Kenn Kaufman, Author, Rick Bowers, Author, Nora Mays Bowers, Author . Houghton Mifflin $22 (351p) ISBN 978-0-618-15313-8

Even renowned birder Kaufman admits that sighting a "mammal trumps everything else" when observing nature in the field. To help naturalists identify those warm-blooded animals that cross their paths, he has teamed up with nature photographers Nora and Rick Bowers to present this comprehensive field reference for all 450 species of wild mammals known to occur in the United States and Canada. As in his earlier innovative guides (Birds of North America and Butterflies of North America ), the touchstone is the digitally enhanced photography (all 1,200 images are edited to eliminate shadows, to correct colors and to resize for easy comparisons among species), the bulk of which the Bowerses shot during their 30 years of wildlife study. For quick reference, the mammals are subdivided into 15 categories, like "Hoofed Mammals," "Mice and Rats" or "Dogs, Cats, Bears," with color-coded tabs and a pictorial index. Each entry includes a photograph of the mammal on the right-hand page with an average weight and length, while a brief description of its habitat, behavior, scientific and common names, and a range chart appear on the corresponding left-hand page. In some cases, the authors have also included a sketch of the animal's tracks, or pictures of it during multiple seasons—the Arctic hare, for example, is shown molting from a mottled brown in the summer to snow white in the winter. For more in-depth information, the authors list books and online sources; however, this compact volume's encyclopedic approach to identifying mammals makes it an indispensable field resource for amateur nature enthusiasts. 7-city author tour. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-618-38296-5
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