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Birds of Central America

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Old Monday 8th October 2018, 15:16   #1
Desertlark
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Birds of Central America

I may have missed it but haven't seen any reference to this new book by Princeton University Press....

Birds of Central America;Belize,Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

I have no idea how to post a link, perhaps someone could help me out here but its now apparently in stock from NHBS for 31.99 (see website)

Cheers

Grahame
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Old Monday 8th October 2018, 15:58   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desertlark View Post
I may have missed it but haven't seen any reference to this new book by Princeton University Press....

Birds of Central America;Belize,Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

I have no idea how to post a link, perhaps someone could help me out here but its now apparently in stock from NHBS for 31.99 (see website)

Cheers

Grahame
Not quite sure what your question is?
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Old Monday 8th October 2018, 17:26   #3
Fritz73
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https://press.princeton.edu/titles/13253.html
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Old Monday 8th October 2018, 17:50   #4
Andrew Whitehouse
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Looks like a very good book - probably the best for the region.

Just a note to the OP that if you want to post a link just copy the address and paste it into your post. It should get turned into a link automatically.
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Old Monday 8th October 2018, 18:35   #5
Desertlark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
Not quite sure what your question is?
Probably because it wasn't a question.............

Anyway thanks to Fritz73 for the link.

G
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Old Monday 8th October 2018, 18:52   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desertlark View Post
Probably because it wasn't a question.............

Anyway thanks to Fritz73 for the link.

G
So when you say you've seen no reference to it but know that NHBS were stocking it, what did you want to know?

A bit too early for reviews though an American poster reported having already received his last week. The book has been mentioned a few times in at least one book thread.

Sample pages here.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Birds-Centr...merica+vallely
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Old Monday 8th October 2018, 22:24   #7
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I agree it looks like a decent alternative if you want to cover the entire area between Mexico and Colombia. What I do not understand on this book, and especially for the Fagan and Komar book that covers the northern half of this area is that they did not include coverage of the Yucatan Peninsula (defined as the three easternmost states in Mexico).

Niels
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Old Tuesday 9th October 2018, 09:01   #8
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Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
I agree it looks like a decent alternative if you want to cover the entire area between Mexico and Colombia. What I do not understand on this book, and especially for the Fagan and Komar book that covers the northern half of this area is that they did not include coverage of the Yucatan Peninsula (defined as the three easternmost states in Mexico).

Niels
I suppose they have to draw the line somewhere Niels but I see your point.

The book covers whole countries, including Yucatan would be just a fragment of Mexico which is already covered. I don't think that including it, would make it the book to buy if you were going to the Yucatan?

It's hard to decide which is best for birders, single country guides that may get used just once by a visitor or a regional guide which has the potential for multiple usages so those who don't want to amass a ton of books, would by the regional guide.
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Old Tuesday 9th October 2018, 09:08   #9
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Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
So when you say you've seen no reference to it but know that NHBS were stocking it, what did you want to know?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Birds-Centr...merica+vallely
he/she [Edit - presumably a he given the name Grahame!] didn't want to know anything, was just furnishing the rest of us with some information....

James

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Old Tuesday 9th October 2018, 10:08   #10
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he/she didn't want to know anything, was just furnishing the rest of us with some information....

James
My error then.
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Old Tuesday 9th October 2018, 10:47   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desertlark View Post
I may have missed it but haven't seen any reference to this new book by Princeton University Press....

Birds of Central America;Belize,Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

I have no idea how to post a link, perhaps someone could help me out here but its now apparently in stock from NHBS for 31.99 (see website)

Cheers

Grahame
The book had not yet got its own thread, but it was in the sticky thread up top https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...=232445&page=4 beginning with post #79.

It's good we now have such a thread to discuss details.
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Old Tuesday 9th October 2018, 10:49   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
.....A bit too early for reviews though an American poster reported having already received his last week. .
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Birds-Centr...merica+vallely
Mine was dispatched yesterday.
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Old Tuesday 9th October 2018, 10:56   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
I agree it looks like a decent alternative if you want to cover the entire area between Mexico and Colombia. What I do not understand on this book, and especially for the Fagan and Komar book that covers the northern half of this area is that they did not include coverage of the Yucatan Peninsula (defined as the three easternmost states in Mexico).

Niels
I agree, both the "Peterson" and this new book stick too strictly to country borders here. Taking along the hefty "Howell and Webb" just to cover the few missing species is not an attractive option after these compact books have become available.
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Old Thursday 11th October 2018, 18:24   #14
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My copy arrived this afternoon, and I am impressed by the illustrations (by a single artist, Dale Dyer), which are better than in any of the other regional guides, and by the succinct text and maps. I like the hummingbird plates, as they show the birds as seen in the field and not always as the brilliantly coloured jewels elsewhere illustrated - although, as a fully paid-up dinosaur, it took time to reconcile the hummingbirds coming before the rails and crakes (happily, there are fast indexes on the front and back flaps). The species accounts include sections on ID (more distinctive features being shown in italics), Habits, Voice, and Geographical Variation; local identifiable geographical variants (the author declining to use subspecies) are included on the plates. As for use in the field, you "pays yer money and takes yer choice"; at 584 pages the soft-cover edition of Vallely & Dyer is slightly bulkier than Stiles & Skutch (ix+511 pages), but not as heavy as Howell & Webb (xvi+851 pages). I would treat the latter works as handbooks, and the new book as a worthy field-guide.
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 10:27   #15
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What a book!!

