Cover image for Gatherings of angels : migrating birds and their ecology
Gatherings of angels : migrating birds and their ecology
Able, Kenneth P.
Publication Information:
Ithaca, NY : Comstock Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
xi, 193 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 24 cm
Scope and evolution of bird migration / How birds migrate : flight behavior, energetics, and navigation / Neotropical migrants and the Gulf of Mexico : the view from aloft / Neotropical migrants and the Gulf of Mexico : the cheniers of Louisiana and stopover ecology / Returning to the tropics : the epic autumn flight of the blackpoll warbler / Racing with the sun : the forced migration of the broad-winged hawk / Sandhill cranes and the Platte River / Hemispheric globetrotting of the white-rumped sandpiper / Converging north : dunlins and western sandpipers on the Copper River Delta / Hummingbirds in Rocky Mountain meadows / Conservation of birds on migration
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL698.9 .G38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
QL698.9 .G38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The migration of birds has forever amazed and confounded onlookers. How do birds find their way to their destinations? How do they withstand the dangers and rigors of long-distance flight? The survival of migrant birds is increasingly threatened by environmental degradation and manmade hazards; their protection is more critical than ever. Gatherings of Angels offers first-hand accounts by leading experts who convey the beauty and excitement of migration while communicating important messages about avian conservation. The book features twenty-four pages of stunning color photographs with additional black-and-white photographs throughout. Two chapters of background information on migration precede chapters that focus on different species or groups of birds and the localities essential to their survival-from the spring flights of songbirds across the Gulf of Mexico to the massing of sandhill cranes on the Platte River. The authors discuss the timing of migrant travel; the routes followed; and the concentration of birds in stop-over sites, locations that must be preserved if they are to have secure resting spots with fresh water and ample food to fuel their journey.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

The use of radar was an important tool in the elucidation of the fascinating phenomenon of bird migration. Early radar echoes of flying birds or unknown sources were referred to as "angels." The major part of this work consists of a series of chapters by several experts describing their research into the mysteries of migration. Six chapters provide specific examples of species life history and migratory patterns. Four other chapters explain the mechanics, energetics, risks, and stresses of migration as well as the importance of habitat. Degradation of habitat along migration routes is of crucial concern. While intended for lay readers, this book is more technical and includes more detailed examples than Scott Weidensaul's Living on the Wind: Across the Globe with Migratory Birds (LJ 4/15/99). Overall treatment of the subject is excellent. Recommended for public and academic libraries.√ĄTim McKimmie, New Mexico State Univ. Lib, Las Cruces (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Each year, billions of birds pass literally above our heads and figuratively beneath our noses. Few people are aware of the magnitude of bird migration and the challenges that birds face when undertaking seasonal movements that can span thousands of miles. Consider the ten-gram Blackpoll Warbler's epic 2,000-mile nonstop autumn flight from New England to Venezuela. Able's edited collection of essays has taken on one of the most remarkable feats in the natural world and made it understandable to the layperson. All nine contributing authors use an informal, jargon-free style with a blend of anecdotes and well-grounded science to build an appreciation for their subject. Able begins with a well-organized overview of how birds migrate, which includes discussions of flight behavior, energetics, and navigation. Additional chapters discuss the migration of songbirds, raptors, shorebirds, cranes, and hummingbirds. The focus is largely on birds of the Western Hemisphere, with special emphasis on the Gulf of Mexico. There are 24 color and numerous black-and-white photos and illustrations. Among recent books on bird migration, such as Peter Berthold's Bird Migration: A General Survey (CH, Sep'94) and Paul Kerlinger's How Birds Migrate (1995), this is one of the most accessible to readers with a basic background in science, birding, and ornithology. General readers; upper-division undergraduate and graduate students; professionals. D. Flaspohler; Michigan Technological University