- Texas Waterfowl by William P. Johnson and Mark W. Lockwood
Stretching from central Canada to Mexico and Latin America, the Central Flyway encompasses much of the Great Plains of North America. Millions of birds [End Page 87] journey across the plains landscape, migrating between centuries-old wintering and breeding grounds instinctively following ancestral pathways each spring and fall. In spectacular fashion, flocks of waterfowl—ducks, geese, and swans—form the most conspicuous assemblage of migratory birds in the Central Flyway. Relying on the abundant and diverse wetland habitats of the Great Plains, waterfowl migrate, nest, and winter throughout the region.
Located at the terminus of the Central Flyway of North America and the Great Plains of the United States, the nine ecological regions of Texas support the majority of waterfowl species in the Central Flyway at some point in their life cycle. Most Nearctic and a few Neotropic waterfowl species have been found in Texas, with a few species completely dependent upon wetland habitats within the state for their entire life cycle. Given the vital role of Texas habitats in the support of waterfowl found in the Great Plains, a compilation of available information on waterfowl species in Texas has been lacking until Johnson and Lockwood produced Texas Waterfowl. In accounts of forty-five species of ducks, geese, and swans, they have assembled a comprehensive volume of information.
Arranged in taxonomic order (Tree Ducks, Geese, Swans, Perching Ducks, Dabbling Ducks, Diving Ducks, Sea Ducks, and Stiff-Tailed Ducks), the accounts include common waterfowl species (e.g., mallard, northern pintail, Canada and cackling geese, snow goose), species found in Texas but infrequently elsewhere in the Central Flyway (e.g., mottled duck, whistling duck, Mexican duck, masked duck), and rarely observed visitors (e.g., brant, Eurasian wigeon, white-cheeked pintail, garganey, harlequin duck, and many of the sea ducks). Beginning with an interesting, unique fact for each species, each account includes common and scientific names; an associated full-color photograph; sections on (1) distribution during various seasons in Texas in map and text forms, (2) Texas harvest, (3) longevity based on banding records, (4) population status, (5) diet, (6) species range and habitats, (7) reproduction, and (8) appearance; and a list of information sources. Also included in the volume are (1) definitions of common terminology, (2) definitions of common acronyms, (3) key to map details, (4) plumage treatment, and (5) scientific names of plants and animals other than the waterfowl species mentioned. I was impressed by the thirty-one pages of references supporting the information in the accounts. This section represents a complete bibliography of waterfowl-related publications for Texas and pertinent citations for certain life-history aspects for each species.
Bird and Texas enthusiasts will find the book interesting and useful when seeking information on the namesakes and the habitats that they depend upon. This exceptionally well written, constructed, and arranged volume will provide basic species information for students, managers, and academics involved with waterfowl of Texas. The authors provide such a complete compendium that this volume will be the go-to source of information for many years.
Kansas State University