'A Miscellany Of Bats' by M. Brock Fenton & Jens RydellThis book has just recently been published (January 10, 2023) by Pelagic Publishing. It's currently available in paperback, and electronic format (Amazon Kindle).
The book is 256 pages in length; and it measures 24.4 X 17.0 X 1.91 Centimeters.
As always, I advise you to shop around for: Best price, and delivery times. See link to NHBS below:
I was very anxious to receive my copy! Had I known that it was going to contain such stunning photographs, I would've been even more impatient!
In an effort to not divulge too much about the book itself, I will focus on the items which I found particularly interesting.
It arrived from the publisher's very well-packed & protected. For starters, when I first thumbed through it (just quickly, mind you) - I couldn't help but notice the amazing photos. Many of which are breathtaking.
The other factor which becomes obvious after a short time, is that this book is meant to be read through - Not just to be referred to. In other words, it isn't strictly a (non-fiction) resource on bats.
Table of contents:
1. Introducing bats
This first chapter covers catching, IDing, marking & tagging bats (pages 5-7). Being a mothing enthusiast for many years myself - I was happy to learn that Jens Rydell started as a moth collector (page 19).
2.Bat wings and flight
Covers bat wing anatomy, and facts related to the way bats fly.
3. Seeing with sound
An excellent chapter, providing an easy to understand introduction to the ways bats use echolocation. Wonderfully presented.
4. Echolocation: a window onto bat behaviour
One of my favorite chapters - provides further details, and even more interesting information on echolocation. Also, a rare glimpse at what detectors look like in the early 1980's! Absolutely loved it!
5. What bats eat, part 1
There are facts and illustrations in this chapter which are simply amazing! The diet of bats is described, as well as the fascinating tactics they use, to acquire their food items of choice.
6.What bats eat, part 2
This chapter mostly deals with bats which eat items other than small insects. Similar to part 1, but in an even more concise and captivating manner.
7. Vampire bats
A slightly shorter chapter than those which preceded it, but rest assured - you will learn some facts which you were completely unaware of! You'll come to understand these enigmatic bats in a different light.
8. Where bats occur and where they roost
In this thorough, and wonderfully illustrated chapter - The reader will again learn many unique facts about where, and how bats select and use roost sites.
9. Social lives of bats
Here, the reader will learn about mating, reproduction, and the social behaviors of bats.
10. How bats use space
At 1st glance, the reader might think this chapter is about how bats use confined space(s) - In actuality, this is not the case. This chapter brings to light several unique facets of their habits (as discovered through research/study).
And I'll leave it that (as a surprise!).
11. Threats to bats
Here the authors cover all of the current threats to the survival of the world's bats. Beginning with natural threats, predators, et cetera; and moves on through to man-made threats: Such as wind farms, etc.
12. Bats and people
This was a concise but very enjoyable chapter. It covers the various relationships between bats and people throughout history. Fascinating and wonderful stuff!
13. Bats as beings
This last chapter, deals with the most fascinating facts - which scientists have learned about bats (relatively recently). The interesting and formally unknown activities of bat species, which recent research has brought to light.
I suppose what's most obvious about this book, is it's suitability and appeal to those with an interest in bats, at just about any level (except perhaps for young children?).
This book would be good for beginners/newcomers, students, as well as experts on bats.
I considered it a valuable book as soon as I saw that M. Brock Fenton was one of the authors - Having read several of his papers, and other examples of his work over several years. For anyone keenly interested in bats, not much more needs to be said about M. Brock Fenton.
I will take this opportunity, to point out - That Neil Middleton had the privilege of interviewing him, for The BatAbility Club (viewable to members only).
I must confess, that I was mostly ignorant of Jens Rydell's work until now. I was very sad to learn of his recent passing. The set-ups he used, to capture such awesome photos of bats in flight, were truly awe-inspiring. And the resulting photographs of bats in flight speak for themselves.
Again, this is a book which you'd sit down, read through; and enjoy! Chapters 3 and 4 essentially provide the reader with a very good basic understanding of: echolocation, the recording of bat calls, and spectrograms.
What I really liked:
The book was easy and pleasurable to read - I learned some very interesting facts about bats which I wasn't aware of.
It would also be a very useful addition to any public library.
What I would've liked to see:
Personally, I would have liked to have seen: More bat detectors, and more details about bat detectors... Because, well...I happen to have an obsession with bat detectors.
Honestly, beyond the preceding, partly tongue-in-cheek comment - I can't find any fault with this book. And would recommend it to anyone, with just about any level of existing knowledge of bats. This book will quickly bring someone up to speed on the fascinating natural history, and behaviour of bats.
The next review, will be of a bat recorder you've most likely never heard of—That's about to change... As with the TeensyBat 4.1, just recently reviewed here on the blog — it is also primarily a DIY detector. However, there is also an effort being made, which will allow Folks to purchase this detector already built, and flashed (programmed) and ready to go. That is about all I'm going to say about it for now. But I have been looking forward to reviewing it. Both for the BatAbility club as well as here on the blog, and sharing it with everyone!
Until next time,
Happy bat detecting!