| Birds of Maine | By Peter D. Vickery, Charles D. Duncan, Jeffrey V. Wells & William J. Sheehan | Edited by Scott Weidensaul & Barbara Vickery | Princeton UP | 2021 | Hardback | 664 Pages | 150 b/w line drawings, colour photographs, and maps. 12 watercolour plates | ISBN: 9780691193199 | £38.00p |
The Publisher’s View:
Maine has an incredibly rich birdlife, with 464 different species calling the Pine Tree State home.
Birds of Maine is the first comprehensive overview of Maine’s birds in seven decades. This is a thoroughly researched, accessible portrait of a region undergoing rapid changes, with southern birds pushing north, northern birds expanding south, and once-absent natives like the Atlantic Puffin brought back by innovation conservation techniques.
Written by the late Peter Vickery in cooperation with a team of leading ornithologists, this guide offers a detailed look at the state’s dynamic avifauna with information on migration patterns and timing, current status and changes in bird abundance and distribution, and how Maine’s geography and shifting climate mold its birdlife. It delves into the conservation status of Maine’s birds, as well as the state’s unusually textured ornithological history, involving such famous names as John James Audubon and Theodore Roosevelt, and home-grown experts like Cordelia Stanwood and Ralph Palmer.
Gorgeously illustrated with watercolors by Lars Jonsson and line drawings by Barry Van Dusen,
“[A] tour de force […] This book needs to be on the shelf of all Maine birders.”
– Herb Wilson, Portland Press Herald
“These chapters easily could be read and enjoyed by anyone with a serious interest in ornithology, regardless of location […] This rich presentation of the past, present, and future of Maine birdlife is a fitting memorial to Peter Vickery who devoted so much of his life to this project.”
– Jim Williams, Star Tribune
“This remarkable book could literally change the way state bird publications are prepared.”
– Birding Wire
“Monumental: that’s the word. In these pages, the extraordinary birdlife of Maine is detailed and celebrated by an equally extraordinary team of writers, editors, and artists. The result might be the greatest state bird book of all time; it is undeniably a volume to be read, studied, and treasured.”
– Kenn Kaufman, author of Kingbird Highway
“The long and rich history of bird study in Maine is brilliantly summarized in this book. The intricate details of each species’ occurrence are presented with clarity and context. To top it all off, the drawings and paintings by Barry Van Dusen and Lars Jonsson make the book a pleasure to browse. Highly recommended.”
– David Sibley, author and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds
“Birds of Maine sets a new gold standard for a state-based bird volume. A tribute to Maine’s long love affair with ornithology, it is sure to engage future generations to protect Maine birds and their habitats. Beautiful and nothing short of inspiring.”
– Stephen W. Kress, founder of Project Puffin
“Brilliant! The book Maine birders and naturalists have been waiting and hoping for. A treasure trove of data on the current and historical status and distribution of Maine’s 460+ recorded species. Superb watercolors by Lars Jonsson and drawings by Barry Van Dusen enliven the pages, creating a rich tapestry of art and information.”
– Jonathan Alderfer, coauthor and coillustrator of National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
“From the gorgeous artwork to the stunning maps, fascinating essays, and authoritative chapters and species accounts, this remarkable book sets a new standard for state-level bird books. Birds of Maine showcases both the rich past and the present state of birds – and bird conservation – in a style and format that raises the bar for state bird books.”
– David Yarnold, president of the National Audubon Society
“Eloquent, elegant, and powerful. The art, photography, and maps are exquisite – the book is simply beautiful. Birds of Maine is a treasure for birders, biologists, naturalists, and conservationists.”
– Judy Camuso, commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
‘Monumental’, says Kenn Kaufman, and who am I to disagree. An overused word, but, in this case, justified. It oozes love of birds, scientific rigour and meticulous record keeping. I’m more used to reviewing county covering volumes on this side of the pond and species accounts like this are familiar. Like those tomes this is a physically large book and all the better for that. It also allows for covering more than just the decades of accumulated records lovingly encapsulated by the driving force behind the book who sadly is not around to see it published. One thing is clear, he would be very proud and very pleased with how Princeton have produced it.
Don’t take my word for it, read the extracts above to see just how well-received it has been.
Every birder in Maine will want to savour this book and any other reader will want, like me, to visit Maine. A state only on my radar as somewhere to want to visit for fall colours and endless pine forests… now I know it has had almost as many birds as the entire UK, it’s on my increasingly long lists of destinations!