NEW BIRD BOOKS FOR PACIFIC N. W. BIRDERS
The Black Swift in Idaho and Biography of Earl Larrison, Pacific N.W. Naturalist
by J.W. Weber
Published by Buteo Books, 2731 Arrington Road, Arrington , VA 22922
25 pages - $5.00
Special Sale at Buteo Books (mention Allen Hale)
The above book plus Weber's other book, A Review of Birds of Washington" (Wahl et al 2005) and Supplement to Birds of of S.E. Washington (Weber and Larrison1977) is being offered for $9.00 (The original price of the latter book was $17.00)
Birds of the Pacific Northwest
A Photographic Guide
Tom Aversa, Richard Cannings, and Hal Opperman
Discover more than four hundred bird species in Birds of the Pacific Northwest-the quintessential regional guide for birding devotees at any level. Join renowned bird experts Tom Aversa, Richard Cannings, and Hal Opperman as they illuminate key identification traits, vocalizations, seasonal status, habitat preferences, and feeding behaviors. Full-page accounts of individual species include range maps and over nine hundred photographs by the region's top bird photographers.
This region is a well-defined biogeographic unit composed of three large ecoregions-the coastal rainforest, North America's northernmost deserts, and the northern/mid-Rockies to the east. Birds of the Pacific Northwest is your birding handbook for a vast region rich in refuges, protected sanctuaries, public parks, and raw wilderness-and its depth transcends any guidebook that has preceded it.
Tom Aversa is the coauthor of Birds of Southwestern British Columbia, Birds of the Puget Sound Region, and Birds of the Willamette Valley Region. He lives in Unity, Maine. Richard Cannings is a renowned naturalist, conservationist, and bird expert. He is the author of Birds of Interior BC and the Rockies, An Enchantment of Birds, and The Rockies: A Natural History, and is coauthor of Birds of Southwestern British Columbia and British Columbia: A Natural History. He lives in Penticton, BC, Canada. Hal Opperman is the principal author of A Birder's Guide to Washington and coauthor of Birds of Southwestern British Columbia, Birds of the Puget Sound Region, and Birds of the Willamette Valley Region. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
$28.95 paperback - Published: August 2016
It can be purchased from:
The Seattle Audubon Nature Shop
University of Washington Press
BOOKS REVIEWED AT OUR MEETINGS
Books Suzanne Marshall talked about in her progam "That Indomitable Hellcat" Rosalie Edge and the Founding of Hawk Mountain Raptor Sanctuary" on January 12, 2016 Tuesday
These books can all be bought through the Hawk Mountain website. The money goes to the Sanctuary that way.
Keith L. Bildstein - Migrating Raptors of the World: Their Ecology and Conservation
Dyana Z. Furmansky - Rosalie Edge: Hawk of Mercy
James Brett and Keith L. Bildstein - Hawk Mountain: A Conservation Success Story
Maurice Broun - Hawks Aloft: The Story of Hawk Mountain
Jim Wright - Hawk Mountain: The World's First Raptor Sanctuar
Lynn Sheridan Reviewed: "The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt" by Andrea Wulf
Andrea Wulf was born in India, moved to Germany as a child, and now lives in England.
Humboldt traveled to South America in 1800 on a Spanish ship, spending nearly 5 years exploring. Eventually he reached Mexico and the United States where he met Thomas Jefferson, who he admired.
Humboldt believed that all of nature was connected, similar in all countries and altitudes, and that it is animated by inward
Forces, especially volcanoes. Also, that the earth was not for man alone. When he saw forests destroyed and the over cultivation of crops, he predicted human induced climate change.
He made one more trip, to Siberia, which confirmed his theories. Altogether he wrote 34 books and brought 60,000 dried specimens back.
Charles Darwin met him, and admired him. He took several of Humboldt's books with him on the "Beagle" in 1831 to use as guides. Humboldt was so admired around the world that many countries named geographical places in his honor: rivers, waterfalls, lakes, mountain ranges, parks and streets. Also, almost 300 plants and more than 150 animals were named after him. He influenced many including Goethe, Wordsworth, Thoreau John Muir and Rachel Carson. The Author, Andrea Wulf, wanted the modern world to be aware of his accomplishments.
