324 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, tables
Australian High Country Raptors covers raptor species that regularly breed in the high country above 600 metres, from Goulburn in New South Wales down to the hills outside Melbourne, Victoria. Author Jerry Olsen explores the nature of these striking animals that are classified as Accipitriformes (diurnal hawks, falcons, kites and eagles), Falconiformes and Strigiformes (nocturnal owls). Comparisons between these high country raptors and lower-elevation breeders are also provided, in addition to comparisons with raptors found overseas, especially from North America and Europe.
Australian High Country Raptors begins with a description of habitats and vegetation types in the high country, and which raptors are likely to be seen in each habitat type. It continues with sections on finding and watching raptors, raptor identification, hunting styles, food, breeding and behaviour, and conservation. Appendices provide species accounts for diurnal breeding species in the high country, with basic information about their ecology, distribution and conservation, as well as detailed instructions about handling an injured or orphaned raptor.
Illustrated throughout with photographs and drawings, Australian High Country Raptors offers readers a chance to look into the lives of Australia's fascinating birds of prey.
"[...] Much can be learned about Australian raptors, as raptor research down under is largely published in periodicals [...] The reader should be aware that checking the original texts is required (good practice anyway), as some research is biased (for some topics, like food, this is pointed out by the author) or does not allow the conclusions drawn [...] Many tables lack sample sizes, standard deviations and/or range of values, or are not properly captioned (tables and figures should be self-explanatory). Little science from beyond Australia is referred to, and if so, it is often antiquated or superseded. [...] General information on raptors in Australia is widely available (and could have been omitted here, to save space for specific studies). [...] Still, the book contains much to ponder about.[...]"
- Rob G. Bijlsma, Ibis 157(2), April 2015
"a pleasure to read, full of information, and highly relevant to anyone living on the Monaro"
- Nick Goldie, Cooma-Monaro Express, July 2014
Preface and acknowledgements
1. The High Country
2. Comparing Australian raptors to their Northern Hemisphere counterparts
3. Raptor habitats in the High Country
4. Basics of raptor identification
5. Watching raptors
6. Finding raptors
7. Designs for survival
8. Food and hunting
9. Eagles in the High Country
10. Peregrines in the High Country
11. Breeding and behaviour
12. Why are female raptors bigger than males?
13. Conserving High Country raptors
14. Giving care
Appendix 1 Diurnals
Appendix 2 Sick and injured raptors
Scientific names of raptors mentioned in the text
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Jerry Olsen has studied birds of prey for 44 years, in the United States, Canada and Australia and, with other researchers, published some 150 papers and articles and five books on raptors. He is a member of the Institute for Applied Ecology at the University of Canberra. In 2012 his book Australian High Country Owls received a Whitley Award commendation for vertebrate natural history.