Raptors of New Mexico.
RAPTORS OF NEW MEXICO. Edited by Jean-Luc E. Cartron. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, USA, 2010:710 pages, more than 650 color photographs, 41 color range maps, eight black and white photographs, and 17 figures. ISBN: 978-0-8263-4145-7. $50.00 (hard cover).--Dr. Cartron enlisted 41 other raptor enthusiasts to help write this definitive volume on the diurnal and nocturnal raptors of New Mexico. Jean-Luc Cartron was born and raised in France, where he earned a MD. After traveling the world, he ended up in New Mexico and, for > 10 years, has studied raptors and other birds there. He earned a Ph.D. in biology from the University of New Mexico and is now a research associate at that institution.
The stated purpose of this book is to present information from a variety of sources, including publications, reports, field notes, etc., well augmented with photographs, maps, tables, and charts, to fully describe the raptors of New Mexico. This large format tome begins with a Foreword by Rich Glinski, author of the Raptors of Arizona. Following the obligatory preface, acknowledgments, and table of contents are an Introduction and short chapters on raptor morphology (photographs with arrows pointing to the parts of raptors) and species distribution maps. Two introductory chapters discuss the State's floristic zones and vegetation cover, and raptor migration through the State. Both are covered well and in detail, the latter by raptor expert Jeff Smith, which includes many maps showing recoveries of banded raptors, charts and graphs showing timing of migration, and photographs of the raptors themselves.
Next follows the species accounts, the heart of this book, which vary in length from 10 to 26 pages. Each of the 37 species accounts (24 diurnal and 13 nocturnal raptors) is written by one to four coauthors (some by the editor himself) and starts with a full page color photograph of the species. Each account begins with a general description of that species, including plumage, taxonomy, similar species, vocalizations, etc., and continues with sections on distribution, habitat, life history, intraspecific interactions, predation and interspecific interactions, and status and management.
(This book was not intended to be a field guide, as that is covered in specialty guides.) Some accounts include a short acknowledgment section. All are well illustrated with numerous photographs (most of which have descriptive captions) by 109 different photographers. The photographs vary in size and quality; some are very good, but others are fuzzy or show distant raptors, much as we see them in the field. Accounts of raptors that breed in New Mexico include photographs of breeding habitat, and all include a range map that is color coded for different seasons or with arrows showing migration pathways or both. All range maps show county borders and major rivers. Most accounts include a varying number of tables, graphs, and figures showing prey taken and other interesting information. An extensive bibliography ends each species chapter.
Seven species that have occurred in New Mexico as vagrants are covered in the next chapter; all are shown in one or more photographs. This chapter also includes an extensive bibliography. The book ends with a short concluding chapter, appendices listing egg sets in the Museum of Southwestern Biology, and some data on Flammulated (Otusflammeolus) and Great Horned (Bubo virginianus) owls, and a glossary.
This book sets a high standard for a State raptor book. It meets its stated goal of combining information on raptors in New Mexico from a variety of sources with many color photographs, maps, graphs, charts, and tables resulting in a well written and informative book. It is recommended for all serious raptor enthusiasts, as much of its contents apply beyond the borders of New Mexico. It is a must for Southwestern birders, ornithologists, and raptorphiles.---WILLIAM S. CLARK, 2301 South Whitehouse Circle, Harlingen, TX 78550, USA; e-mail: raptours@ earthlink.net