A new edition of the classic “The Birds of New Jersey” by William J. Boyle Jr. has just been published, and a copy arrived at my door, courtesy of Princeton University Press ($24.95, 308 pages, 200 color pages, and a good index).
I’m not a birder. I bow to my colleague, Carolyn Foote Edelmann, nature writer and blogger extraordinaire on all matters avian.
It won’t help me identify “my” cormorant who sometimes frequents Carnegie Lake at Harrison Street.
But once I know it’s a cormorant (long neck, tiny head) it can tell me that it’s probably the double-crested cormorant rather than the rarer kind, and it offers the fascinating fact that this breed was “heavily persecuted during the 18th and 19th centuries and were extirpated [now there’s a word] from New England, but th population began to recover in the early 20th century. Breeding was suspected [oh the language of birders!] in New Jersey in the 1970s and it was confirmed in 1987. An average of 200,000 double crested cormorants fly through Avalon in the fall….You get the idea.
This book is widely recognized as a comprehensive guide on the status and distribution of more than 450 species found in New Jersey. Each species gets its own map. Birders, this is for you!
Me, I’m lucky to spot the male cardinal.