I and the Bird

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Book Recommendations

My office has an awesome library full of books on nature, parks, timber management, geography and other environmental stuff. Naturally, I find myself drifting to the Bird field guide and reference section, and I've discovered a few books that I like very much.

Seabirds of the World: The Complete Reference.
Jim Enticott and David Tipling

I've decided that seabirds are my favorite. They don't try to hide or force you to cover yourself in bug spray or get up at ungodly hours...they just sit by the beach and wait.

This book contains beautiful photos of every seabird in the world, with full descriptions. That said, this book is more useful as a 'wish list' than a field guide, as the large size, hardcover and dust jacket make it less than idea for carrying out to sea. The pictures are lovely, though, and looking through the book makes me want to venture to far-flung places to see these birds.

Top 5 seabirds I want to see after reading this book:
5. adult breeding Imperial Shag
4. White Tern
3. Pacific Gull
2. Ross's Gull
1. totally white phase Southern Giant Petrel

Here's a link for Amazon.com ordering information.

Jim Flegg's Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe
Jim Flegg, with photographs by Eric and David Hosking

I usually don't like field guides that use photographs instead of drawings...but I find that a good picture is often more helpful for giving a real sense of the bird. Photos give a better sense of size, color and for the way shadows play off birds in the wild. This guide to Europe has a lot of very clear photos (full photos, not cutouts...). More importantly, the descriptions and range maps are laid out very simply.

British and European birds I most want to see after looking at this book:
5. White-Breasted Kingfisher
4. White-Headed Duck
3. Bullfinch
2. Rock Thrush
1. Lammergeyer

Ordering information from The Birding Shop can be found here.

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America
David Sibley

No offense to you, RT Peterson, but the Sibley guides are the best. More plumages, better descriptions, better range maps. I have the larger Birds of North America book, but these pocket editions are the best ones for bringing into the field. Each species is given it's own space with clear drawings of birds in multiple plumages, as well as range maps that include migration and rare sightings. This is the book I'll carry with me in Colorado.

Western birds I most want to see after reading this book:
5. Varied Thrush
4. American Dipper
3. Laysan Albatross
2. Montezuma Quail
1. Ferruginous Hawk

Click here for some Amazon.com ordering information.
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