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Atlas of Rare Birds [Hardcover]

Dominic Couzens

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Book Description

25 Aug 2010
A guide to some of the rarest birds in existence, brought together by the maps showing where in the world you can find them. The book will focus on 50 captivating stories of the very rare, including remarkable discoveries of species new to science, rediscoveries of species not seen for centuries and 'back from the brink of extinction' successes like Seychelles Magpie-Robin and California Condor. Each species has its own mini-chapter and the book will be broken down into key groups of species, with the five most amazing tales of island endemics, five most bizarre cases of a bird becoming threatened, and so on. This will be an accessible, readable and visually appealing take on a serious subject of threatened birds and possible extinctions - a topic that is constantly in the news due to increasing concerns over climate change and habitat destruction. The atlas format shows the global nature of the problem and brings together the many strands of the concerted bird conservation effort that is taking place on every continent. It also lends and element of accessibility to the reader as many of the species featured can be watched on birding tours these days.

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"It does an excellent job of providing cogent and impassioned explanations of many of the factors determining rarity" -- BBC Wildlife Magazine, September 2010

"Authoritatively written by one of our best writers on birds, with fascinating maps" --The Independent, September 2010

"A pleasure to read it cover to cover, or to use as a 'dipping' book for relaxing moments... highly recommended" -- Birds magazine, October 2010

"This book would make a nice gift for birders"
-- Birdbooker Report, October 2010

"...the chatty, engaging but information-packed style we've come to expect from Couzens"
-- Bird Watching magazine, November 2010

"gripping stories of how - through a combination of ignorance, greed and incompetence - we have allowed more than one in eight of the world's bird species to become threatened with extinction".
--The Guardian, December 2010

"This fascinating book is about why many birds are disappearing from our planet. The bird chapters read like thrillers - always exciting, sometimes mysterious or very sad (the Hawaiian po'ouli or the Indian vultures). Couzens is a master writer and the book is impossible to put down. I read Atlas of Rare Birds cover to cover - undoubtedly the best bird and conservation book I've read for years." --Forest and Bird Magazine, May 2011

About the Author

Dominic Couzens is a full-time ornithologist based in Ferndown, Dorset. He has regular columns in BBC Wildlife and Bird Watching magazines. He is co-author of the best selling CD series Teach Yourself Bird Sounds and has written a number of books, including Bird Migration and Top 100 Birding Sites of the World, for New Holland.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Striking, Poignant Guide to Rare Birds! 18 Feb 2011
By Michael OConnor - Published on Amazon.com
Dominic Couzens' guide to 50 of the rarest birds of the world is as stunning photographically as it is saddening psychologically. The reader is treated to page after page of marvelous images of rarely-seen ducks, condors, mockingbirds, warbler, falcons, sandpipers, doves and macaws, over 200 pix in all. The accompanying text often reveals many of those lovely creatures are threatened with extinction, never to be seen and enjoyed again. The reader cannot help but be affected by this absorbing MIT Press/BirdLife International 2010 release.

Couzins divides his topic into ten categories/chapters that emphasize different aspects of bird extinction: 'Back from the Brink,' 'Perils of Island Living,' 'Threats in Many Guises,' 'Unexpected Calamities,' 'Lost Causes,' 'Controversies,' 'Rediscoveries' and so on. As brought out in these chapters, many factors make bird conservation difficult - sensitive habitat, size of habitat, economic conditions of the country where the species resides, the trade-off between human and bird interests, etc. Difficulties only increase with migrating birds.

Each chapter makes for enlightening reading. The first chapter,'Back from the Brink,' for example, relates the success achieved in attempts to bring a particular species back using surviving examples. Species covered include the California Condor, Kakpo, Laysan Duck, Seychelles Magpie-Robin and Crested Ibis. Each bird gets a four-page spread with several color photographs and a color map. Couzin relates that species' history, recounting causes of decline, efforts to build up the population, future prospects, etc.

The 'Threats in Many Disguises' chapter may be the most fascinating of all as it deals with some really unusual threats faced by birds such as the Tristan Albatross (giant mice), Black-eared Miner (mating with Yellow-throated Miners), Montserrat Oriole (hurricanes/volcanos), Houbara Bustard (falconer poachers) and Colourful Puffleg (loss of habitat).

The final chapter - 'The Pending Tray' - is the most poignant, covering, as it does, species that may be out there or not! Most of the illustrations in this chapter - covering Long-Whiskered Owlets, Night Parrots, Pink-headed Ducks, White-eyed River Martins and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers - are drawings or black-and-white photographs, indicating the MIA status of those birds.

In summary, ATLAS OF RARE BIRDS is a rara avis itself, equal parts inspiration and despair. It is a stunning tribute to some of God's most beautiful and fragile creatures and a definite call to action. Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! 20 May 2013
By Judy Joerger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I never realized there were that many rare birds. I was also nice to read about the birds I knew and learn more.
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