A guide to Observation, Understanding and Conservation by Scott Leslie, Key Porter Books
Forty per cent of North America (or about 1.5 billion acres) is covered by forests and woodlands. This includes the enormous swath of boreal forest in the North, the great deciduous woodlands of the Eastern temperate zone through to the stunning north-western coastal forests. In this guide, naturalist and photographer Scott Leslie covers most of the 100 commoner species from birds of prey, through to flycatchers and warblers that birders will encounter in the North American woodlands. Each species account provides details of appearance, behaviour, migration strategies, habitat, conservation concerns and range maps plus other useful information. The book also contains some 200 stunning images from Scott. The book also features essays on the ecology of woodland birds and a guide to selected woodland birding areas throughout North America.
Scott Leslie is an award-winning photographer, naturalist and writer who lives in Nova Scotia.
Depending on the scale used and how narrowly we define them, there are over 100 kinds of woodland ecosystems in North America. There are nearly 700 species of trees in Canada and the United States (coincidentally, about the same number of birds species also inhabit the continent) from small shrubs to giant sequoia. The forests of no two regions are identical and except where geographical barriers such as mountain ranges, prairies and deserts exist, there is a continuous morphing of one forest type into another. The diversity of species in general decreases from south to north and from sea level to high altitudes as temperatures influence the amount of food available to support the biological community.
Of the 650 bird species that breed in North America today; almost one-third are declining, many of them dependent upon woodlands. Though the year-round resident species are holding their own quite well, migratory birds are dwindling.
There are 92 species accounts in this book. Each account features photographs of and range maps for each species. For some of the more threatened species a conservation status map is also included derived from NatureServe.Org.
Birders wanting an identification guide to the woodland birds of North America will appreciate the publication of this beautifully photographed book. Our woodlands and woodland-dependent birds are under threat from a litany of human-induced challenges beyond anything they have experienced before. The future of our North American birdlife is literally in our hands. Scott should be congratulated for bringing the challenges to our attention in such a wonderfully lavish guide.
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Review by Martin Birch