Chasing Warblers.—Vera Thornton and Bob Thornton. 1999. University of Texas Press, Austin. x + 148 pp., 90 color photographs, 1 map. ISBN 0-292-78162-8. Cloth, $40.00. ISBN 0-292-781636. Paper, $19.95.—Bill and Vera Thornton take the reader along on their nine-year odyssey to locate and photograph all 52 wood-warbler species that regularly nest in North America. Although they did not start out to do so, somewhere along the journey an amusing hobby became a serious endeavor. Each chapter retraces their successes and shortfalls from the time that the Thorntons locate and photograph their first warbler in Texas in 1987 until the last one near Jama, Mexico, in 1996. Included in this entertaining account are dozens of important behavioral observations about each warbler species that will enhance any birder's warbler knowledge and increase his or her likelihood of catching a glimpse or perhaps even photographing these sometimes-elusive birds.
As the Thorntons chase warblers from Mexico to Canada, from sea to shining sea, through meadows and bogs, up mountains and into dense woods, the reader is introduced to many of the dedicated individuals from all walks of life encountered along the journey. Never far from their thoughts is their deep concern about habitat destruction in the Neotropical wintering grounds of Central America and the summer nesting grounds in North America. The photographs taken by Vera Thornton are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Each location and bird is documented, and details regarding the methods used to obtain these photographs are included in the text.
Overall, this book is an inspiring winter read in anticipation of one of spring's most captivating group of visitors, and Vera Thornton has already lowered the gauntlet for the next adventure, chasing the warblers of Mexico.