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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Field Guides and Reference Books

This is probably my favorite part of my house, besides maybe my bed. If there was ever a fire, THIS would be the "stuff" I'd try to rescue. I've been collecting these books mostly for the past several years, but some of them are childhood books. I'm lucky to have grown up with parents who love the outdoors just as much as I've turned out to. I have tons of field guides (Audobon, Peterson, Golden), various reference guides (Soil Science Simplified, Rock Hunters Guide, Take a Hike!), and I also store my old field journals in this bookshelf as well. For Christmas I received some AWESOME books that I am very excited to add to my collection. A couple of these I've seen professors carrying around, and the authors continuously pop up in literature and works cited. That means something to me.

If and when I move far away from New York, I'll really have to make some hard decisions about what to pack. Clothes and shoes?...or my books? Especially if I'm flying, that will be tough.

Anyway, now onto my *new* books...


Stokes Guide to Nature in Winter by Donald Stokes. I have used another Stokes book (Guide to Mammal Tracking and Behaviors) in a class I took. This January I'm taking Winter Ecology and the required reading is Winter World by Bernd Heinrich (this book deserves a post all of its own). Anyway, when I was on Amazon.com, this Stokes book was suggested to purchase. Since I like the Mammal Tracking book, I figured why not? So I bought it, but haven't had much opportunity to read it yet. The only thing I've noticed is that some of the scientific names are old, as it was published in 1976.

Next, A Field Guide to Mammal Tracking in North America by James C. Halfpenny. This is another one that was "suggested" to me by Amazon (thanks!). I have a guide to Rocky Mountain mammals by Halfpenny, and have heard good things about him, so I decided to ask for the book. It's small, flimsy, and contains all line drawings. But it's a reference guide and can be used to cross reference...I'm thinking mainly track patterns and sizes.
Now THIS book is the Bible of field guides/references. Mammal Tracks & Sign by Mark Elbroch is a big, thick, complete book of all North American mammals. The pictures are great, the information is great, and I just like Elbroch's writing. It's been helpful to me during my black bear study while trying to define stride, straddle, gait, and direct registering. If you're into wildlife and tracking, you should own this book.
This is the Bible for bird lovers. The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley is like the above: big, thick, and complete. Lot's of great hand drawn pictures in here of birds in different variations of plumage (m/f, seasonal, eclipse, etc), and the birds in flight or perched. I don't know very much about birds. I know common songbirds that visit the bird feeder, common raptors, and common waterfowl. Other than that...I don't know much. Unfortunately at my college, ornithology is not offered, so I will have to wait until I transfer to take it. But for now, I will go birding on my own and try to learn how to use the guide!
And the last one, Behavior of North American Mammals also by Mark Elbroch. I purchased this for reference. I am intrigued by specialized animal behaviors, and this book was just published this year, so I asked Santa for it :) It. Looks. Awesome! I hope I have some time to sit and read through this before my Winter Ecology class.
And that's all I have for this entry. Hopefully my next post is more exciting...I going to check my neglected camera traps on Saturday and it's been several weeks. Hopefully there are some interesting, photogenic critters on there! In the mean time...

Happy New Year!

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~Alyssa