George Sayler Reviewed the Book: "Subirdia", by John Marzluff, with illustrations byJack Delap.
What is a person to do, especially when that person is a scientist, when he realizes he’s seen more bird species in New York’s Central Park than he did in Yellowstone Park? The answer is to investigate the phenomenon, and that is what Marzluff and his teams did. The result of these studies is Subirdia, a book that examines the impact of urbanization on birds and other wildlife. His work reached some surprising conclusions and offers some hopeful thoughts as well as some caution regarding the future of birds in urban and suburban environments.
Marzluff is the James W. Ridgeway Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington. He is the author or coauthor of more than 130 scientific papers and five books. His post-doctoral research focused on the social behavior and organization of birds, and he tries to bring this behavioral approach to conservation issues and urban ecology.
Subirdia provides a great deal of information on how specific species adapt to, or are hindered by life within human communities, and richly details the impact of our modern lifestyle on the health and welfare of birds and other mammals. Urban habitat, though not usually seen as wildlife habitat, nonetheless provides food, water and shelter for a rich diversity of birds and other wildlife. How these new urban habitats impact birds, other than providing their basic needs, is a main theme of the book. Marzluff adopted the classification of urban birds into three catagories: avoiders, adapters, and exploiters. Avoiders are those species of birds that are extinguished or decline sharply as urbanization intensifies. Adapters are mainly native species that adapt well to the new urban environment, and exploiters are species that thrive there. Much of the book is devoted to explaining why some species do well, others just get by, and others decline. It makes for interesting reading, and leaves you with a sense of hope for our urban birds.
Not all is well though, and Marzluff expresses concern that urban development must occur in a thoughtful manner. One of his concerns is that there is too much homogenous development, and that a diverse landscape must be maintained for a variety of species will be supported. He shares a number of other concerns as well, and offers antidotes in his 10 Principles of Conservation. He wrote: “To persist animals must be able to live, move, and breed among the habitats we provide.” He then explains his 10 principles, beginning with “Do not covet your neighbor’s lawn and keep you cat indoors!
His passion for the natural world is revealed in his 10th commandment, which is: “Enjoy and bond with nature where you live work and play.” He expressed it as a golden rule: “Do unto the land, and the natural web of life it sustains, as you would have the land do unto you”, or more simply, Love thy wild neighbor!
For anyone concerned about or interested in the fate of birds and other wildlife in our urban world, or who wants to know more about the specific ways birds adapt to urbanization, Subirdia is a worthwhile read.
Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer. Peter P. Marra and Chris Santella. Princeton University Press.
Reviewed by Julie Zickefoose (see Newsletter November 2016\
Note: An important topic – something cat lovers (of which I’m one but currently have only 2 dogs)
need to learn more about and consider keeping their cats indoors) - Shirley
It’s not often that the word “important” floats up as a descriptor for a new book, but Cat Wars amply qualifies; in its treatment of a subject nobody wants to embrace, this fast-paced, gritty and occasionally terrifying book could sit comfortably on the shelf beside Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Ornithologist Peter Marra, director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, plunks study after scientific study on the table, while popular writer Chris Santella, author of the Fifty Places series, pulls back for the long view, then zooms in with anecdote, constantly changing both scene and topic. The resulting narrative pulls the reader in like a cat to a laser pointer.
The wake-up call to conservationists and cat owners alike began in 1989 with Stanley Temple and John Coleman’s University of Wisconsin study, which attempted to quantify the number of birds killed by free-ranging rural cats in that state. Through direct observation of radio-collared cats, fecal analysis, and analysis of stomach contents of live-trapped (unharmed) cats, they established what their subjects were eating: primarily small mammals and birds. Using extremely conservative modeling, Temple and Coleman determined that at least 7.8 million birds die annually at the claws of cats in the state of Wisconsin alone. Subsequent studies by others refined the counts of cats as well as birds, taking aim at a nationwide figure. Even with the charitable guess that only one in ten free-roaming cats takes a bird per day, ornithologist Rich Stallcup arrived at the estimate of 4.4 million birds per day, or over one billion birds taken annually by owned cats in the United States. In his analysis, Stallcup didn’t even address the problem of feral cats, which is likely much larger.
