From Publishers Weekly
Each spring, millions of orioles, tanagers, thrushes, warblers and other songbirds travel thousands of miles from the tropics to their summer breeding grounds as far north as the boreal forests of Canada and in the fall return to their southern wintering grounds. Navigating by the stars, magnetic fields and polarized light patterns invisible to humans, the birds make their amazing journeys at night, flying in huge flocks that most of us never see. In this captivating debut, Chu, an ornithologist at Cornell, conveys the wonder of these migrations, following the birds through all four seasons and chronicling the efforts of scientists to track them with technology and their own ingenuity—trekking to distant locales, some even following, in cars and airplanes, individual birds outfitted with transmitters. Their heroic efforts are important, Chu points out, for only by understanding where the birds go can we learn how to preserve their habitats. To engage the general public in these efforts, she includes information on the best places to observe migrating birds and provides lists of citizen-science projects and resources for amateurs birders who want to contribute to the growing base of knowledge about bird migration. 8 pages of color illus. not seen by PW
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*Starred Review* The wonder of bird migration has puzzled humans for centuries. Literally millions of birds all over the world make seasonal movements to and from their breeding grounds, some traveling a short distance while others fly thousands of miles. Our most familiar birds are the songbirds, whom we know well while they visit during the breeding season. But what is known about their lives during the majority of the year, when they are either traveling or on their wintering grounds? Chu, an ornithologist and science writer for the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, has written an impressive introduction to the study of birds on the move. Following the birds through the four seasons, she begins with spring as birds leave the shores of the Yucatan Peninsula for a nonstop flight across the Gulf of Mexico. Summer finds birds busily nesting and feeding young on the abundant food resources that are the ultimate reason for their migration. In autumn the reverse of the spring migration occurs, albeit more protracted as individual species finish breeding and go. In winter the birds have reinserted themselves into their off-season habitat, where they interact with an entirely different group of species from their summer neighbors. Chu examines the science of studying migration and peppers the text with anecdotes from field researchers. Each seasonal section ends with a list of hot spots for observing the birds in that phase of the cycle. Nancy BentCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved