Why do quaking aspens grow in prominent clumps rather than randomly scattered across the landscape? Why and how does a rufous hummingbird drop its metabolism to one-hundredth of its normal rate? Why do bull elk grow those enormous antlers?
Using his experience as a biologist and ecologist, George Constantz illuminates these and other remarkable slices of mountain life in plain and engaging language. His provocative accounts of birds, insects, rodents, predators, trees, and flowers are sure to stir the reader's curiosity. Who wouldn't be intrigued by a rattlesnake's ability to hunt in total darkness by detecting the infrared radiation emitted by a mouse? Or the adaptations of white-tailed ptarmigan that allow them to thrive in their high, treeless alpine environments-even through the winter? The narratives, often brought home with a counterintuitive twist, invite readers to make new connections and broaden perspectives of a spectacular outdoor place.
George Constantz is an independent ecologist with special interest in fishes, streams, and watersheds. He has invested over twenty years working with grassroots watershed organizations to develop their scientific and organizational capacities. He has taught biology and ecology at both the high school and university levels. His first book, Hollows, Peepers, and Highlanders: An Appalachian Mountain Ecology, is now in its second edition.