Review of Petrels, Albatrosses & Storm-Petrels of North America

The following is a review of the beautiful book on tubenoses: Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm-Petrels of North America: A Photographic Guide by Steve N. G. Howell.

Steve N. G. Howell’s book on the tubenoses is thorough and highly enjoyable. No other single source provides so much information on such a complicated group of birds.

These birds belong to the “superfamily Procellarioidea, which also includes frigatebirds, penguins, and loons.”

Living in the midwest we are unaccustomed to the petrels, albatrosses, and storm-petrels but on occasion we have visited the coasts and seen a few.

“…tubenoses are a well-defined group of seabirds that comprise the order Procellariiformes, and are so-named because their nostrils are encased in tube-like structures on the bill.”

These seabirds use their nostrils to “…drink saltwater and excrete surplus salt in solutions that leak out of the nostril tubes.”

This photographic guide provides the means necessary to learn how to identify these pelagic species by including numerous photos along with the detailed text. The text explains what to look for in the field, similar species to compare with, as well as habitat and behavior.

Surprisingly, the ocean isn’t just one giant habitat of salty seawater “…but instead they comprise many habitats usually invisible to the human eye.”

“On land, these habitats would be as different as deserts are from rainforests, and at sea they are mobile deserts and rainforests!”

Accompanying the species accounts is a colorful map that shows sea range, molting area, breeding range, as well as main migration routes. The main routes even include numbers that indicate seasonal occurrence: 3-4 (March-April) for example.

Also included in the text is conservation information including why tubenoses are important, the threats they face, and what we can do to help them out.

Whether you have a growing interest in these fascinating sea birds or are a seasoned pelagic birder, Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm-Petrels of North America: A Photographic Guide is the guide for you to learn all about some of the most complicated and interesting birds of the world.

Disclaimer: We received a free copy of this book from Princeton University Press to review on Birdfreak.com. The book title links are Amazon affiliate links.

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