CORVALLIS - A comprehensive, full-page description of 426 different mammals, amphibians, breeding birds and reptiles native to Oregon is the feature of an eye-catching new atlas just published by the Oregon State University Press.
The "Atlas of Oregon Wildlife" makes basic information on Oregon's rich wildlife available for the first time in a single volume. It combines current knowledge on the habitats and life histories of Oregon's wildlife species with computer-generated maps showing their range.
The western terrestrial garter snake, for example, can be found almost anywhere in Oregon. It has several subspecies, however, including the western aquatic garter snake, that lives only in southwestern Oregon, near lakes, wet forests and soggy meadows.
The atlas also describes differences between Anna's hummingbird and the black-chinned hummingbird, outlines similarities among Baird's shrew and the fog shrew, provides details about the forest-loving silver-haired bat, and sheds light on some of Oregon's lesser-known mammals, like the American marten and the wolverine.
And, yes, there are wolverines in Oregon.
Even rarer, perhaps, is the kit fox. A desert species that reaches its northern limit in the southeastern corner of Oregon, it is so rare that its status and precise habitat are largely unknown, the authors point out. Recent surveys found four kit foxes in Oregon in 1990 and seven in 1991.
Those are but a few examples of what the book has to offer, officials say.
"The atlas has been called 'the first of a new generation of natural history books,'" said Tom Booth, marketing manager for The OSU Press. "It can provide interested Oregonians with a basic understanding of Oregon's remarkable wildlife and serve as a useful reference for serious naturalists and wildlife professionals."
Each full-page description looks at the animal's global range, habitat, reproduction, food habits and ecology, and provides additional comments. There also is a drawing of each animal, and information on its size, order, family and federal status. A computer-generated map shows the range of each animal.
Inserted into a pocket on the back cover of the book is a large-format, folded map of Oregon's wildlife habitats that allows for easy, accurate use of the book, Booth said.
The atlas encompasses "all we know to this date" about the geography of Oregon's wildlife, said author Miklos D.F. Udvardy, in praise of the new volume. Udvardy is author of The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Western Region.
"It is unique because it uses vegetation background created by the most modern mapping methods...in tying the occurrence of common, scarce, rare, or vanishing wildlife species to their actually existing habitat in the state of Oregon," Udvardy said.
The senior author of the atlas is Blair Csuti, who has just been named the new Conservation Program coordinator for the Metro Washington Park Zoo. Co-author Jon Kimerling is a professor of geosciences at OSU. Other contributors include Thomas A. O'Neil, Margaret M. Shaughnessy, Eleanor P. Gaines and Manuela M.P. Huso.
The book is available at book stores and libraries throughout Oregon, or can be ordered directly from The OSU Press for $39.95 plus shipping and handling. For more information, call the press at 541-737-3166.
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Tom Booth, 503-282-9801