|The second edition of "Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds" is a detailed reference for 670 bird species.|
|The newly released "Rare Birds of North America" is an illustrated guide to vagrant birds.|
It’s the perfect time of year to pick up a copy of “Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds,” by Paul J. Baicich & Colin J. O. Harrison. Princeton University Press just released the second edition of this detailed reference on the breeding behavior and biology of the nesting birds on our continent.
If you’ve ever had a question about the type of nest built by a certain species, the number of eggs laid, or how long the babies will remain in the nest, this book will give you the answer.
Even casual birders may find this book handy. Say you’ve seen a pair of California towhees hopping around your back yard and you’re wondering if they might nest in your shrubs. According to Baicich and Harrison, this species begins breeding in mid-April. The female builds a loosely constructed nest using twigs, weeds, grasses and hair in dense shrubs or small trees.
The authors say that the female generally lays four bluish, creamy white eggs and incubates them for 14 days without help from the male. They also state that both parents tend the young as nestlings, and that babies fledge at about 10 days but stay with the parents for 4-6 weeks.
The book covers such details for 670 bird species and includes color illustrations of the eggs and selected nestlings.
Serious birders who would like to understand migration and vagrancy (birds outside of their typical boundaries) might appreciate another new reference from Princeton University Press. “Rare Birds of North America,” by Steve N.G. Howell, Ian Lewington and Will Russell is being touted as the first comprehensive illustrated guide to the vagrant birds that occur throughout the United States and Canada.
It describes 262 detailed species accounts, including the Xantus's Hummingbird, a vagrant to Southern California. The book includes color plates of each species, along with tips for identification.
These books are available at nathist.princeton.edu and amazon.com.