1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Avian Survivors - The Biogeography of Palearctic Birds (Poyser Monographs) (Hardcover)
Despite having a small reservation about this book (of which more below), I have no hesitation in giving it five stars, as it is a mine of information for anyone with an interest in Palearctic birds.
Clive Finlayson presents the stimulating idea that the avifauna of the Palearctic became established in the `turbulent times' before the glaciations, and that those bird lineages that have persisted until the present day have done so by being able to survive `severe and rapid' periods of climate change. In support of his argument Finlayson presents a large amount of research and information that would otherwise remain obscure (at least to me), and in this respect Avian Survivors is worth owning for the Bibliography alone.
What, then, is my reservation? Well, in the book's introduction Finlayson mentions his admiration of R. E. Moreau's 1972 classic, The Palearctic-African Bird Migration Systems, justly noting that it is a model `of how to write science in a clear, concise and engaging way'. Unfortunately, this is a trick that to my mind Finlayson hasn't quite pulled off, for though the opening and closing chapters are fascinating, the middle section (chapters 4 to 18, which deal in turn with related groups of birds, beginning with shrikes, crows and orioles, and ending with wildfowl and gamebirds) are rather too heavy and repetitive to digest easily by reading in a systematic fashion. In fact, after a while I gave up and instead read the closing chapters before dipping back into the middle section to read about groups of birds that hold a particular interest for me.
But don't let the above caveat put you off. This book provides a fascinating insight into just how the avifauna of the Palearctic was shaped; it thoroughly deserves to be read and its content thought about.