Both biologists, the Snyders (he wrote Parrots of Luquillo ) have devoted much of their lives to observing avian behavior from hidden posts the world over. Here, in textbook tone, they offer descriptions, field notes, conservation updates, color photographs and habitat maps of 34 North American meat-eating species, known as raptors, excluding only those nocturnal hunters, the owls. Field notes describing the endangered California condor, now living in captivity, are particularly revealing, as are observations on the turkey vulture's keen sense of smell and the Everglade kite's dependence on the Florida apple snail. The authors' remarkable research and their aim of encouraging raptor conservation are ill served by the dry presentation of their material, the uneven quality of photographs and workmanlike cartography. (Nov.)
The Snyders have interwoven their extensive field observations with the studies of other researchers in this survey of day-hunting raptors. Emphasizing ecological relationships and natural behavior, they present a dynamic picture of each bird in its habitat. The Snyders also address environmental survival threats along with possible solutions. Intentionally omitted technical data may send some to encyclopedic sources such as Paul A. Johnsgard's Hawks, Eagles, & Falcons of North America ( LJ 10/15/90). With excellent color photographs, this is an appealing package for both browser and bird enthusiast.-- Frank Reiser, Nassau Community Coll., Garden City, N.Y.