides

Scarlet Tanager in The Sibley Guides: 1st edition on left; 2nd edition, 1st printing center; 2nd edition, 2nd printing right

So if you’ve held off getting this new Sibley Guide, it’s now safe to buy. The 2nd printings can be identified by locating the text “Second printing, July 2014″ on the page after the title page. I haven’t yet seen the new ones in a store, but you can get one now from Buteo Books.

The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide (Second Edition)The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide (Second Edition)
by Richard Garrigues and Robert Dean

From Cornell University Press:

This is the one compact, portable, and user-friendly field guide the novice or experienced birder needs to identify birds in the field in the diverse habitats found in Costa Rica. It features descriptions and illustrations of all 903 species definitely known from Costa Rica, including pelagics and species regular to Cocos Island. Fifty-six of these species are placed in a “Rarities” section that includes accidentals, rarer pelagics, and species that have not been reported in more than twenty years.

The detailed full-color illustrations show identifying features—including plumage differences among males, females, and juveniles—and views of birds in flight wherever pertinent. Robert Dean has supplied more than 360 new illustrations, including sixty-four species that are illustrated for the first time in this edition. These include recent additions to the country list, pelagic species, Cocos Island species, and all accidentals recorded from the Costa Rican mainland. Range maps and nomenclature have been updated for this edition, which also has a new user-friendly organizational scheme and an alphabetical quick-find index of groups on the inside back cover.

 

This is the best field guide available for this wonderfully birdy country.

 

The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide (Second Edition)
by Richard Garrigues and Robert Dean
Paperback; 440 pages
Comstock Publishing Associates (imprint of Cornell University Press); December 4, 2014
ISBN: 978-0801479885
$29.95

Searching for Pekpek: Cassowaries and Conservation in the New Guinea Rainforest

I reviewed this book earlier this year – it’s a great story and even more important message about conservation. The author is offering free shipping to the US and Canada until the end of the year. Even better, a portion of sales are donated to support conservation in Papua New Guinea. Order here

Expired

Save 25% on a single book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Both expire on 12/14.

American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of FloridaAmerican Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Florida
by Bill Pranty; Photographs by Brian E. Small

From Scott & Nix, Inc.:

From the dunes and great river swamps of the Panhandle, the flat woods, scrubs, dry prairies, and wetlands of the Peninsula to the coral reefs of the Keys, the Sunshine State provides habitats for an amazing variety of birds. Florida is rich in protected and preserved habitats, including 11 National Parks, 171 State Parks and Trails, and 100 important Bird Areas. Conservation organizations maintain many sanctuaries for wildlife throughout Florida, attracting birds and providing access for visitors to enjoy the outdoors. Written by expert birder Bill Pranty and filled with crisp, gorgeous color photography by Brian E. Small, American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Florida is the perfect companion for anyone learning more about the natural history and diversity of the state’s birds and when and where to see them.

 

Another excellent entry in the ABA’s state field guide series. Here’s a review of the series.

 

American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Florida
by Bill Pranty; Photographs by Brian E. Small
Paperback; 368 pages
Scott & Nix, Inc.; December 1, 2014
ISBN: 978-1935622482
$24.95

Birds of Australia Photographic GuideBirds of Australia: A Photographic Guide
by Iain Campbell, Sam Woods, and Nick Leseberg

From Princeton University Press:

Australia is home to a spectacular diversity of birdlife, from parrots and penguins to emus and vibrant passerines. Birds of Australia covers all 714 species of resident birds and regularly occurring migrants and features more than 1,100 stunning color photographs, including many photos of subspecies and plumage variations never before seen in a field guide. Detailed facing-page species accounts describe key identification features such as size, plumage, distribution, behavior, and voice. This one-of-a-kind guide also provides extensive habitat descriptions with a large number of accompanying photos. The text relies on the very latest IOC taxonomy and the distribution maps incorporate the most current mapping data, making this the most up-to-date guide to Australian birds.

  • Covers all 714 species of resident birds and regularly occurring migrants
  • Features more than 1,100 stunning color photos
  • Includes facing-page species accounts, habitat descriptions, and distribution maps
  • The ideal photographic guide for beginners and seasoned birders alike

 

A little big to carry into the field, but lots of nice photos make this an excellent photographic reference/secondary field guide for Australia.

