Foreword Reviews - - Contents - by Re­becca Fos­ter

Lynn E. Bar­ber, Texas A&M Uni­ver­sity Press Soft­cover $29.95 (224pp), 978-1-62349-359-2

For a keen bird­watcher like Lynn E. Bar­ber, birds are a way into learn­ing about cur­rent con­ser­va­tion chal­lenges. Her Birds in Trou­ble pro­files many of Amer­ica’s en­dan­gered birds and gives con­crete ad­vice on how to help both threat­ened and com­mon species.

Many rare birds have a lim­ited range, so loss of habi­tat through pol­lu­tion and de­vel­op­ment can be dev­as­tat­ing. Whether the wet­lands the yel­low rail de­pends on, the grass­lands the sage grouse in­hab­its, the Arc­tic breed­ing grounds of the buff-breasted sand­piper, or the ocean health es­sen­tial to pe­trels: a thriv­ing en­vi­ron­ment is key to en­dan­gered birds’ sur­vival.

What can or­di­nary folk do? Bar­ber has plenty of sug­ges­tions. Ob­serv­ing bird be­hav­ior and sub­mit­ting sight­ings through In­ter­net track­ing sys­tems is one strat­egy. Records of a rare bird might help get a lo­ca­tion des­ig­nated as an Im­por­tant Bird Area. Mean­while, do­nat­ing to con­ser­va­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions, vol­un­teer­ing, and writ­ing to of­fi­cials can make a dif­fer­ence. Even for com­mon bird species, it’s easy to help by pro­vid­ing fresh wa­ter, var­i­ous nour­ish­ing foods, and a wel­com­ing habi­tat right in your back­yard.

The core of the book is a set of de­tailed species ac­counts. Bar­ber de­scribes each en­dan­gered bird and gives notes on its habi­tat, an ac­count of its de­cline and cur­rent sta­tus, and in­for­ma­tion about spe­cial con­ser­va­tion ef­forts. She uses es­ti­mated pop­u­la­tion fig­ures from the Na­tional Audubon So­ci­ety’s 2007 Watch­list, which cat­e­go­rizes birds as “red” or “yel­low” based on their threat­ened sta­tus. Best of all, she makes th­ese records per­son­al­ized by re­count­ing her in­ter­ac­tions with birds from trum­peter swans to prairie chick­ens. As a bird­watcher who has been based in sev­eral states, she knows her sub­ject deeply and ad­vo­cates for en­dan­gered birds zeal­ously.

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