Special features

The latest information on 47 waterfowl species packed into two handsome volumes

We publish roundups of new books about birds two times a year, in our June and December issues. In our December 2014 issue, we wrote about 13 titles, including the book featured here. Scroll down for links to our other reviews from the issue.
By Chuck Hagner | Published: 11/2/2014

Thanks to the National Wildlife Refuge system, the Duck Stamp, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, the Wetlands Reserve Program, and the efforts of Ducks Unlimited, various branches of government, and other members of the waterfowl community, habitat protection on behalf of waterfowl in North America is unrivaled anywhere in the world.

Ducks-Geese-Swans-300Yet all the old threats to our cherished ducks, geese, and swans remain, and new ones — notably, climate change and increasing pressures on wetland and upland habitats stemming from our own burgeoning population — loom on the horizon. Dealing successfully with such challenges will require the participation of biologists, hunters, and birders who can summon not only great passion but also the latest scientific information.

Since 1942, when the first edition appeared, Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America has been a source of both. Originally authored by Canadian outdoorsman Francis H. Kortright and then revised, in 1976 and 1981, by Frank C. Bellrose, a senior biologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey, it has long been a landmark work, relied on by professionals and non-professionals alike, but an update was sorely needed.

The latest edition was much revised by Guy A. Baldassarre, who until his premature death in 2012 was a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. On over 1,000 attractive pages in two slip-cased volumes, he presents a readable, in-depth, and up-to-date discussion of the biology of every species known to breed in North America, 47 in all. We are delighted to add it to our library.

Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America, Revised and Updated Editionby Guy Baldassarre, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1,088 pages, hardcover in two volumes with slipcase and CD, $69.95

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