Cornell Univ. 2012. 224p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780801451812. $35. NAT HIST
OrangeReviewStarMikkola's (Owls of Europe) superb reference title covers perennially popular owls. Excellent color photographs capture the charm and allure of these elusive, mysterious birds. Much more than a photographic guide, the book features authoritative and extensive text that aids with identification and discusses food, hunting, calls, status, distribution, alternative names, habitat, geographic variation, and similar species. Offering attractive range maps and an astounding 739 high-quality color photographs for all but 10 of 249 species, Mikkola's landmark title is not overpriced. The maps are good but would be improved if some political boundaries were shown. Claus König's Owls: A Guide to Owls of the World is also excellent, shows political boundaries, and has a much more extensive bibliography, but the paintings, although good enough, have a washed out, unsatisfying aspect. Mikkola's introduction covers owls' general biology and shared qualities in detail, with a glossary, and is a fine resource in its own right.
VERDICT Attractive, complete, and handy, this book is most highly recommended for all but the smallest academic and public libraries.
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