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Bird behavior insight in two new books

The possible subjects for books about birds appear endless. For example, from Pelagic Publishing comes "Raptor Prey Remains: A Guide to Identifying What's Been Eaten by a Bird of Prey."

Avian forensics (is the TV show next?) is examined by author Ed Drewitt in text and explicit photographs. I've done a bit of this, along with occasional stops for close looks at roadkill. Animals hard to see in detail when alive are a cinch to see when dead.

Drewitt is British, and his animals remains are likewise, but that's not a problem because many of the birds (it's mostly birds) he uses as examples can be seen here, and his identification of bird parts — wing feathers, tails, feet — are useful anywhere. A leg is a leg is a leg.

The book is available in paperback, 230 pages, over 750 color photos, $32.99 from Target among other sources.

Also available from Pelagic is "Bird Senses: How and What Birds See, Hear, Smell, Taste, and Feel." This is an encyclopedic examination of bird life basics. Author Graham R. Martin offers information on bird behavior that makes birding more interesting, and birds perhaps more available to your search. Paperback, 270 pages, illustrated, $39, available through Amazon among other sources.

Jim Williams

Osprey and DDT

Our recent column about ospreys mentioned their recovery from population losses here caused by the impact of DDT. The environmental poison accumulates as it moves up the food chain — insects to fish to birds. DDT causes thin eggshells, and osprey eggs breaking during incubation. Vanessa Greene, who runs the Twin Cities Metro Osprey Watch (Facebook) and who is my source for all things osprey, tells me that unfortunately DDT continues in common use in South America, where many of our ospreys spend winters. The chemical is used to fight malarial mosquitoes.J.W.