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Until now there has been no single, comprehensive resource on the status of North America's most threatened birds and what people can do to help protect them.
Birder's Conservation Handbook is the only book of its kind, written specifically to help birders and researchers understand the threats while providing actions to protect birds and their habitats. Jeffrey Wells has distilled vast amounts of essential information into a single easy-to-use volume-required reading for anyone who loves birds and wants to ensure they are protected. At-a-glance species accounts cover in detail North America's one hundred most at-risk birds; each account is beautifully illustrated by today's top bird artists. The text includes status, distribution, ecology, threats, conservation actions and needs, and references. A distribution map accompanies each entry. Chapters discuss birds as indicators of environmental health, the state of North American bird populations, major conservation issues, and initiatives now underway to improve the health of North America's birds.
Birder's Conservation Handbook is an indispensable resource for birdwatchers, researchers, naturalists, and conservationists. Reading it will inspire you to become an active steward of our birds and the habitats we share. This is a comprehensive guide to North America's one hundred most at-risk birds and how to protect them. It is compact and easy to use, with illustrations and data organized for convenient, at-a-glance reference. It has detailed species accounts, including distribution maps, practical advice on conservation, information on leading conservation agencies, and resources.
Foreword by John W. Fitzpatrick ix
Scope and Purpose 1
Birds as Indicators 5
The State of North American Bird
Major Conservation Issues Affecting
North America's Birds 18
The State of Bird Conservation in North
America and Beyond 33
What You Can Do 42
Emperor Goose (Chen canagica) 47
Brant (Branta bernicla) 49
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) 53
American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) 56
Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula) 59
Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri) 62
Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri) 65
Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) 68
Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus minimus) 72
"Blue" Grouse, including Dusky (Dendragapus obscurus) and Sooty Grouse (Dendragapus fuliginosus) 75
Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido) 79
Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) 83
Montezuma Quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae) 86
Yellow-billed Loon (Gavia adamsii) 89
Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) 91
Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes) 94
Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus) 96
Bermuda Petrel (Pterodroma cahow) 99
Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasitata) 102
Pink-footed Shearwater (Puffinus creatopus) 104
Black-vented Shearwater (Puffinus opisthomelas) 106
Ashy Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa) 108
Black Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma melania) 110
Least Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma microsoma) 113
Red-faced Cormorant (Phalacrocorax urile) 116
California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) 118
Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) 121
Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis) 125
Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis) 129
Whooping Crane (Grus americana) 133
American Golden-Plover (Pluvialis dominica) 137
Pacific Golden-Plover (Pluvialis fulva) 142
Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) 145
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) 149
Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus) 154
Eskimo Curlew (Numenius borealis) 159
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) 163
Bristle-thighed Curlew (Numenius tahitiensis) 169
Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) 172
Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) 176
Surfbird (Aphriza virgata) 180
Red Knot (Calidris canutus) 183
Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis) 188
Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus) 193
American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) 199
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) 203
Heermann's Gull (Larus heermanni) 208
Red-legged Kittiwake (Rissa brevirostris) 211
Elegant Tern (Thalasseus elegans) 214
Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) 217
Kittlitz's Murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) 221
Xantus's Murrelet (Synthliboramphus hypoleucus) 224
Craveri's Murrelet (Synthliboramphus craveri) 227
White-crowned Pigeon (Patagioenas leucocephala) 229
Green Parakeet (Aratinga holochlora) 232
Thick-billed Parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha) 236
Red-crowned Parrot (Amazona viridigenalis) 240
Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis) 244
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) 248
Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) 251
Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) 255
Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) 259
Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) 262
Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii) 267
Black-capped Vireo (Vireo atricapillus) 271
Gray Vireo (Vireo vicinior) 274
Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) 277
Island Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma insularis) 280
Pinyon Jay (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) 282
Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla) 284
California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica) 287
Bicknell's Thrush (Catharus bicknelli) 290
Bendire's Thrasher (Toxostoma bendirei) 293
