Category Archives: Books

Upcoming book: A Saga of Sea Eagles by John A. Love

Whittles Publishing recently announced an upcoming book about the White-tailed Eagle written by John A. Love.

The description of the book by the publisher:

  • A personal account from the author’s own experiences, enriched with his photographs and illustrations
  • Summary of eagles, their classification and folklore focussing on the Sea Eagle group
  • Provides a background to the reintroduction of the White-tailed Sea Eagle to Scotland and the UK
  • Current status of Sea Eagles in the UK and the economic benefits

More information on the publishers website:
A Saga of Sea Eagles

This is a welcome addition to some other fine raptor books by the same publisher and to the available literature about Europe’s larged eagle species!

New book about wildlife crime

Wildlife crime is a serious threat in many places of the world. But it is not just the tigers, leopards or rhinos that get killed illegally.
Across Europe animals like wolves, otters or eagles are killed illegally – often simply because some people hate them.

A new book about wildlife crime in the UK, particularly in Scotland has now been published. It is written by Dick Dave, who was the RSPB’s Senior Scottish Investigation Officer between 1984 and 2006.

This is a very interesting new publication and should be of interested to anyone fighting against the illegal killing of raptors and other animals.

More information can be found on the books website:

and in this PDF:

New book: Ecology and conservation of European forest-dwelling raptors

A new book called “Ecology and conservation of European forest-dwelling raptors” is now available. It coves a wide range of European raptor species who depend on forests.

The book is available in English and to my information also in Spanish and Basque.

The table of contents can be found here:

More information about the book can be found is this PDF:

The price is 60 Euros and is should be available now or soon e.g. in this online shop:
The shop’s website is mostly Spanish. Click on “Ingles” in the upper right corner and some English should appear.

New important publication about lead poisoning and raptors

Lead poisoning is a serious threat to many raptors like the White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Bearded Vulture or Steller’s Sea Eagle.
A new important German publication (with English summaries for every article) about this issue with a focus on the White-tailed Eagle is now available from the Leibniz-Institut für Zoo- und Wildtierforschung in Berlin where Sea Eagle expert Oliver Krone and his team have been doing research on lead poisoning for many years.
The new book (more than 120 pages) was published after a conference on the topic in 2009 and has many papers about the feeding ecology, population dynamics and lead poisoning of the White-tailed Eagle and other species like the Bearded Vulture or the impressive Steller’s Sea Eagle.

This is a must read for anyone who is interested in lead poisoning and raptors.

More information about the book and important facts about White-tailed Eagles and lead poisoning is available here:

The table of contents of the new book is here (PDF):

A detailed and very good review in German of this publication written bei Dieter Haas can be found in this PDF:


Upcoming book about the raptors of South America – You can help

In order to protect raptors, the first thing you have to know is how to identify them. You cannot protect a species when you don’t know how to tell it apart from other species. Substantial progress has been made in the field of raptor identification over the last decades, and for many parts of the world, dedicated field guides are now available.
And although it is still hard to tell a Greater Spotted Eagle from a Lesser Spotted Eagle, or a Sharp-shinned Hawk from a Cooper’s Hawk, it can be done thanks to several high-quality guides for Europe, and North America.

For South America, home to many amazing raptors including the Harpy Eagle, there are no field guides dealing with birds of prey. There are several bird field guides which cover all species occurring in specific countries – like Peru or Venezuela – but none of these are raptor field guides. And a field guide that covers more than the 1.500 species that can be found in some South American countries cannot devote sufficient detail regarding how to tell a Montane Solitary-Eagle from the very similar Great Black-Hawk. Many raptor species in South America are difficult to identify. And even if a species can easily be identified, telling the sex or age of a bird is often still very difficult – but this information in crucial in doing surveys of rare and endangered raptors.

This is about to change thanks to the effort of raptor identification experts Sergio H. Seipke, Frederick Pallinger, and Darío H. Podestá who have been working on the first field guide to the Raptors of South America with support from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the world’s first raptor conservation organization. The book will cover all the plumages known for the 96 species of raptors occurring in the sub-continent and would arguably be the definitive work for the region. Materials to be included in the book range from 100 color plates, over 250 photographs of wild raptors in their habitat, detailed range maps and detailed species accounts, as well as an extensive bibliography on the subject.

But producing such a book takes a lot of time and resources. It is necessary to spend many hours in the field, in museums, looking at photos, and communicating with raptor experts.

You can help support the production of this book and so help future raptor conservationists and bird-watchers to better identify the Raptors of South America. Telling a Montane Solitary-Eagle from a Great Black-Hawk will still be difficult – but when the book is published, it will be possible much more often.

