Working in the modified landscape of South East Queensland brings with it the challenges of managing In “Birds in their Habitats”, Ian Fraser takes his readers on a journey around the world to peer into the fascinating lives of birds, their ecology and behaviour.
Like humans, birds can be found in nearly every habitat on earth, from deserts to rainforests to mountains to suburbia. Fraser has grouped his experiences and stories about birds (and the people who watch them!) together based on the habitat type in which they are found.
Though written in a conversational style, the book also unusually includes in-text referencing of the more interesting aspects of bird ecology. If tracking down articles in scientific journals is not your thing then many of the points and concepts raised in Fraser’s anecdotes are also further explored in ‘boxed essays’ throughout the book. I will admit to finding these extra facts the most interesting aspect of the book. For example, did you know there are no actual blue pigments in blue feathers? Instead, the feather barbules are cleverly structured to absorb red and yellow light and only reflect blue light!
If you’re a hard core twitcher you’ll relate to the accounts of Fraser ticking off that special bird he’s travelled far to see. If, like me, you are more of an opportunistic birder, this book still holds plenty of intriguing general information on birds to hold your interest.
Birds in their Habitats, published by CSIRO Publishing, 2018.
Paperback, colour photos, 240 pages. RRP: $39.95.
Available from CSIRO Publishing or select online and in-person book stores.

Review by Peter Hayes

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