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Ducks, Geese, and Swans [Anglais] [Relié]

Janet Kear

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

A book that would be a welcome edition to any serious wildfowlers bookshelf. (Biologist, Jean Wilson, Vol 53, 5)

It is a joy to open a book of this quality, whose scholarship is matched by its handsome presentation and stunning illustrations. The London Naturalist, No.84, 2005

These volumes provide an excellent introduction to wildfowl families of the world and would provide sound reference material for both student and enthusiast, captivating the reader with fine illustrations and well-written material

Bird books don't come any better than this: The sweep of knowledge and the confidence and clarity of the exposition cannot fail to give pleasure. (James Fleming, The Spectator)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Wildfowl and screamers belong to a highly diverse family of birds, confined to watery habitats. They are amongst the most attractive of birds and are very well-known to man, who has domesticated them, used their feathers for warm clothing and ornamentation, admired their flight, courtship and migration, caught them for food, maintained them in captivity for pleasure, and written about their doings in delightful children's stories, from Mother Goose to Jemima Puddleduck and Donald Duck. They occur throughout the world except Antarctica. Some are faithful to the same partner for life, others for only the few minutes of copulation. In some species, male and female make devoted parents, and yet there is one within the group whose female lays her eggs in the nests of others and never incubates. Diving as a method of obtaining food has evolved many times within the family. Most nest in the open but others in the tree-hole nests of woodpeckers and some in the ground burrows of rabbits or aardvarks. They may be highly social or solitary, defending a large territory. Ducks, Geese and Swans begins with eight chapters giving an overview of the family, their taxonomy and evolution, feeding ecology, breeding strategies, social behaviour, movements and migrations, population dynamics, and conservation and management, followed by accounts of 165 species, written by a team of expert wildfowl specialists, describing each bird in its natural state and summarizing the published literature and recent research. Complementing the accounts are thirty specially commissioned colour plates by Mark Hulme, along with numerous black and white drawings illustrating behaviours, plus distribution maps for each species.

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Amazon.com: 3.0 étoiles sur 5  3 commentaires
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Not Much for Price 22 octobre 2005
Par Steven Mlodinow - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
It was with great anticipation that I received the rather expensive (~280$)two volume "Ducks, Geese, and Swans" published by Oxford Univ Press as part of their Bird Families of the World series.

Seeing the Canada and Cackling Goose standing next to each other on the cover of vol. 1 only heightened my glee.

Alas.

The first couple hundred pages offer a nice overview of waterfowl biology. I have yet to read this section in its entirety, but I could not find a reference to a potentially interesting topic in waterfowl biology: that is, the default plumage is male. So, a bird lacking sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone) will look more like a male than a female. Females low on estrogen will look like odd males, perhaps prompting the report of hybrids, and have been loosely termed "intersex ducks" in birding circles. Anyway, this point, perhaps somewhat

trivial but of some potential importance to field ID, seems to have been omitted.

Much more important to most everyone reading this are the species accounts and how well they cover ID, distribution, and subspecies.

The short answer is horrid, okay, and highly variable.

Identification (examples):

Looking at wigeon, the discussion of ID of adults is extremely basic (not better than the old Golden Guide) and for immatures, states that "both sexes [of American] appear much like immature Eurasian Wigeon." Lots of help there. They do manage to spend almost as much time telling you how to separate American

Wigeon from Chiloe Wigeon, however, as "escaped birds often occur." Though no mention of Eurasian x American Wigeon is made, we are warned about hybrids with Chiloes. Indeed, a great fault re: ID is that mention of hybrids is rarely made, and for some ID quandaries, such as wigeon, awareness of these and their

appearance is critical.

Another example: Under scaup, head color and wing stripe are emphasized. A brief and misleading reference to head and bill shape differences is made. And so on. The illustrations are pretty, but not terribly useful re: ID. Some chicks are shown, but only for a few species.