To learn more about the Raptors of South America book project visit:

You can support the book by making donations to the project (tax deductible within the USA), sponsor the Art Collection Series or sign up for a raptor tour with the book authors (I myself am already planning such a trip in the not too distant future).
And what is better than to spend some time in the field with great experts, watching a Harpy Eagle and doing something for conservation?

Please visit the link below and support the project:

New book: Kestrels for Company by Gordon Riddle:

Kestrels for Company - by Gorden Riddle

The new Kestrels book by Gordon Riddle

In the last post I announced a new book about Hen Harriers published by Whittles Publishing. The same publisher has also recently announced another raptor book about the Common Kestrel. It will be published in April 2011 and is written by Gordon Riddle who has observed the Common Kestrel for almost 40 years in Britain.

Below is the information from the press release of the publisher:

An appealing book that rightfully raises the profile of the kestrel. It provides an extensive picture of this delightful falcon, including its lifestyle and the factors that affect its breeding success and survival. This is based upon almost 40 years monitoring of the kestrel in south-west Scotland and further afield by the author and colleagues, giving a flavour of the integrated approach to monitoring and conservation.
As well as the wealth of factual data, there are entertaining anecdotes and stories both from the author’s experiences and from the wider media coverage of this raptor over the years. The reader is taken to exotic locations such as the Seychelles, Mauritius and the Cape Verde Islands to see the endemic island kestrels which have always held a great fascination for the author.
Latest figures show an alarming decline of 36% in the kestrel population in the UK, with even more dramatic falls such as 64% in Scotland. The fieldwork techniques which play such an important role are detailed in a composite breeding season. The kestrel is not portrayed in isolation and the bird’s current circumstance is tied into the bigger picture of raptor conservation and the struggle against sustained persecution.
The author reflects upon the political, economic and conservation issues that have dominated this field in the past few decades and through this personal and well-informed account the reader gains access to the world of the kestrel.

More information:
Publishers Press Release (PDF)

Publishers website for the book

New book: The Hen Harrier – In the Shadow of Slemish by Don Scott

The Hen Harrier - In the Shadow of Slemish by Don Scott

The new Hen Harrier book by Don Scottt

I am happy to announce the recent publication of a new book on Hen Harriers. It is written by Don Scott, one of the leading experts on the species. I had the great pleasure to do an interview with Don about Hen Harriers for

The book will be of great interest for everyone who cares about Hen Harriers or raptors in general. Below is the information from the press release of the publisher:

The hen harrier is one of the iconic species of the bird world and its history is a mix of controversy, persecution, and recent patchy recovery. This book, a dedicated study of the bird in N. Ireland for over two decades, provides a detailed account of the life, habits and prospects for the bird. The author presents much new information about the harrier in its continuing struggle to re-establish its hold despite high levels of persecution from man or predation by other species.
Having spent thousands of hours over many years studying these birds, he was rewarded by the discovery that this ground-nesting species was nesting in tall conifers in the forests of County Antrim the only country throughout their vast European range where this occurs annually. Other significant finds soon became apparent as did the discovery that red kites were nesting for the first time and marsh harriers had returned to nest for the first time in almost 200 years.
The author’s passion for the bird is obvious as he shares moments of excitement and sadness, and he speaks frankly about the maltreatment and mismanagement of this elegant raptor over the years.

More information:
Publishers Press Release (PDF)

Publishers website for the book

My review of the book

The new book “The Hen Harrier: In the Shadow of Slemish” is another great read in a serious of raptor books published by Whittles Publishing (they also have great books on Ospreys, Golden Eagles or the Common Kestrel).

In this book, Don Scott, Hen Harrier expert from Nothern Ireland describes the biology, behaviour and conservation of this magnificent raptor
with a focus on Northern Ireland. But he also mentions observations from other places and other researchers and also draws comparison to other harrier species (he has observed all harrier species around the world).

The topics in the book include:
– range of the Hen Harrier
– breeding biology
– diet in Antrim
– communal roosting
– tree nesting
– threats
– conservation and outlook to the future of Hen Harriers in Northern Ireland

The largest part of the book are the descriptions of the author’s studies and observations in Antrim in Northern Ireland where he spend over two decades studying Hen Harriers.

Of particular interest are Don’s observations about tree nesting Hen Harriers, which is a rare behaviour and has rarely been observerd outside of Northern Ireland.

This is not a scientific monograph but a lively description of the author’s adventures and experiences with Hen Harries, but many details about the bird’s live and ecology can be found this book.

The book is easy to read and hard to put down.

Don Scott’s book is a great read for anyone interested raptors in general or harriers in particular. Recommended.

Let’s hope that the publisher continues this series of great raptors books. I would especially like to see a book about Northern Goshawks and White-tailed Eagles.