Got my copy today, considerably earlier than expected. My first impression is simply: WOW, what a book! Though on closer inspection, there is something to gripe about: Many of the exquisite plates have a decidedly "misty" look. I have attached a plate with - among others - the Barn Swallow. And as a comparison a plate from Birds of East Africa (Stevenson & Fanshawe) that is also a Princeton FG, and the one I tend to measure all other FGs against when it comes to plate quality. Interestingly, now that I have the comparative version, it would seem the African FG has the colors printed too strongly. I'll leave it at that for the moment. I will come back providing some more impressions. Though I wonder whether there is some consistency within the edition or whether printing quality varies from book to book. In my copy, hummingbirds are very colorful, but boobies have particularly dull plates.
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 18:33   #16
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Robert, I'd check this out if I were you, my regular supplier has found numerous issues regarding printing faults with several titles recently.

It seems that with cheap paper and cheap printing, often in China, comes some less that stellar and inconsistent quality. It pays these days to check all your new books for such issues before it's too late to return them.
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 19:26   #17
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Sounds like another excellent contribution. Does it follow Clements taxonomy, and does it make any taxonomic suggestions?
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 20:00   #18
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Here are some comparative measurements with books that cover the same area or parts thereof:
Howell & Webb Mexico:1562 g, 23.5x15.6x4.5 cm, total pages 873
Vallely & Dyer CA (the new book): 1396 g, 23.5x16.0x3.7 cm, 584 pp
van Perlo/Collins Mexico & CA: 625 g, 20.0x14.0x2.3 cm
Fagan & Komar/"Peterson" NCA: 562 g, 18.3x11.4x2.6 cm
Birds of NICARAGUA: 792 g, 21.5x14.0x2.4 cm
Angehr & Dean PANAMA:834 g, 21.6x14.0x2.7 cm
Garrigues & Dean COSTA RICA (2nd ed.): 597 g,19.7x12.8x2.3 cm
(and the old Stiles & Skutch FG for Costa Rica: 910 g)

Thus, with the exception of Howell & Webb, this new book is by far the most bulky one. It seems that quality really has its price, in bulk as well. Though I think it would be possible to reduce the size somewhat. Most illustrations are rather large, and they could serve their purpose with some reduction as well. Likewise, reducing the size of the fine range maps ( they are color coded) would be possible without loss of major info. Thus, it would be mostly the text that might need some compacting without going to a much smaller font. There are 16 pages of references (677). I always wonder how useful these are in the field, or even on the average field-trip. (But where to put them to have them available at home? A link to a pertinent web-site ought to take care of this issue, actually.)
Together with the van Perlo book, this book's cover protrudes on three sides which would be another thing that could be changed to make it more compact.

The book comes with a "Fast index" distributed on the inside flap of the front and rear cover. This cover is both flexible and sturdy on first impression.

I always wonder why such books do not "automatically" come with local (Spanish) names as well. Usually, the illustrations of a particular plate are all to the same scale, and the scale is indicated in the upper right-hand corner. Quite convenient!

Aside of the often "misty" appearance of the illustrations mentioned in my previous post, the browns tend to be a bit too reddish, and some white birds, particularly the cotingas, came out too greyish. At times, I can't help myself but thinking that there is some double-printing, particularly on the bottom half of a plate.

It's clear, all my critical remarks here are complaints on a very high level. But why not strive for the best in those respects as well.
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 20:24   #19
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Sounds like another excellent contribution. Does it follow Clements taxonomy, and does it make any taxonomic suggestions?
I'm not too much into taxonomy, most of the present changes are rather regarded as a bother. The book starts with tinamous, followed by ducks and a half page of grebes. Then follow galliformes. Raptors are split, with falcons wedged between woodpeckers and parrots as is (unfortunately) customary these days. The autors say they essentially follow the AOU checklist with some digressions for various reasons.
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Old Saturday 13th October 2018, 05:12   #20
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I think regarding size, covering a much larger area with necessarily some additional species, I am not surprised that a good guide becomes larger when for example comparing with the CR or Panama guides. One way to quantify this could be species per page or per 100g perhaps?

A pity if printing problems is a significant issue for this book.

Niels
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Old Monday 15th October 2018, 16:48   #21
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Quote:
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...
A pity if printing problems is a significant issue for this book.

Niels
Amazon offers a look into the book on several of their country sites.
Like here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...der_0691138028

There, the plates they show are all like they ought to be!
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Old Monday 15th October 2018, 21:55   #22
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I just ordered a hardcover copy, let's see what that's like.

I passed Robert's comments on to my supplier who says that his stock looks the same.
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