By Richard B Chandler | Whittles Publishing | Paperback | August 2017 | 248 Pages | 400+ Colour Photographs | ISBN: 9781849953559

The Fascinating Lives of Shorebirds

Shorebirds in Action

The Publisher’s View:

Shorebirds, or waders, are a large group of small to medium-sized birds that occur worldwide, in a wide range of predominantly coastal or wetland habitats. Some species are largely sedentary whilst others are amongst the world’s most migratory bird species, travelling thousands of kilometres in a few days.

In addition to describing physical behavioural traits such as feeding, breeding, migration, and particular physiological adaptations, Shorebirds in Action also covers territorial behaviour both when feeding and breeding. There is detailed discussion of the range of species and their different lifestyles together with feeding strategies, flocking, roosting and the avoidance of predators. The seasonal features of shorebirds’ lives are included, such as the various plumages that they have when breeding, or not breeding, together with the intervening periods of moult, during which the birds change from one plumage to the next.

Shorebirds in Action is in two parts firstly basic behavioural information and then a photographic section that explains the specific behaviour being illustrated for that particular shorebird at the time the photo was taken. Consequently, Shorebirds in Action  can be read as a general text, split into chapters that provide the basic behavioural information and also by actions which explain the details of the particular behaviour shown.

Shorebirds in Action contains excellent photographs of about 180 shorebird species over three-quarters of the world’s total and therefore provides a general reference for the identification of shorebird species and the recognition of their various plumages. It will be relevant to readers worldwide, including Europe, North America and Australasia. This comprehensive work can be read as a general text and also the photographs can be enjoyed separately in their own right. Detailed references to source material are provided.

The Author: Richard Chandler is the author of the Macmillan Field Guide to North Atlantic Shorebirds and Shorebirds of the Northern Hemisphere; he has had numerous articles published in ornithological journals. For many years he has been associated with the long-established journal ‘British Birds’, as Photographic Consultant, as a member of its Editorial Board and as Chairman of its Board of Directors. He is currently President Elect of the Nature Photographers’ Portfolio.

Fatbirder View: As the publisher says “This comprehensive work can be read as a general text and also the photographs can be enjoyed separately in their own right.”. Rarely can books stand alone on the base of one or the other but this work certainly can. Don’t take my word, before you read it just turn the pages and enjoy the photographs. Just because they are chosen to illustrate particular behaviour it doesn’t mean they are any less sharp, clear and simply splendid. Having enjoyed the sensual pleasure read on. The thing is that most of us who love birds see a lot of waders as, apart from our own familiar garden birds, waders are relatively easy to see. Find an estuary, mudflat, marsh or large lake near you and you’ll see waders. Indeed, a lot of the time we tend to dismiss them on the grounds of familiarity, scanning for a dowitcher among the godwit flock really doesn’t do them justice. Moreover, a lot of the time we ignore their behaviour expecting them to stick their bills in the mud or tuck heads under wings at high tide. But when the twitching action is done the sideward swipe of the avocet beak catches your eye, or the redshank’s piping calls entertain your ears. If you are lucky you get to see courtship and nesting and their reaction to birds of prey and can begin to appreciate how much more there is to know and enjoy… Richard Chandler gives you a shortcut and will I am sure quietly convince you to watch, learn and love shorebirds.

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