“Along the California coast it is common to see 10 to 15 during a day’s outing (and these are nocturnal animals.) Certainly, there are many million, country wide. What do they eat? Wildlife. Nothing but wildlife.”
Scott Loss and colleagues used two independent pet owner surveys to come up with a mean figure of 84 million owned cats in the U.S. as of 2013. Using eight independent studies, Loss was able to estimate that more than half of these are allowed outdoors, and about two-thirds of those animals hunt. An additional 60-100 million unowned cats likely roam the nation, and every one of them hunts to survive. Median estimates of the yearly national toll on wildlife run to 2.4 billion birds per year, 12.3 billion mammals, around 200 million amphibians and more than 600 million reptiles. This study points at cats as responsible for more bird deaths than all other anthropogenic (wind turbines, window collisions, car collisions, pesticides) factors combined. These figures, sickening as they are, are conservative. They do not, as cat enthusiasts claim, represent a subjective, emotional vendetta against cats. Nor would any scientist deny that habitat loss is a major factor in rapidly declining songbird populations. Direct mortality from cats is real, and it is preventable. This book sounds an alarm too long silent.
Cat Wars could serve as a textbook for its clear explanations of subjects such as the processes of extinction, island biogeography, and population modeling, as cat impacts on wildlife are discussed. But the book hits its stride in illuminating the rarely discussed and truly terrifying role of domestic cats as vectors for
zoonotic disease in humans. What more perfect vehicle could zoonotic diseases employ than an animal that kills and eats sickly wildlife, then defecates around and inside human homes?Black plague, carried by rodent fleas, but now thought to spread through aerosol transmission, killed one third of Europe’s population, starting in China the 1300’s. It’s still present in eight western states, infecting small rodents, the cats who eat them, and (rarely) the people who own those cats.
Far more common, and now taking hold in managed feral cat colonies in Maryland and elsewhere, is rabies. The baffling double standard where dogs and cats are concerned is here thrown into sharp relief. Dogs are registered, licensed, confined with fencing and leash; vaccinated yearly, and annual U.S. cases of rabies in dogs had dropped to 59 in 2014--a 34% decrease from 2013. Cats, on the other hand, roam freely; are not licensed and are often unvaccinated; and 272 rabid cats were reported nationwide in 2014, a 10 % increase from the 247 reported in 2013 (CDC data). While people managing colonies with TNR (trap-neuter-release) vaccinate the cats against rabies on first capturing them, cats are clever. Once caught, a cat will very rarely enter a trap again, meaning they do not receive rabies boosters. About 13,000 post-exposure rabies treatments are given annually in the U.S. due to cat exposures, which is approximately 1/3 of all rabies exposures (Gerhold and Jessup, 2012). Black plague and rabies are rare. There is a cat-specific parasite which is extremely common; which finds its way into soil and drinking water; which works in silent, seemingly calculated concert with rodents, cats, and humans alike, and has been recently found to have public health implications undreamt of. Toxoplasma gondii reproduces wildly in the digestive tracts of felines and is shed in oocysts in their feces; most people recall warnings that pregnant women should not clean cat boxes, as the parasite can cause birth defects in people. Rodents pick the oocysts up through contact with contaminated soil and water. And from here, it gets stranger and stranger. Controlled experiments with Toxoplasma-infected rats have shown that the parasite alters the limbic regions of their brains such that the rodents lose their fear of cats, and the smell of cat urine, which repels them when they’re healthy, becomes irresistible. Seeking out cat urine, of course, helps ensure that the parasite-laden rodents end up in the guts of cats, where T. gondii reproduces and is shed in feces to start the cycle again. Most disturbing are findings that people are similarly affected by toxoplasmosis. It is the most common parasitic infection in humans, affecting up to 22 percent of the U.S. population. Outdoor cats defecating in children’s sandboxes and the loose garden soil and mulch around homes present a concentrated risk of human and cat infection. Even more insidiously, the hardy cysts of Toxoplasma can persist for years, finding their way into streams, rivers and marine environments, as well as drinking water. Toxoplasmosis kills endangered monk seals in Hawaiian waters; sea otters and seals elsewhere.
