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Raptors of California

Hans J. Peeters (Author), Pam Peeters (Author), Hans J. Peeters (Illustrator)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 340 pages
ISBN: 9780520242005
February 2005
$28.95, £24.00
Raptors—the charismatic group of birds that includes hawks, eagles, and falcons—evoke power, swiftness, and grace. Raptors, or birds of prey, gaze calmly about while at rest, exuding confidence and nobility, and, while soaring aloft, they are absolute icons of the California landscape. Featuring descriptions of every diurnal California raptor, this state-of-the-art, beautifully illustrated guide is the first to combine identification of these important birds with a comprehensive discussion of their natural history.

Raptors of California notes well-established field marks in addition to introducing several new pointers that help distinguish especially difficult species. More than a field guide, the book also includes information on raptor anatomy, foraging, reproduction, movement, where and how to observe raptors, human-raptor interactions, raptor conservation, endangered species, caring for injured hawks, falconry, and more. Of special interest is the inclusion of previously unpublished descriptions of raptor behavior and many fascinating anecdotes and vivid observations from the field that provide new insights into the lives of these captivating birds.

* Covers 27 species, with range maps for the 18 species regularly occurring in California

* 104 color figures include photographs and wash drawings illustrating habitats, anatomy, field marks, and behavior

* 12 full-page color plates show the various plumages of each species—including rarities—as well as their appearance in flight

* Highly readable and accessible, even when covering complicated topics such as flight and evolutionary adaptations
What is a Raptor?
Raptor Names
A Hawk’s Body
Hawk Identification
Pitfalls of Identification
Field Marks
A Hawk’s Life
Hunting and Eating
Territoriality and Reproduction
Dispersal and Migration
Finding and Watching Hawks
How to Find Hawks
Where to Look for Hawks
Finding Certain Species
Finding Raptor Nests
Circumstantial Evidence
How to Watch Hawks
Reading a Raptor’s Mind
Binoculars and Spotting Scopes
Cameras and Photography
Hawk-watching Etiquette
Hawks and Humans
Attitudes Past and Present
Conservation Laws and History
Threatened and Endangered Species
Species of Special Concern
Conservation Methods
Disturbance by Humans
Caring for Injured Birds
Recreational and Educational Activities
Species Accounts
Color Plates
References and Works Cited
Hans J. Peeters and Pam Peeters have spent all their lives in the field bird watching. Hans J. Peeters, Professor of Biology/Zoology emeritus at Chabot College, is coauthor, with E.W. Jameson, Jr., of Mammals of California (revised edition, 2004) and American Hawking (1970). His illustrations have appeared in many bird guides including The American Bird Conservancy’s All the Birds of North America (1997), Book of North American Birds (1990), and the Smithsonian’s forthcoming Birds of India. An award-winning painter, two of his depictions of Golden Eagles have appeared on Mexican stamps.
“Raptors of California gives a look at everything from eagles to falcons, with color plates, photos and locator maps.”—Lee Sutter San Luis Obispo Tribune
“Profiles the magnificent bird group that includes hawks, eagles and falcons. . . . Raptors of California is especially notable for pointing out distinguishing marks of difficult-to-identify species.”—Santa Cruz Sentinel
“Hans and Pam Peeters of Sunol have coauthored a natural history guide on California raptors that lifts this form of literature to a new level vis a vis its readability. Such guides tend to be suffocatingly technical. . . His guide doesn’t ignore such data, but is is also spiced with anecdotes and observations that show hawks, eagles, falcons and other raptors of California to be more than just their feathers and markings. The book . . . shows them to be creatures with diverse and fascinating personalities. . . . Raptors of California will be prized by more than raptor watchers. It’s one of those books that belongs in every library-a book you return on again and again and again, dipping in it a few pages at a time.”—The Independent
“The book is a pure delight to read.”—Western North American Naturalist
“Raptors of California offers excellent tips, techniques, and tricks for straightforward bird identification. But it does more than that: The husband-and-wife team of Hans and Pam Peeters write in a light-handed but comprehensive style that engages the reader with creative analogies and humorous anecdotes. . . . Whether you are interested in learning about raptor anatomy, foraging, reproduction, where and how to observe raptors, raptor conservation, endangered species or caring for injured hawks, you will find the answers here.”—Jessica Takman Bay Nature
“An extensive and authoritative compendium . . . a delightful and educational volume that makes many past efforts seem pedestrian by comparison, and at a level to which many future books will probably only aspire.”—Birding
“A book that far transcends its original purpose: it is much more than a good PR job. It is a creative triumph. . . . The book starts, as others have done, with an examination of raptors in general, from their scientific names, through their biology in the widest sense to their mental faculties and continues with a review of the universals of hawk behaviour . . . If this should sound rather dry, do not be deceived, for this falconer knows not only what he’s talking about but how to talk about it also. . . . The many paintings made to illustrate whatever is being discussed in the text are drawings in a brown wash on tinted paper . . . every one of them is a gem. . . . It may not be essentially a falconer’s book but any falconer who reads it will probably feel like singing with Al Jolson, and me, ‘California here I come!’”—John Loft British Falconers’ Journal
“This richly illustrated volume supplies both an identification guide and a comprehensive overview of raptor biology. While few people will take this book into the field to identify raptors, the detailed species accounts will serve as an important reference for birders. The authors draw upon their extensive birding background to include many observations and notes that are specific to California. Hans Peeters is also a highly accomplished artist. His many lively illustrations combine accurate detail with a rich sense of the birds' life. Together with a wealth of photographs, these images capture the myriad ways that raptors inhabit the landscape of California.”—David Lukas California Wild
“Featuring numerous range maps, color plates and photos, this is an outstanding paperback guide you’ll definitely want with you in the field.”—Bob Walch Coast Views
“[Hans’] latest work, Raptors of California, once again effectively showcases both his skill as a writer and his in-depth knowledge of raptors. . . . The book does double duty as the first half features some excellent natural history information. There is a nicely organized introduction and several well-illustrated chapters dealing with a Hawk’s Life. . . . It’s clear that this is not your run-of-the-mill field guide. It offers the reader an in-depth look into the lives of the raptors of California, conveyed in a manner that is sure to please a wide audience. . . . The artwork in the book is superb. . . . Overall, this is a nice piece of work by Hans an Pam Peeters. The writing is concise, yet very information and the $17.95 price of the paperback is a real bargain. It deserves a place in the library of any falconer or raptor enthusiast.”—Jon d’Arpino Hawk Chalk
"Although written for California, this book will be prized by raptor watchers from around the US for its insightful and descriptive notes on behavior and ecology and its gorgeous and accurate paintings."—Allen Fish, Director, Golden Gate Raptor Observatory

"This is actually two books for the price of one; the introductory chapters stand-alone as an excellent natural history of North America raptors, and the species accounts and spectacular plates make this one of the best state raptor books available."—Lloyd Kiff, Science Director, The Peregrine Fund

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