In this wake-up call, Thomas advises readers that 9000 species of birds, all very different and in a range of habitats, are in danger. Ornithologists are looking into the factors affecting bird survival using various methods of monitoringbanding ,radio signals and using satellites, personal observation, and hidden camerasall of which provide a wealth of information. The book makes it clear that ordinary people can get involved and provides suggestions for those so inclined. While most of us know that pesticides have proven to be a major danger to birds (the peregrine falcon almost disappeared due to DDT), many may not know about the danger from shooting rangesbirds die after they swallow the lead pellets. Disease has also been a factor and many birds in Hawaii, which for a long time was an isolated ecosystem, have died out as new diseases were introduced for which they had no immunity. Efforts have been successful to preserve whooping cranes, condors, and the puaioki (Hawaiian bird). Information about individual involvement in conservation programs, a glossary, short bibliography, Internet sites, and an extensive index round out the book. 2000, Twenty-First Century Books, $23.90. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
Gr 5-8-This title begins with an overview of the importance of avian populations to the environment and the threats to their continued existence. Thomas then discusses specific types of rehabilitative or conservation efforts; methods of tracking species and populations, including volunteer bird documenting programs; and how studying the pathology of dead birds can lead to discovering potential health hazards and the illegal use of poisons. Breeding programs designed to rebuild a species, returning birds to the wild, and habitat-restoration programs are also examined. The text is highly readable; highlighted topic boxes add species information and other related data. Good-quality, color photographs are well integrated with text. Conservation efforts are covered in many books, but Thomas concentrates on conservation of a specific segment of the animal world. Suggestions for how readers can help, lists of volunteer programs, and informative Web sites round out this fine nature study.-Cynthia M. Sturgis, Ledding Library, Milwaukee, OR Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.