Recent studies have shown that humans bearing Toxoplasma antibodies show some of the same behavioral changes as rodents, including decreased anxiety and an attraction to the smell of cat urine. If you actually like that smell, having more and more cats around you is a good thing. Along with these changes come a stringer of others, including tendencies toward severe depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even schizophrenia.
Toxoplasma-positive individuals were 2.7 times
that they are more likely to develop schizophrenia than uninfected people. Wait. 22% of the U.S. population is Toxoplasma-positive??
In the face if scientific evidence that cats take a shocking toll on wildlife: that they are frighteningly efficient vectors of zoonotic diseases, some of them real doozies, it is puzzling that society has turned a blind eye to the impact of their largely unregulated, unchallenged, omnipresence in our ecosystems. Cats kept indoors for life are vastly less likely to come into contact with diseased animals, and transmit disease to their owners. They don’t kill birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and are safe from cars, dogs, fights with other cats, and persecution by people who take exception to their presence. Indoors, they are graceful, loving, amusing pets. Left free to roam they are, collectively, a disaster for already-struggling songbird and small vertebrate populations.
A strong and vocal segment of the population lobbies for the “rights” of feral cats, such that municipalities nationwide have been convinced to sanction the maintenance of cat colonies in their midst. Over and over, TNR (trap-neuter-release) has been shown not to reduce cat numbers, but rather to provide obvious dumping places for unwanted pets, which go on taking prey as cats naturally do, subsidized with food and shelter or not. Yet, because it is presented to municipalities as a solution, however imperfect, for addressing the feral cat problem, TNR is endorsed, as a less politically repugnant option than advocating the removal of the animals once and for all. Cat Wars gives cat lovers and pro-cat lobbyists a chance to be heard, profiling several devoted colony caretakers who work tirelessly to feed, water and care for street cats, and give them the best lives possible under the circumstances. It is clear that, along with the belief that free-roaming cats have a place in communities, goes denial at their real impact. The most vocal cat advocates hold the "right" of this domestic species to live free and kill wildlife above any concern for affected wildlife, and stridently question the validity of the studies cited.
Calling any work--no matter how exhaustive, careful or conservative--that counters their conviction "junk science" is a defensive pose that looks all too familiar to scientists and citizens speaking out, for example, about climate change.
Ironically, it is a microbe—Toxoplasma gondii—which has been predicted to “dethrone” malaria as the protozooan most dangerous to humans—that may hold the key to changing hearts and minds. In the end, the multiple public health threats that roaming cats present look to be the only force that could propel any real initiative to reduce free-ranging cat populations. Cat Wars gathers together an ironclad case for action over emotion; for a turnabout in public policy that in many municipalities literally supports the perpetuation of an introduced domestic predator of dwindling native wildlife; for an overhaul of the lassiez-faire attitude of more than half of America’s cat owners. If we would have cats in our midst, we must learn to keep them inside, for they create nothing but havoc—and countless more cats--when they slip out the door.
If you'd like to do something about all this, please send donations to American Bird Conservancy, whose Cats Indoors educational campaign is the most effective I've seen. You can donate here. You can purchase Cat Wars Amazon. And pay no mind to the stack of one-star "reviews" from cat enthusiasts who haven't read the book. They flooded in before it was even released. Read the five-star reviews now rolling in, then get your hands on this book! It's a beautifully constructed and paced page-turner...I literally couldn't put it down.
Thank you. Julie on NPR (from her blog)