Donald J. Forrester and Marilyn G. Spalding. 2003. University Press of Florida. Gainesville, Florida. 1,024 pp., 256 figures, 494 tables, 59 drawings, bibliographies, index. ISBN 0-8130-2560-5. Cloth, $125.00. —This book is fantastic at providing extensive information on the parasites and diseases of 311 of the 457 species of birds that occur in Florida or its offshore waters.
The book commences with a definition of disease and a table of the fundamental categories of morbidity and mortality in wild birds and is followed by chapters based on individual species or groups of similar birds. Those categories are used to outline each chapter, which makes it very easy to find specific material throughout the book. A “Summary and Conclusion” at the end of every chapter puts the various diseases and parasites into perspective, giving the reader a concise picture of which diseases and parasites are most important for a species. Each chapter contains numerous tables, including (but not limited to): parasites reported, residue levels of various toxins, and infectious agents for a species. There are also numerous photographs depicting gross and microscopic lesions for the pathologically inclined. Although this book emphasizes wild birds in Florida, the scope is much broader than the title would imply. First, many of the birds discussed in this book occur outside of Florida, so it will be of interest to a much wider audience than just Floridians. Second, each chapter is extensively referenced with information gathered anywhere those birds occur and a wealth of unpublished data that cannot be found elsewhere. It is doubtful that such extensive information on so many species of birds can be found in any other text. This book will be a welcome addition to the personal library of anyone working with birds and is a must for all university libraries. Forrester and Spalding have created a masterpiece.