Katie Fallon Foreedge Books, HB, £17.99
Vultures have always received a bad press, given their appearance and their dietary habits, so this look into "the private life of an unloved bird" is long overdue and most welcome. Katie Fallon does a great job of combining the scientific and topical (the threat posed to vultures worldwide by drugs such as diclofenac, for example), with a more general overview of this fascinating family of birds, as well as her personal passion for them. And she succeeds in showing why the negative attitudes towards them ingrained in so many human cultures are mistaken. There is something of a North American slant to the content, but that's not to say that vultures elsewhere are ignored. Above all, you come away from the book more convinced than ever that urgent action is needed to save so many vulture species. Thankfully, governments in some parts of the world are already waking up to this, and this book can only help to persuade others to do the same.