Sprague's Pipit (Anthus spragueii) 296
Bachman's Warbler (Vermivora bachmanii) 299
Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) 303
Virginia's Warbler (Vermivora virginiae) 306
Colima Warbler (Vermivora crissalis) 308
Lucy's Warbler (Vermivora luciae) 310
Golden-cheeked Warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) 312
Grace's Warbler (Dendroica graciae) 315
Kirtland's Warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii) 318
Prairie Warbler (Dendroica discolor) 321
Bay-breasted Warbler (Dendroica castanea) 325
Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea) 329
Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) 333
Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum) 337
Swainson's Warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii) 341
Kentucky Warbler (Oporornis formosus) 344
Canada Warbler (Wilsonia canadensis) 347
Bachman's Sparrow (Aimophila aestivalis) 352
Brewer's Sparrow (Spizella breweri) 355
Baird's Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii) 359
Henslow's Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii) 362
Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus) 366
Harris's Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula) 369
McKay's Bunting (Plectrophenax hyperboreus) 373
Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) 375
Tricolored Blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) 378
Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) 381
Appendix I. North American Birds of Conservation Concern Listed by Different Agencies and
Appendix II. Hawaiian Birds of Conservation Concern and Extinct Species 421
Appendix III. Mexican Government Official List of Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern
Bird Species 424
Appendix IV. Agencies and Organizations Involved in Bird Conservation 431
Illustration Credits 437
Jeffrey V. Wells is senior scientist for the Boreal Songbird Initiative, visiting fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and former director of bird conservation for the National Audubon Society. A nationally acclaimed bird expert and conservation biologist, he is widely published in both academic and popular settings and is the author of Important Bird Areas in New York State.
"Invaluable to conservation groups, and a unique resource for birders, this handbook is a critical contribution in the struggle to protect birds. It is also an eye-opener that every North American birder should have. We ought to know how a species is faring just as well as we know its field marks."
- Grant McCreary (19-12-2008), read the full review at The Birder's Library
"In addition to the species account and useful tips, Wells' book includes useful information on the status of many other species in the continental United States as well as Hawaii and Mexico, lists of environmental organizations and other useful links. This is a book you will want to use often. It is a welcome addition to bird conservation literature."
– Tom Palmer, Lakeland Ledger
"An important summary of the state of bird conservation in North America [...] A reader-friendly and outstanding resource to bird conservation activity that could serve as a benchmark for many years to come. We strongly recommend this title."
– Birding Community E-Bulletin
"If you love birds and birding, get this book [...] The Birder's Conservation Handbook should prove to be a valuable guide to us all toward a future where birds continue to be abundant and a source of inspiration to our society."
– Mark S. Garland, Tigrina Times
"A no-nonsense guide to declining bird populations and what can be done to reverse their slide."
– Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times
"A great resource for anyone interested in making a difference in the future of the continent's imperiled bird life."
– Lexington Herald Leader
"A fine and needed reference."
– Gerry Rising, Buffalo News
"A considerable amount of information about the perils facing some of our feathered friends, including the emperor goose, yellow-billed loon and rusty blackbird. Some may say conservation is for the birds, but would the world really be a better place without the elegance of the trumpeter swan?"
– John Mark Eberhart, Kansas City Star
"[Wells] argues against gloom. New initiatives for saving wetlands or curbing energy benefit birds, and Wells calls for greener living as a vital act of bird conservation. He supports the theme by working through his list in a format that echoes a field guide. Each species gets an account packed with details of what's known about its problems and what conservationists are doing."
– Science News
"There is no other book specifically aimed at informing birders and researchers of threats to birds with suggestions of conservation actions to protect birds and their habitats. Highly recommended."
– Nancy Cannon, Booklist
"Birder's Conservation Handbook is chockablock full of information on 100 of North America's most vulnerable birds, and the references to back up their reported status."
– Noreen O'Brien, Maine Coast Now
"This book details the conservation status of the 100 most threatened bird species in North America. Each concise account provides essential information on status and conservation, ecology, threats, conservation action, and conservation needs. This book is a valuable contribution to conservation literature, and one hopes it will find a wide readership."
– J.C. Kricher, Choice
"A good summary of the biology and conservation status for 100 North American birds at risk. It also offers information on what we can do to lessen that risk."
– Jim Williams, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"This book details the status of 100 of North America's rarest and most interesting birds. Each species receives two to six pages of authoritative and fully referenced text detailing its status and conservation needs, plus a line-drawing and detailed distribution map. This is both a vital conservation document and a fascinating book to dip into."
