Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm-Petrels of North America: A Photographic Guideby Steve N. G. Howell
Petrels, albatrosses, and storm-petrels are among the most beautiful yet least known of all the world's birds, living their lives at sea far from the sight of most people. Largely colored in shades of gray, black, and white, these enigmatic and fast-flying seabirds can be hard to differentiate, particularly from a moving boat. Useful worldwide, not just in North
Petrels, albatrosses, and storm-petrels are among the most beautiful yet least known of all the world's birds, living their lives at sea far from the sight of most people. Largely colored in shades of gray, black, and white, these enigmatic and fast-flying seabirds can be hard to differentiate, particularly from a moving boat. Useful worldwide, not just in North America, this photographic guide is based on unrivaled field experience and combines insightful text and hundreds of full-color images to help you identify these remarkable birds.
The first book of its kind, this guide features an introduction that explains ocean habitats and the latest developments in taxonomy. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features such as flight manner, plumage variation related to age and molt, seasonal occurrence patterns, and migration routes. Species accounts are arranged into groups helpful for field identification, and an overview of unique identification challenges is provided for each group. The guide also includes distribution maps for regularly occurring species as well as a bibliography, glossary, and appendixes.
- The first state-of-the-art photographic guide to these enigmatic seabirds
- Includes hundreds of full-color photos throughout
- Features detailed species accounts that describe flight, plumage, distribution, and more
- Provides overviews of ocean habitats, taxonomy, and conservation
- Offers tips on how to observe and identify birds at sea
Short Version: If you bird on or near the ocean, buy this book and read it. Slightly Longer Version: Steve Howell's guide to petrels (including shearwaters), albatrosses, and storm-petrels is a must-have resource for anyone who aspires to identify birds on the open ocean.
This is a field guide because of its attention to bird identification, a reference because of its rich detail and copious citations, and a coffee table book because it is biggish, hard covered, and pretty. . . . If you plan on adding any number of tubenoses to your life list as a birder, you need two things. 1) This book; and 2) Dramamine. Oh, and a boat. Happy birding!
Kate St. John
Lee G R Evans
Russell B. Wynn
Howell has done a tremendous job throughout this book in evoking a sense of ocean exploration and discovery through seabirds and I think that he succeeds admirably in his goal of synthesizing the present knowledge of tubenose identification.
Howell's introduction is perhaps the most critical and useful piece of writing at the fore of any bird guide in the past few decades because, before this, so little was written on what it means to be able to identify pelagic birds. Howell explains in great detail concepts like 'wing-loading' and how it pertains to the different species flight styles. He breaks down dynamic soaring, the process by which so many tubenoses get around the oceans. He illustrates, clearly and concisely in simple line drawings, the flight manners of several species of shearwater in both calm and strong winds. He even explains how to orient yourself on the boat relative to the wind to best take advantage of passing birds. It's truly a treasure chest full of incredible information, none of it self-evident, on best experiencing the open ocean. . . . Howell, a man who is truly fluent in tubenose, has produced the something essential here. I could not possibly recommend it more enthusiastically.
Seasoned pelagic veterans and landlocked birders alike will have tons to learn about North American tubenoses from this book and I know it will offer enjoyment to anyone interested in wild birds! The bottom line: This is a must-have title for any serious North American birder--get it!
This book has incredible information and lots of maps, and although the title suggests it is a guide for North America, trust me, it is so comprehensive, it can be used anywhere in the world!
This book stands alone as the single most up-to-date, relevant and comprehensive reference guide to the tubenoses of North America on the market, and as it covers virtually half the world's seabirds, it will probably be of use to virtually every birder in the world, although clearly a keen seabirder on either coast of North America will end up wearing their copy out sooner! At $45.00 this is a screaming bargain. At double the price it would be a justifiable expense for any serious birder, but as it sits now, I would think anybody who is interested enough in birds to be reading this right now on Surfbirds has to ask themselves if they can afford NOT to buy this book. An instant classic and a book unlikely to be surpassed in the next several decades.
An essential tool to help readers get their eye in for their next pelagic trip. But even if you're not going down to the sea in boats, Petrels, in its sophistication of approach and exemplary detail, may well be the most useful book you read this year.