 

Birds of Australia: A Photographic Guide
by Iain Campbell, Sam Woods, and Nick Leseberg
Paperback; 392 pages
Princeton University Press; November 9, 2014
ISBN: 978-0691157276
$35.00

When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife AdventurerWhen Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer
by James Alexander Currie, with Bonnie J. Fladung

From Ukhozi Press:

Follow the daring safari of James Currie as his love of birds, fascination with wildlife and craving for adventure lead him into humorous and life threatening situations. James captures the essence of what it means to be African today, facing everything from the Big Five to the vestiges of apartheid to the AIDS epidemic. He provides authoritative information on African wildlife and illustrates hair-raising encounters with lions, buffalo, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros and snakes through exciting and humorous stories. The book follows James’s journey from city boy to conservationist and shows what it takes to become an African game ranger. From his first graphic encounter with the brutality of nature on Table Mountain in South Africa to his disappearance as a boy on safari in Malawi to the rigorous training he underwent to become a game ranger at Phinda Private Game Reserve, this book will delight and educate anyone fascinated with nature, wildlife, travel and adventure. James provides wonderful insights into African conservation and a fascinating glimpse into the importance of cross-cultural relationships in Africa’s wildlife tourism environment. He details his own inner journey overcoming physical challenges and finding the balance between following passions and what’s important in life.

 

This memoir, from the host of Birding Adventures TV, is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

 

When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer
by James Alexander Currie, with Bonnie J. Fladung
Paperback; 312 pages
Ukhozi Press; September 27, 2014
ISBN: 978-0990766001
$15.95

Birds of New Guinea 2nd EditionBirds of New Guinea: Second Edition
by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce M. Beehler

From Princeton University Press:

This is the completely revised edition of the essential field guide to the birds of New Guinea. The world’s largest tropical island, New Guinea boasts a spectacular avifauna characterized by cassowaries, megapodes, pigeons, parrots, cuckoos, kingfishers, and owlet-nightjars, as well as an exceptionally diverse assemblage of songbirds such as the iconic birds of paradise and bowerbirds. Birds of New Guinea is the only guide to cover all 780 bird species reported in the area, including 366 endemics. Expanding its coverage with 111 vibrant color plates–twice as many as the first edition–and the addition of 635 range maps, the book also contains updated species accounts with new information about identification, voice, habits, and range. A must-have for everyone from ecotourists to field researchers, Birds of New Guinea remains an indispensable guide to the diverse birds of this remarkable region.

  • 780 bird species, including 366 found nowhere else
  • 111 stunning color plates, twice the number of the first edition
  • Expanded and updated species accounts provide details on identification, voice, habits, and range
  • 635 range maps
  • Revised classification of birds reflects the latest research

 

The first edition of this guide was published almost 30 years ago and, long out-of-print, was commanding big bucks. Needless to say, this new edition has been much anticipated. If you’re lucky enough to go birding in New Guinea, you’ll want this field guide.

 

Birds of New Guinea: Second Edition
by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce M. Beehler
Paperback; 528 pages
Princeton University Press; October 1, 2014
ISBN: 978-0691095639
$49.50

Birds of Western Africa 2nd EditionBirds of Western Africa: Second Edition
by Nik Borrow and Ron Demey

From Princeton University Press:

This revised and expanded edition of Birds of Western Africa is now the most up-to-date field guide available to the 1,285 species of birds found in the region–from Senegal and southern Mauritania east to Chad and the Central African Republic and south to Congo. It now features all maps and text opposite the plates for quick and easy reference. The comprehensive species accounts have been fully updated and expanded, and the color distribution maps have been completely revised. This premier guide also includes more than 3,000 illustrations on 266 stunning color plates.

Compact and lightweight, this new edition of Birds of Western Africa is the must-have field guide to one of the most exciting birding regions in the world.

  • The premier field guide to West African birds–now completely revised and expanded
  • Covers all 1,285 species found in the region
  • Features fully updated maps and text opposite the plates for easy reference

 

The timing of this new edition could be better – I doubt many birders are going to this region right now. Hopefully, this horrible Ebola outbreak will be over soon. And when it is, this looks like a good field guide to have for the region.

 

Birds of Western Africa: Second Edition
by Nik Borrow and Ron Demey
Paperback; 592 pages
Princeton University Press; October 26, 2014
ISBN: 978-0691159201
$45.00