Thursday, 13 September 2018

Book Review - Canids of the World, Princeton Field Guides

     Canids hold a special fascination for humans, from the domestic dog sitting on your lap, to the wolves, foxes and wild dogs that occupy virtually every habitat on earth.
     I am always thrilled when I see a Coyote, or a Red Fox, making a living within the confines of a city. The two encounters I have had with North American wolves remain significant memories etched in my brain forever. My mind is indelibly imprinted by a morning spent in the company of Ethiopian Wolves high on the Bale Plateau in those remote highlands of the Horn of Africa.
     As far as I know, there has been no previous publication of a field guide consolidating into one volume all of the Canids of the World.




      Princeton Field Guides are legendary for their quality and depth of coverage and this volume does not disappoint. Modern field guides have gone far beyond their original purpose, when simple depictions of the subjects were included, with accompanying notes as to the characters to clinch identification.
    This volume starts out with a fabulous introductory section covering all of the vital aspects of canid ecology and biology, including an excellent phylogenetic tree. Feeding behaviour and diet is covered, as is reproduction, visual communications, olfactory communications and many other topics. Skeletal structure is discussed, including highly detailed illustrations, all presented with precision and ease of use.


   
     The photographs, assembled from the combined efforts of a stellar group of canid specialists and wildlife photographers are nothing short of superb.



     The accompanying text is precise and well organized.



    Each species account has a range map included with the account of the species, always so useful, especially when placed within the body of the section on a given species. One of the most annoying things about some field guides is that all the maps are included at the back, or, horror of horrors, there is no range map at all.
     I very much like the way the book is organized into sections titled South American Canids, Wolf-like Canids, Red Fox-like Canids, and Gray (Grey) Fox-like Canids, with each segment colour-coded for ease of reference.







     This treatment is very helpful to the user of a field guide, likely a dedicated naturalist and canid enthusiast who is not, however, necessarily familiar with all the taxonomic niceties that a specialized biologist might bring readily to hand.



     It is by any account a fine work, worthy of its place on your bookshelf, an essential work of reference, in addition to being a field guide. Don't forget to take it with you when you go out to explore any facet of nature. Whatever your interests there is always a good chance you will come across these wily creatures making a living wherever you happen to find yourself, in a bucolic setting, or in the derelict wasteland of a crumbling city. Canids will be there!

Canids of the World: Wolves, Wild Dogs, Foxes, Jackals, Coyotes and Their Relatives
José R. Castelló
Paperback - $29.95 - 9780691176857 - 336 pages - 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" - 150 colour plates - 139 black-and-white illustrations - 174 maps
Publication date: 11 September 2018

30 comments:

  1. That is a fascinated book, David! This book is a true treasure. It's very detailed and organized in a wonderful way. There is also a lot of information. And photographs are fantastic!
    Recently I saw a fox (not a Red Fox) walking across the desert. It was far away. I have never seen a Coyote in wild, but hope that some day I would see him. I am not sure I would like to come across the wolves.
    Thank you for this post, David!


    ReplyDelete
  2. Hola David. Se ve un libro estupendo, con maravillosas ilustraciones y una información completa. Muchas gracias. Un abrazo.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Otro gran libro nos traes amigo David, de tu explicación se desprende que es una gran obra muy detallada tanto en lectura asequible para cualquiera y buenas explicaciones como en maravillosas fotos.
    Un gran abrazo de tu amigo Juan

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello David!
    Another wonderful book you presented us again!
    It sounds very interesting with beautiful photos!
    I have seen foxes in my area many times,mostly in the evening!
    Thank you for sharing!Have a lovely day!
    Dimi...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi David - these guides as you mention: 'Princeton Field Guides are legendary for their quality and depth of coverage' they certainly appear to be. It's wonderful you're giving us reviews of some of their publications ... the origin of life - be it bird, dog or human is all so fascinating - cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  6. Det låter som en mycket intressant och spännande bok, skulle nog passa perfekt i min bokhylla. Jag har varit hundägare under många år av mitt liv men nu börjar jag bli för gammal för att börja på nytt med en liten valp. Jag glömmer aldrig mina hundar, de finns för alltid hos mig i minnet och ibland framkallar minnet tårar.
    Lyckliga du, David som fått uppleva en varg i naturen, det har varit en stor dröm hos mig att en gång få se detta magnifika djur i vilt tillstånd. Här i Sverige pågår en evig konflikt mellan de som vill ha varg i naturen och de som avskyr vargen, orden blir rätt hårda ibland. Tjuvjakt är vanligt och det gäller alla rovdjur, även rovfåglar som tycks framkalla något väldigt primitivt hos en del människor. De har nog aldrig läst om vad som hände i Yellowstone när vargen återintroducerades och saknar förståelse och kunskap för rovdjurens betydelse i ekosystem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Predators are a healthy component of every successful ecosystem, Gunilla,a but you are right that there is an irrational reaction against wolves and raptors. Why this should be I have no idea, but it is deep rooted in the human psyche it seems.