New upcoming German book about the Hobby

Der Baumfalke - by Klaus Dietrich Fiuczynski and Paul Sömmer

Der Baumfalke –
by Klaus Dietrich Fiuczynski and Paul Sömmer

For people who can read German, the book “Der Baumfalke” (the Hobby) by Klaus-Dietrich Fiuczynski has been the best resource about this amazing little falcon. Now the book has been revised and brought up to date and also includes the latest satellite telemetry studies.

The new edition, written by Klaus Dietrich Fiuczynski and Paul Sömmer is much bigger than the old one. It has gone from a little more than 200 pages to about 400 pages in the new 5th edition. It will be published in Spring 2011.

For anyone capable of reading German and interested in the Hobby, this will be a must have book.

More information:

Publishers Website about “Der Baumfalke”

PDF Flyer about the book

Update: The book is now available from the Publishers Website.

My review in English and German

Below are my reviews in German and English:

English review:
The latest edition of “Der Baumfalke” (The Hobby) by Dietrich Fiuczynski und Paul Sömmer ist much bigger than the previous edition and brought up to date.

In almost 400 pages the authors describe in detail the biology and conservation of the Eurasian Hobby. Focus is on the studies of the authors around Berlin, but many findings from other researchers around and the population numbers are for the whole distribution of the species.

Also, the latest findings from satellite telemetry about the migration ot the Hobby are in the book.

The writing style of the authors is very easy to follow. The book can also be read by bird watchers and everyone else interested in the Hobby without the need of much scientific knowledge.

I found the description of the hunting methods and the prey of the hobby of particular interest. Only with long and detailed field studies can one make such detailed descriptions. The authors have done a great job here.

One could write a lot more positive comments about the book, but I recommend everyone to get your own copy of the book. The authors wrote a truly great book here and even experts on the Hobby can probably learn a lot of new information about the Hobby.

What is there not to like? I don’t have any criticism for the content of the book. Only the binding of the book could be better. My copy had loose pages after the reading the book only once and being very careful.
Maybe the publisher should have been more careful here or used a hard cover for the book (it is paperback).
But that should not keep anyone from buying the excellend book.
Also I want to add that this might be just my copy. I own several other books by the same publisher and they don’t have any problems like that.

On the German – and also the English book market – I don’t know any better book the the Hobby. A must for anyone interested in raptors and who can read some German.

German review:
Die Neuauflage von ‘Der Baumfalke’ von Dietrich Fiuczynski und Paul Sömmer ist deutlich erweitert und auf dem neuesten Stand.

Auf fast 400 Seiten beschreiben die Autoren im Detail die Biologie und den Schutz des Baumfalken. Schwerpunkt sind die Studien der Autoren in und um Berlin, aber es werden viele Hinweise auf andere Studien eingearbeitet und bei den Bestandsangaben wird das gesamte Verbreitungsgebiet behandelt.

Auch die neuesten Erkenntnisse zum Zug der Baumfalken aus der Satelliten-Telemetrie sind in das Buch mit eingearbeitet.

Der Schreibstil der Autoren ist angenehm und sehr gut zu lesen und auch für Laien und Vogelbeobachter jederzeit verständlich.

Besonders interessant finde ich die detaillierten Beschreibung zur Jagd und dem Nahrungsspektrum. Nur durch aufwendige Feldarbeit kann man hier vernünftige Aussagen treffen, was den Autoren hervorragend gelungen ist.

Man könnte noch viel mehr positives über das Buch schreiben, aber ich empfehle jedem der sich für Baumfalken und Greifvögel interessiert, sich das Buch selbst anzuschauen. Den Autoren ist hier ein großer Wurf gelungen und der Inhalt des Buches bringt selbst für Baumfalkenexperten noch Neues.

Was gibt es Negatives? Am Inhalt des Buches gibt es meiner Meinung nach nichts zu meckern. Einzig allein die Verarbeitung könnte besser sein. Mein Exemplar hatte schon nach dem Lesen von etwa 100 Seiten und sehr vorsichtiger Behandlung lose Seiten. Hier hätte der Verlag eine höhere Qualität bei der Bindung anstreben müssen oder noch besser einen Hard-Cover Einband verwenden sollen. Aber das sollte niemanden vom Kauf dieses hervorragenden Werks abhalten.
Außerdem ist es gut möglich dass dies nur mit meinem Exemplar auftritt. Alle anderen Bücher welche ich von selben Verlag besitze, sind in 1a Zustand, auch nach häufigerer Benutzung.

Auf dem deutschen – und auch englischen Buchmarkt – ist kein besseres Buch zum Baumfalken verfügbar. Ein Muss für jeden Greifvogel Fan.