Best Bird Book of 2015. The Birdbooker Report, by Ian Paulsen

Source: http://birdbookerreport.blogspot.com/2015/12/best-bird-books-of-2015.html


The following are my picks for the best bird books of 2015:

HONORABLE MENTION:

 
Winkler, David W., Shawn M. Billerman, and Irby J. Lovette. Bird Families of the World: An Invitation to the Spectacular Diversity of Birds. 2015. Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 599 pages. Price: about $94.00 U.S.
 
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Here in one volume is a synopsis of the diversity of all birds. Scheduled for publication in 2015, between the two volumes of the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, this volume distills the voluminous detail of the 17-volume Handbook of Birds of the World into a single book. Based on the latest systematic research and summarizing what is known about the life history and biology of each group, this volume will be the best single-volume entry to avian diversity available. Whether you are a birder with an interest in global bird diversity, or a professional ornithologist wishing to update and fill-in your comprehensive knowledge of avian diversity, this volume will be a valuable addition to your library.
     An interest in birds is a life-enriching pursuit; the sheer diversity of birds means there are always stunning new species to see and novel facets of their lives to explore. Yet the grand diversity of birds is also a challenge, as it is easy to become disoriented amidst a group that contains more than 10,000 species that vary in nearly all of their most conspicuous attributes. Learning avian diversity requires a mental map to help us organize our experiences and observations. The scientific classification of birds provides exactly this framework, grouping together into Orders and Families birds that are most closely related to one another, and thereby linking species that share distinguishing traits. For those interested in learning about the tremendous diversity of birds world-wide, the best way to start is to learn the families, and this volume is a guide and invitation to do so.
     This book has been designed to serve both as a text for ornithology courses and as a resource for serious bird enthusiasts of all levels. Technical terminology is much reduced, and all scientific terms used are defined in a glossary. Introductory material describes the scope and concepts behind the classification used and gives suggestions about how best to use the book. The bulk of the volume is a family-by-family account of the birds of the world. For each family there is a distribution map with the breeding, non-breeding and year-round ranges of each family, a short text “teaser” to invite the reader to learn more, standardized descriptions of the appearance, relationships and similar species to each family’s members, their life history and conservation status. Each account includes a review of recent ideas about the relationships of the family to other families and relationships within it. The work is liberally illustrated by photographs from bird enthusiasts around the globe as well as paintings of one species from each of the genera in each family. It will be a beautiful and serviceable guide.
 
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated overview to bird families. Would be a useful companion volume to the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World set.
 
Ian Paulsen