Distribution:

The maps are often incorrect. A quick thumbing through the book revealed that Barrow's Goldeneye is shown as wintering in the lower Great Lakes, where they are vagrants, whereas Lesser Scaup are not shown wintering in the interior anywhere (and they are not rare on the Great Lakes, except when frozen). Barrow's Goldeneye are shown as being resident in the High Cascades, where they breed but would freeze to death during winter but are not shown as wintering on Washington's n. Olympic Coast, where common. Long-tailed Ducks, apparently, don't winter s. of central Vancouver Island, but Black Scoters winter all the way into Mexico. For some species, such as RB Merg, a "Polar View" is used for the map, making the bird's precise range difficult to interpret; in any case, it certainly is shown in broad strokes when compared with species limited to one continent, where an attempt is made to show the range in great detail.

Then there is the peculiar selection of terms for these maps: "Migrant breeding" and "Migrant non-breeding." The use of "migrant" is baffling for these labels mean "breeding" and "wintering" respectively. I realize that ducks do move about during the "winter" or "resting" season depending on open water

and other factors, and there's the issue of whose winter (n. hemisphere vs s. hemisphere) one's talking about. However, the use of "migrant" is extremely misleading because the ranges NEVER display migration range, which is left undepicted in all maps.

The text offers a better description of ranges, sometimes not

containing the same errors shown in the maps. And the text gives valuable info on population levels, sometimes in great detail (though to some extent this can be obtained from Wetlands International's "Waterfowl Population Estimates" -- an excellent tome recommended to all). So, for population issues, these books are quite useful. However, range errors exist here, too. The wintering of Black Scoter to Mexico is repeated. And, they mention the regular occurrence of Eur Wigeon in North America, but state that it is particularly numerous in the Aleutians and Mexico. Yes, Mexico. I guess we've been missing the large flocks in Baja.

Subspecies

In the Brant account, subspecific range and numbers is extremely well covered, including "Gray-bellied Brant." Also, the author notes that "Lawrence's Brant" may not be GB Brant at all, but a now extirpated darker e. North American population of Brant. However, the account gives little help on ID of these races.

The Canada Goose account is a disaster. Canada and Cackling aren't split, though the AOUs decision is alluded to. No where does this account suggest which races will be put with which species. A vague attempt at discussing subspecific ID is made, so much so as to make one wonder why they wasted the space. The maps are a hodgepodge of Fish and Wildlife Service defined "populations" (which contain several races) to specific maps for several (Aleutian, minima, Dusky). A map labelled "Lesser" I suspect contains parvipes and taverneri

ranges, though the text earlier defines these as separate subspecies. In any case, if you are interested in Canada and Cackling Goose racial ID and range, this book is nearly worthless. The BNA account, which is several years old, is far

better. For that matter, so is Bellrose's book and Johnsgard's from the 1970s (or is it early 80s -- too lazy to get up and drag down the volumes).

On the other hand, the discussion of range and subspecific ID on Common Eider is far more detailed and useful, probably exceeding that which can be obtained from most other sources.

As for food, displays, breeding and life cycle, much of this is interesting, but outside of any area of expertise I have. For some species, a detailed account of molt cycle is given, which is quite nice, but for many species this information is not provided.

In reality, for North America, access to the BNA accounts and Sibley (especially if you can access Dave himself :o) will do you far more good than this extremely expensive set. For outside North America, there are many sources which would easily replace this set, depending on where you're going; and in many respects, the much less-expensive Madge and Burn book on Waterfowl is equal or superior.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 A let down but worth adding to your library collection 30 avril 2006
Par Jack C. Eitniear - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
With great anticipation I glanced through a copy of this two vol. tome.

I believe only two libraries in all of Texas have purchased the book.

The book gets mixed reviews. I believe its better than the outdated

Johnsgard. More time contacting regional biologist and going through the journals would have made the book better. Many species have information only as current as the late 1980s.

I consider the book a required addition to anyone's library if one is serious about waterfowl (other than the species in the United States where the BNA series and the soon to be released Bellrose would be better) but suggest you wait a year and purchase a used copy. It simply is not worth the current price
0 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 ....better flurry! 29 septembre 2005
Par Dr. Austin T. Carty - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Geese and ducks and hens better flurry. This elegant (and expensive) two volums tome contains all you would ever need to know about geese, ducks and swans. The prose style is so easy to read that you are lured away from your original enquiry most seductively. Illustrations magnificent
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