Birds in Winter

Today marks the winter solstice—happy winter (and bird-watching)!

Birds in winter: surviving the most challenging season

Pasquier, Roger F. illustrations by Margaret La Farge Princeton, 2019
304p bibl index, 9780691178554 $29.95, 9780691195438

Pasquier (American Museum of Natural History) is well known as the coauthor of Masterpieces of Bird Art: 700 Years of Ornithological Illustration (Abbeville, 1991) and several other titles. Here, he masterfully summarizes the relevant world scientific literature, extracting data from more than 640 publications. Providing abundant, carefully mined information on bird migration, physiology, social organization, and conservation, he also details the effects of climate change on bird behavior, diet, and distribution. Pasquier goes well beyond what readers might expect to find concerning adaptation to winter in Canada and the US, also going into detail about what birds who “winter” in the Neotropics face there. There is so much information in each sentence of this remarkable book that the prose is quite dense, albeit extremely illuminating. La Farge’s 78 attractive line drawings enhance Pasquier’s text, which also includes occasional maps. In what is evidently the first monograph focusing on this subject, Pasquier describes the latest results from studies of satellite tracking and other high-end technologies for following birds. An admirable treasure trove and summation of what is known about wintering birds for all biologists, climatologists, birders, ecologists, environmentalists, and conservationists.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.
H. T. Armistead, formerly, Free Library of Philadelphia
Subject: Science & Technology – Biology – Zoology
Choice Issue: Feb 2020