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The Wind Birds: Shorebirds of North America Hardcover – Jun 1999

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Chapters Pub Ltd (Jun. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0844670162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0844670164
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm

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Product Description

From the Publisher

Bookwatch, "Fine natural history literature"; Whole Earth Review, "A classic of the literature...these loosely structured essays convey with deceptive ease nearly everything known about these birds." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Beauty, truth, and feathers. 16 Feb. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Now here is a beautifully written and true book about the tribes of shorebirds (plovers, sandpipers, and their kin). In a series of essays on the different aspects of bird structure and behavior (e.g., migration, flight, feeding, courtship), the author draws a complete picture of these wondrous birds. If you've ever stood on a beach and watched flocks of Sanderlings wheeling in unison, flashing alternately white and gray, and wondered about how they live their lives, then this is the book for you. Matthiessen is almost the only writer I know who can combine accurate science with a consistently interesting and limpid style.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Observable birds with many mysteries 30 Mar. 2005
By Gary Sprandel - Published on
Format: Paperback
Shorebirds are one of the most observable of birds, but also one where identification is a challenge and many mysteries remain. Peter Matthiessen engrossingly tells the life history of many of the North American species, including segmentation of habitat during the seasons, and wonders of migration. Along the way he introduces ecological principles as Bergman's Rule and evolutionary ideas of speciation (how did Western and Semipalmated sandpipers separate?).

Since the initial publishing of this book and the forward (in 1994), the optimism of recovery of species may be diminished, as many are declining. The illustrations are all well done, and Matthiessen introduces each chapter with literary quotes, such as Shakespeare's "sometimes I'll get the young scamels (bar-tailed godwit) from the rock". Readers of this would probably enjoy " The Flight of the Red Knot" by Brian Harrington and Charles Flowers.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
compendium of amazing facts 25 July 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
What makes this book difficult is that the author assumes a certain foreknowledge of the 20 or more species of shorebirds discussed. This makes is a bit like reading a text on anatomy without having any background. But even without, it is relatively easy reading once you get into it and just a cursory exsmination reveals some amazing facts and a great wealth of knowledge on the author's part: he will tell you why, for example, mammals are larger in the north and why chicken breast meat is white. There is also a wealth of data on the taxonomy, evolution, migration patterns--which are quite amazing--and other habits of numerous shorebirds, as well as the hunting to near extinction of some of them in the early 20th century and before. The author brings to his work a lifetime of world travel, also.
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