I mentioned a while back that I was looking for books that would talk about the kind of creatures I found in my back yard. The Urban Naturalist isn't quite the book I was looking for--I am hoping for an actual study of animal interactions--but it's a start.
Garber describes the kinds of plants, animals, and insects that typically do well in U. S. cities, everything from mugwort to seagulls and ravens. He approaches the city as another natural environment, watching to see what lives there and in what kinds of habitats. There are brief discussions of ways that we, as humans, can make cities more hospitable to more species, and comments on ways in which, occasionally, cities are better for some animals than the country (fewer agricultural pesticides ranks high on the list).
The book is an encyclopedic list of species rather than an overall study, and some entries are more interesting than others, as he varies between a more detached tone and one of personal involvement. Garber's enthusiasm for weeds is contagious, and there are touches of humor in some of the entries, such as the one on cockroaches--In Germany, German cockroaches are "called Russian cockroaches, but in the Soviet Union, they are called South European roaches. No one seems to want to accept responsibility for the origin of this invertebrate."
The two big drawbacks of the book are its age--there is time for quite a bit of change between 1987 and 2010--and the absence of color photographs. Many of the weeds and several of the different animal species he describes are very similar in appearance, and the occasional black and white sketch is no help at all to the amateur weeding her yard.
Worth checking out of the library but not a keeper, not unless a later, updated edition is issued.
Side note: It did answer one of my earlier gardening questions: Were the yellow jackets responsible for the fact that there were many fewer fritillaries last year? Probably they were. Yellow jackets eat both nectar and other insects.