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Hawaiian Birds Sea: Na Manu Kai (Latitude 20 Books (Paperback)) Paperback – December 4, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert J. Shallenberger is a conservation biologist who shares his passion for wildlife through his photography. He is currently the Hawai'i Island Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy and vice president of the Hawai'i Wildlife Center. His photographs have appeared in several books and magazines, such as National Geographic, Audubon, National Wildlife, and Defenders.
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Product Details

  • Series: Latitude 20 Books (Paperback)
  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press; 1 edition (December 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824834038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824834036
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.2 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,073,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This softcover book features Hawaii's Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Petrels, Storm-Petrels, Tropic Birds, Boobies, Frigatebirds, Terns, and Noddies. The text is simple to understand, talks about the cultural significance of seabirds to the early Polynesians, discusses conservation efforts, has suggestions on how best to observe these birds, should you be fortunate enough to encounter them, and even gives basic photographic tips. The beautiful photos probably have been taken over the author's lifetime of studying these birds and give the reader pause to consider the thin thread by which these species cling to existence due to a variety of challenges posed to them by humankind.
Anyone who has an interest in Hawaii's seabirds would enjoy this book. It has been my experience, as a collector of Hawaiian books that they often go out of print rather quickly, so get a copy while you can.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
THE BASICS:
softcover; 136 good color photographs show 23 seabird species found in Hawaii; 1-2 general paragraphs provide information description and natural history for each bird; a few brief chapters address birds in the Hawaiian culture, on conservation, and on photo tips

THE REVIEW:
This is a small version of what may be categorized as a coffee-table book. The primary intent of this book is to display nice photographs of Hawaii's seabirds while also offering a general overview of the bird's natural history background.

Each bird receives its own mini-chapter of 2-4 pages that includes 3-6 good color photographs. The birds are typically shown in flight or nesting on the ground. The larger sizes of many of the photos - which can take up a full page of this oblong 9x10-inch book - make them even more appealing. Using a landscape format page worked to the advantage of the photographer being able to show off a better photograph. Additional photos are peppered throughout the book showing the habitat, the ocean, conservation efforts, bird-related history, and a few other animals of the region. Some of the animals include the Hawaiian Monk Seal, Green Sea Turtle, Spinner Dolphin, and one photo each of the endemic Nihoa Millerbird and the Laysan Finch.

The 1-2 pages of text that accompanies each bird offer a general description of the bird along with notes on its natural history. These notes discuss the bird's breeding, nesting, and feeding behaviors. Although the information is not extensive, it still gives the casual birder a nice introduction and overview of the bird.

Three other short chapters (2-4 pages each) talk about the role of seabirds in Hawaiian culture and about the conservation efforts necessary for many of the species.
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Format: Paperback
Dr. Shallenberger is THE expert on Hawaiian seabirds, and has spent many years of his life dedicated to their preservation, including years working for the US Fish and Wildlife service in the pacific region. Over the years, he has cataloged his unique experiences with his camera, and is now sharing them with us. It's a larger paperback book; about 8.5 x 11 inches, and that mean there's room for some really nice full-page photographs. The book is arranged by the three large orders of seabirds, and then breaks them further down into families from there, resulting in effective, easy-to-use organization. At the end there are a couple chapters on conservation and the cultural aspects of the birdlife, followed by some tips on watching the birds, and bird photography.

This is not by any means a field guide; it's a book meant to showcase Dr. Shallenberger's photography, which it does very well. It can be used as a reference, but it's certainly a book you will want to keep at home.

Each species gets the full treatment, with 3-5 photos per bird, all of them very good and professional. The natural history of the bird is also told, with occasional ID tips. Dr. Shallenberger also includes various anecdotes from his vast experience, which are always informative and frequently quite funny.

In summary, I'd recommend this book for anyone with a special interest in seabirds or the wildlife of Hawaii. For those interested in books more related to bird ID I'd recommend the following:

A Photographic Guide to Birds of Hawaii, by Jim Denny
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Format: Paperback
I ran across this book by accident, looking for material about Hawai'i. It's a short book, a fast read, and the photographs are the main feature. They are technically excellent and overall range from very good to superb. Many photos depict hatchlings and fledglings, and some are really, really cute.

One point the book makes is that Hawai'i does not end with the main islands (it's thought that a couple once had a few inhabitants), but continue on as far as Midway. This includes Niihoa, Laysan, Ni'ihau, the Lisianskis, French Frigate Shoals, Gardner Pinnacles and more. They are all part of Hawai'i, if not visited much. Some of these birds are quite rare on the main islands. Some of the areas are now refuges for birds, and all the islands have been damaged by human action, especially killing huge numbers of birds for feathers a hundred years ago and from World War 2. Rats accidentally introduced by the Navy have been a serious problem. Several shots show some of the islands and give the reader a sense of how small and isolated these places are.

The text accompanying the photos is rather good. One section could have been longer to be more useful, a short section titled "The Cultural Connection."
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