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An in-depth study of the ways birds have evolved and adapted to winter, the most challenging season of the year.
How birds have evolved and adapted to survive winter
Birds in Winter is the first book devoted to the ecology and behavior of birds during this most challenging season. Birds remaining in regions with cold weather must cope with much shorter days to find food and shelter even as they need to avoid predators and stay warm through the long nights, while migrants to the tropics must fit into very different ecosystems and communities of resident birds. Roger Pasquier explores how winter affects birds’ lives all through the year, starting in late summer, when some begin caching food to retrieve months later and others form social groups lasting into the next spring. During winter some birds are already pairing up for the following breeding season, when health through the winter contributes to nesting success.
Today, rapidly advancing technologies are enabling scientists to track individual birds through their daily and annual movements at home and across oceans and hemispheres, revealing new and unexpected information about their lives and interactions. But, as Birds in Winter shows, much is visible to any interested observer. Pasquier describes the season’s distinct conservation challenges for birds that winter where they have bred and for migrants to distant regions. Finally, global warming is altering the nature of winter itself. Whether birds that over millennia have evolved to survive this season can now adjust to a rapidly changing climate is a problem all people who enjoy watching them must consider.
Filled with elegant line drawings by artist and illustrator Margaret La Farge, Birds in Winter describes how winter influences the lives of birds from the poles to the equator.
Roger F. Pasquier, a lifelong birder, has had a career with the International Council for Bird Conservation, Environmental Defense Fund, and National Audubon Society, and is currently an associate in the Department of Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History. His many books include Watching Birds and Masterpieces of Bird Art.
“For birds, warm-blooded creatures like us, survival through winter is one of their greatest challenges, especially for those that cannot or will not undertake the hazards of migration. They face often equally challenging problems in staying, as their world changes drastically with the seasons. What is so special about what they do to survive, where others would die? Read this book and be amazed, inspired, and touched with awe.”—Bernd Heinrich, author of Ravens in Winter and Winter World
“For years, what most northern birders knew about where many birds 'winter' could be summarized as blobby imprecise range maps covering some portions of more southerly latitudes. Even less has been known about the Southern Hemisphere birds that move north for their winter. This imbalance has finally begun to change. Importantly, because most migratory birds spend far longer on their wintering than on their breeding grounds, and their conservation depends substantially on what happens to wintering habitats. Birds in Winter summarizes the best science on this topic to date—during an era that is sure to see a global expansion of wintering bird data. This book will be a foundational publication for years to come. Congratulations to Roger Pasquier for assembling this comprehensive trove of biological and ecological information. It will interest birders everywhere and will be of vital use to students, scientists, land managers, policymakers, and conservationists alike.”—Mike Parr, president of the American Bird Conservancy
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