– Steve Gantlett, Birding World
"This book is a major contribution to North American bird conservation. It should be in the libraries of serious birders, ornithologists, conservation and wildlife biologists, naturalists, and wildlife photographers. Academic and larger public libraries also will want to add the book to their collections. Most highly recommended."
– International Hawkwatcher
"This book presents both an overview of bird conservation in North America and a clear game plan for each species, and gives birder¹s hope that their own grandchildren will be able to enjoy the abundance and diversity birds that we have the privilege of seeing today. The prognosis is not good, however, unless drastic changes are made in our resource consumption, pesticide use, and basic priorities. What is good for birds is good for people, and the proverbial canary in the coal mine does hold true. This book is a fundamental resource for birders and ornithologists, and should be owned by just about anyone."
– Bridget J. M. Stutchbury, Journal of Field Ornithology
"I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in bird and habitat conservation."
– Rob Warnock, Blue Jay
"Conservation professionals and birders will find this to be a valuable resource."
– C.R., Southeastern Naturalist
"Ordinary people need to get involved. Birder's Conservation Handbook provides the details for what is needed for these at risk species. Buy it. Read it. And put the knowledge to good use."
– Wildlife Activist
"The author has succeeded in producing a useful guide to some of the most threatened bird species in North America while at the same time providing specific recommendations for action and suggestions on how to become involved in the effort to protect this great natural resource."
– Charles F. Thompson, Ibis
"This is an extremely useful and informative, if rather depressing, book and I would recommend it on those grounds alone."
– Eva Durance, Journal of the British Columbia Field Ornithologists
"Everyone who cares about birds should have a copy of this handbook. It goes beyond lists to explain exactly why the most threatened of North America's birds are at risk – and what every birder can do to make a positive difference. The fate of many of these birds is tied to issues that span continents, and even hemispheres: activities in faraway places are often crucial to their survival. This book highlights the international bird conservation work underway to help North America's at-risk species, giving the wider perspective that is so often overlooked. Readable, fascinating, and practical, it deserves a place beside your favorite field guide."
– Leon Bennun, BirdLife International
"This is truly a bird guide for the new millennium. Jeff Wells has given us a resource that gives us a more realistic and three-dimensional view of bird life. In this book we can see the birds as part of a bigger picture that includes their environment – and we can see that the picture includes us as well, with our responsibility for ensuring the survival of the birds that we all enjoy."
– Kenn Kaufman, author of Kingbird Highway
"At last ornithologists, birders, and conservation planners have between two covers an exhaustive and invaluable storehouse of information about the status of bird conservation in North America. Along with one hundred carefully chosen and exhaustively documented species accounts about birds at risk, the author has produced an outstanding overview and resource to bird conservation activity that should serve as a benchmark for many years to come."
– Wayne R. Petersen, coauthor of Birds of New England and Birds of Massachusetts
"Simply admiring birds isn't enough-birders everywhere need to be actively engaged in preserving them, and Birder's Conservation Handbook gives them the knowledge and the tools to do just that. Jeff Wells has done a remarkable job of assembling the most up-to-date information on one hundred of North America's most imperiled species, and of providing a road map for how the average birder can work for their protection. This book is a gold mine."
– Scott Weidensaul, author of Of a Feather and Living on the Wind
"This is an excellent book. It is well written and effectively organized, and the scholarship is very sound. The combination of an excellent general overview of North American bird conservation with detailed species accounts will greatly enhance birders' and non-birders' understanding and appreciation of conservation science."
– David Haskell, University of the South
"The Birder's Conservation Handbook is a gold mine of information on North America's rarest and most vulnerable birds. No other book provides as much information on the threats to each species, the conservation measures that have been taken thus far, and the steps that still need to be taken to ensure the well-being of these birds. I highly recommend it."
– David Wilcove, Princeton University
"An invaluable resource for birders and concerned citizens, giving us the cold hard facts on the alarming decline in dozens of species of birds and what is being done to save our beloved birds."
– Bridget Stutchbury, author of Silence of the Songbirds