      Delete
    2. Only equalled by our fear of snakes. And spiders. We cause a great deal more damage than any of them. To them, to ourselves, to the world we share.

      Delete
  7. Probably won't be adding this one to my collection, David, but your glowing report made me look at Princeton Field Guides in general (I have their 'Mammals of North America') and I've just added their 'Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East' to my wish list. Thank you for the inspiration.

    With love to you both - - - Richard

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great looking book! We don't see as many Fox around here as we used to, but they used to come and share my horse's drinking water.

    ReplyDelete
  9. That sounds like a wonderful informative book. I haven't seen a fox since I have been here but seen them in other places I lived, Alaska, Oregon and Maine. They are beautiful animals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That’s an interesting observation. Are there foxes in Ireland?

      Delete
  10. It looks like a truly fascinating (and informative) book. Thank you for the review.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You show so many wonderful books, David. We had a dog for 11 years, and I miss him every day. Around here I can hear red fox barking, so they live near by. A friend of mine saw a wolf in their backyard, and it must be so nice to see one. It's the same problem here as in Sweden, because sheep owners hate wolves. I get so sad when I read about wolves who have been shot.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello David,
    The field guide looks great. Very complete and nice to browse!
    Beautiful illustrations indeed!
    Seeing wolves in the wild must have been spectaculair! And unforgettable!
    Thank you for sharing. It is a wonderful review.
    Regards, Maria

    ReplyDelete
  13. This book looks amazing. Like you, I enjoy seeing canids (even our 2 dogs) and I once had a wolf encounter in the wild which was memorable and amazing. I may have to look into getting this book. Thanks for the review.

    ReplyDelete
  14. a nice book, with indications that you have enjoyed it (the bent corners)!! it looks like it is full of great information, i enjoy books on nature and wildlife!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Very nice review of what appears to be an outstanding guide. Princeton does a first-rate job publishing. I couldn't live without my copy of The Warbler Guide.

    We encountered coyotes in New Mexico earlier this year and were startled at how different their appearance was compared to the mostly urban/suburban residents we see in Florida. Almost looked like a different species.

    Thank you again for the review and encouraging more education for us all.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hello David, as soon as I saw your publication of the book this one seemed familiar to me, I checked my mailboxes for old messages and in one that I hardly use for several months I found that at the end of July the author of the book sent me a PDF copy of the book for contributing with photo. On page 52 my picture appears, it is the one with the jaws open, at 53 the credits appear on the foot, I saw that there are several friends of mine photographers in part of the book.
    As always an excellent review that shows and details the book.
    I am very happy to collaborate in another publication

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great job, Hernán. I will treasure the book even more now.

      Delete
  17. Thank you very much for this review, David. I am glad you liked the book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for getting in touch, Great job you did with this book, José.

      Delete
  18. Hello David, looks like a wonderful guide with great photos and details. Thanks for sharing your review. I have see fox around my neighborhood. Happy Friday, enjoy your day and weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  19. It looks a super book with great illustrations, layout and details. We used to get foxes in the garden and I remember watching fox cubs playing on the back garden lawn many years ago. Have a good weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Many thanks for the review, it sounds an excellent guide.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
  21. It looks like a very good book.
    The situation here in Finland is unfortunately like Gunilla above writes about Sweden. Yet the numbers show clearly that the human beings and the dogs owned by stupid people are m u c h more dangerous than wolves.

    ReplyDelete

  22. Looks like a beautiful book about the foxes David.
    Greetings Tinie

    ReplyDelete
  23. They say we have coyotes around the lake but I've yet to see or hear one. It looks like a fascinating book. I think of being too urban for the most part, but yes, I suspect they are everywhere and perhaps more now than ever, given that some of their territories have been taken over by development.

    ReplyDelete
  24. hi David,
    It looks indeed like a very interesting and thorough book, and you are really a great guide presenter !!
    Any travel plans???
    I am soon off to Kenya again...
    Warm hugs to you and Miriam

    ReplyDelete