If the sea and its specialized birds draw you to them, you'll love the treasure trove of seabird identification tips and extensive taxonomy treatments found in this scholarly, and weighty, volume. If you want to know the status, distribution, and identification of all the Procellariiformes from Panama to the Arctic, including all vagrants, then this highly anticipated book won't disappoint. If you are interested in the latest Taxonomy then this book is for you. If you are planning your next pelagic trip to the Gulf Stream in order to search for Cape Verde or Desertas Petrels or taking a cruise off western Mexico in the hopes of spotting Ainley's or Townsend's Storm-Petrels then this is a 'must-have' book.
"Tubenoses, the collective name for the birds that are the subject of this guide, live and thrive in a challenging environment, the open ocean. Equally challenging is the task of identifying these birds. From the deck of a pitching boat, looking at distant birds that usually are basic black, white, and gray, the typical bird watcher would find the task of identifying these species to be almost impossible. This is no longer the case. The arrival of this photographic guide, with excellent images contributed by some of the most experienced, skillful seabird photographers, makes that task much less daunting. . . . This book will be in the library of every serious bird watcher and will be used for many years to come."--Choice
"This is a great book and a 'must have' for the serious birder who enjoys pelagic birding. . . . Birders with the desire to build a big life list know there will be pelagic trips in their future. Petrels, Albatrosses & Storm-Petrels of North America is just the book for that type of birder."--Fritz Brock, Wildlife Activist
"Howell opens the book by offering a great chapter that will benefit any seabird enthusiast . . . cycles. This chapter will prove invaluable to both the novice and expert alike, as it takes one back to the basics. . . . I liked the book very much. It is user friendly and informative and will be a valuable asset to the serious sea bird enthusiast."--Geoffrey Carpentier, Ontario Birding News
"The author's knowledge and love of his subject are reflected in a superb book, which will hopefully inspire more people to get out on the oceans, learn about these magnificent birds and contribute to their conservation. . . . Anyone with an interest in seabirds will want to buy it and then start planning their next pelagic!"--John Martin, British Birds
"A must have for pelagic birders! This title is an early contender for my 'Birdbooker's Best Bird Book for 2012!'"--Ian Paulsen, Guardian
"[T]his is a top-quality product that successfully captures our growing knowledge and interest in pelagic seabirds. It is an essential purchase for anyone going pelagic birding in the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans, and I would also recommend it to seabird enthusiasts restricted to European coasts due to the comprehensive coverage of many northeast Atlantic species. [I]t represents excellent value-for-money, so buy a copy, pack it with your binoculars and ginger biscuits, and get out there!"--Russell B. Wynn, Royal Navy Birdwatching Society Newsletter
"This is a reference book, not a field guide. But it is a very comprehensive and helpful introduction to birds that might be seen on pelagic trips off either the East or West Coast of North America. . . . This is a good book for professional ornithologists or amateurs committed to studying tubenose species."--Mark Lystig, Trumpeter
"I can honestly say this book has not only changed my mind about photographic guides, I believe it sets a benchmark and standard that other titles and authors should follow. This is an outstanding work and should sit on the bookshelf of every keen sea-watcher."--Hugh Harrop, Seabird
"I congratulate Steve Howell on casting so many petrel pearls before seabird enthusiasts."--M. de L. Brooke, Ibis
"I highly recommend both versions of this book: clothbound or electronic. The eBook version is by far the best electronic version of a field guide for birds that I have ever used. And lest you are concerned that the text will be dry and boring, check out the section under each species entitled 'Names'. These bits of trivia are so entertaining that even if one never has the opportunity to take a pelagic trip, the book is worth whatever it costs."--Douglas Chapman, South Dakota Ornithologist Newsletter
"This book is the product of a lifetime of fieldwork by the principal author and his collaborators. Howell's love for pelagic birding is apparent and he communicates that enthusiasm with clearly written sections describing plumages and behavior and accompanied by photographs illustrating all the important field marks and many of their variations. The book is a real tour de force and will be the standard of the realm for a great many years. I strongly recommend its inclusion in the library of any serious student of birds."--Robert Ake, Raven
"With 975 quality color photographs and 66 maps plus lengthy text accounts, this is another Howell tour de force. An indispensable guide to these pelagic species that visit our coasts."--Library Journal
With 975 quality color photographs and 66 maps plus lengthy text accounts, this is another Howell tour de force. An indispensable guide to these pelagic species that visit our coasts.
- Princeton University Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 7.50(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.70(d)
Meet the Author
Steve N. G. Howell is an acclaimed field ornithologist and writer. He is an international bird tour leader with WINGS and a research associate at PRBO Conservation Science in California. His books include the "Peterson Reference Guide to Molt in North American Birds" and "Hummingbirds of North America" (Princeton).
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