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Our look is the result of reader comments, our own experimentation, and feedback from distribution channels. Distinctive covers complement our distinctive approach to technical topics, breathing personality and life into potentially dry subjects.
The animals on the cover of Integrating Excel and Access are common partridges (perdix cinerea or perdix perdix), one of several species known collectively as the gray partridge. A non-migratory game bird native to Europe, the gray partridge was introduced to North America when its numbers in Europe began to decline, and it is now common in the northern United States and southern Canada. The decline of the gray partridge in Europe is thought to be due to changes in European agricultural practices, such as the use of herbicides, rather than to overenthusiastic hunters.
The gray partridge is a round, plump bird usually between a foot and a foot and a half long. The male has a mottled plumage of gray and brown, highlighted by a cinnamon-red face and throat and a distinctive horeshoe-shaped, chestnut-colored mark on his belly. The female looks similar but is duller in color, and her horseshoe patch may be lighter or smaller than the male's, or it may not show up at all. Once known simply as "the partridge," their name changed when the red-legged partridge became common the "gray" was then added due to the color of their legs.
Gray partridges live mainly on farmland and feed on grass and seeds, although chicks eat insects for the first few weeks of life. Their breeding season lasts from mid-April to early September, when the female may lay up to 20 eggs in her nest, also known as a clutch, which is usually hidden in a depression in the ground at the base of a hedge or a group of plants. The eggs hatch after almost a month, and both parents tend the chicks together. After the breeding season, they form larger groups called coveys.
Despite the impression given in the holiday song "The Twelve Days of Christmas," gray partridges generally fly close to the ground and do not nest in trees. However, the male red-legged partridge apparently sat in pear trees and was commonly known in folklore to be lascivious, not unlike the way we think of rabbits today. Pear trees were involved in traditional celebrations of Twelfth Night, including wassailing of fruit trees and even fertility rituals, in which a maiden circled a pear tree backward to reveal her future husband's face within its branches. Perhaps these associations eventually helped "the partridge in the pear tree" work his way into the song.
Reba Libby was the production editor and copyeditor for Integrating Excel and Access. Ann Atalla proofread the book. Colleen Gorman and Claire Cloutier provided quality control. John Bickelhaupt wrote the index.
Karen Montgomery designed the cover of this book, based on a series design by Edie Freedman. The cover image is a 19th-century engraving from Cassel's Natural History. Karen Montgomery also produced the cover layout with Adobe InDesign CS using Adobe's ITC Garamond font.
David Futato designed the interior layout. This book was converted by Keith Fahlgren to FrameMaker 5.5.6 with a format conversion tool created by Erik Ray, Jason McIntosh, Neil Walls, and Mike Sierra that uses Perl and XML technologies. The text font is Linotype Birka; the heading font is Adobe Myriad Condensed; and the code font is LucasFont's TheSans Mono Condensed. The illustrations that appear in the book were produced by Robert Romano, Jessamyn Read, and Lesley Borash using Macromedia FreeHand MX and Adobe Photoshop CS. The tip and warning icons were drawn by Christopher Bing. This colophon was written by Reba Libby.
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