The Concho Valley in Texas, named from the abundant mussel shells found in its principal river by seventeenth-century Spanish explorers, occupies a transitional position between the Chihuahuan Desert to the west and the Balcones Canyonlands to the east. As veteran field biologist and educator Terry C. Maxwell notes, the region has experienced wide-ranging changes in the makeup of its vertebrate populations, especially in the decades since farming and ranching began here in earnest, in the mid- to late 1800s.
In Wildlife of the Concho Valley, Maxwell provides the first comprehensive summary of the animal life in this undercovered region of the state of Texas, which also happens to be his home territory. Uniquely qualified after a lifetime of study and field work, Maxwell places the region in its biogeographic context and then charts the history of vertebrate investigation there from the seventeenth century to the present. Following this ecological and historical perspective are accounts of all the fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals reliably known by zoologists and naturalists to have occurred in the Concho Valley over the past 150 years. The species accounts include Latin and English names; distribution and abundance status; remarks, where the author elaborates on habitat preference, behavior, and other aspects of natural history; specimens reported; and subspecies and synonyms.
Wildlife of the Concho Valley of traditional natural history is liberally illustrated with Maxwell's own drawings, photographs, and maps.
Terry C. Maxwell, an award-winning teacher whose stature as an ornithologist is recognized statewide, is professor and curator of birds in the department of biology at Angelo State University in San Angelo.
"Terry Maxwell is as close as there is to the 'holistic' naturalist; that is, he has broad interest across a wide variety of natural history topics. Such is the case in this book on the Concho river valley. Terry presents an historical synopsis of changes in habitat and species composition that few modern regional books encompass. He's a pretty fair artist as well!"
– Keith Arnold, Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M University
"This is the most important original and comprehensive regional study yet to appear of the interesting Concho Valley region of western Texas. Terry Maxwell is one of the few Texas naturalists with the breadth of knowledge to write about all of the wildlife of this region – from fishes to mammals. He writes about the Concho Valley with the love and understanding of a place where he grew up as a boy and worked throughout his professional career. This book constitutes an important reference for anyone interested in Texas natural history."
– David J. Schmidly, Texas naturalist and former president, Texas Tech University, Oklahoma State University, and University of New Mexico
"I was delighted to receive a copy of the just published Wildlife of the Concho Valley by Dr. Terry Maxwell [...] As the title implies, it covers the occurrence of all of the vertebrates from that region of our state. This 10+ county area is a real mixing pot with an interesting conglomeration of species. It addition it is beautifully illustrated with Dr. Maxwell's origin pin and ink drawings. If consider yourself a naturalist interested in the natural history of Texas, book was written for you."
– Mark Lockwood, author of Basic Texas Birds