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Raptors of New Mexico Hardcover – August 16, 2010
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From the Inside Flap
This beautifully illustrated study is the first book to focus on the birds of prey of New Mexico.
About the Author
Jean-Luc E. Cartron (M.D., 1991, University of Paris Val de Marne, France; and Ph.D., 1995, Biology, University of New Mexico) is a research assistant professor at UNM and the director of the Drylands Institute New Mexico office. He has written numerous articles on raptor ecology and is the editor of Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Conservation in Northern Mexico.
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Raptor enthusiasts and/or birders of the Southwest should be keen on buying this book. It is a large, thick, and heavy tome that provides a respectable account on each of the state's raptors. In case you're wondering, this is not an identification guide (many of those already exist); instead, this is a solid ornithological reference.
All 44 species of raptors that have been documented in New Mexico are shown in over 740 color photographs. For the 37 regular birds, each is shown with 10-31 photographs. For the 7 other vagrants, just 1-3 photos are given. These photos show the adult bird both perched and in flight as well with adult and juvenile plumages; they show the bird's nest, eggs, fledglings, or food; and, show the typical habitat in which the bird is found. The selection of photographs is extensive and of good quality. It should be pointed out that although they are good, not all of them will be -- nor are meant to be -- directly useful for identification. Instead, some photos show the bird at a slight distance, which exhibits how the bird is often observed in the field atop trees or power poles or sitting at the nest. These photographs range in size from 2x2 inches to nearly a full page.
The heart of this thick book is its text, which offers a mini-chapter of 10-26 pages on each of the 37 raptors regularly found in New Mexico. This well researched material provides a solid, thorough account of the bird. First, an extended description is given for the various plumages (e.g., male, female, adult, immature, phases) of each raptor. Considerably more text focuses on the distribution and habitats of the bird. Even more information covers the life history aspects such as migration, nesting, and diet. The bird's status and management within the state is nicely defined. Each bird's account is concluded with a useful, and sometimes long literature citation.
Accompanying many of the species are various graphs, charts, and tables that reflect data summaries of research on these birds. This information covers a wide array of topics such as yearly counts of active nests, frequency of prey species, annual Christmas Bird Count tallies, mapping of population trends, or territory occupancy in certain regions of the state. The amount of this data-oriented material varies considerably between birds. The more researched species such as the American Kestrel or the Golden Eagle have three tables/charts each while a total of only three tables/charts are included for all 13 of the owl species.
For each of the remaining 7 vagrant birds, about one page of text is provided. This gives a general account of the historical sightings, their locations and dates, a brief description of the bird, and some habitat notations. No maps accompany these vagrants.
For the regular raptors, a large map nearly a half-page in size shows the breeding, non-breeding (aka, winter), and year-round distributions. For those birds with prominent migrational movements through the state, arrows denote the direction of movements through specific corridors. For greater detail, the maps show county borders along with several of the major rivers.
As a last note, the beginning of the book consists of 51 pages dedicated to reviewing the flora zones and communities of the state; shows several maps to illustrate the flora zones; many photographs of the many habitat types in the state; migrational studies; and, other multiple maps, tables, and charts.
This is a wonderful reference that should be found in a raptor enthusiast's library. - (written by Jack at Avian Review / Avian Books, August 2010)
I've listed several related books below...
1) Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons of North America by Johnsgard
2) Life Histories of North American Birds of Prey (1&2) by Bent
3) Raptors of Western North America by Wheeler
4) Handbook of North American Birds: Volume 4 & 5 by Palmer
5) Owls of North America by Backhouse
6) A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors by Wheeler/Clark
7) The Raptors of Arizona by Glinski
8) Birds of Prey on the Colorado Plateau by Carothers
9) Birds of New Mexico by Bailey
10) Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Los Alamos County New Mexico by Travis et al.
As well as species accounts there are introductory chapters including one on raptor migration in NM [based in part on Hawkwatch International's multi-year studies near Albuquerque].
Oh and the book includes both diurnal and nocturnal raptors i.e. owls, in case you were wondering.