anyone feel like listing birding books in their collection and how they rate?
i'm always on the look out for new reading material and lately the only subject that really catches my interest is birds (surprise surprise)
i've picked up a few in the last little while and here's how i rate em.
Birds of Canada
- Fred J. Alsop III (DK Books 2004)
this was our first birding book and we bought it so we could actually figure out what the actual birds were were taking pictures of.
i like this book, it's big (682 pgs) and hardcover to boot.
the pictures are all actual photos whenever possible and are overall quite adequate for ID'ing in the comfort of your own home (when reviewing SD cards for instance).
it has an area for writing date, time, location of species seen and we use it and hope to one day fill it up.
it's only downfall is that it only shows profiles of 600 species, and sometimes the photos are lacking.
because of this, i decided to invest in a backup field guide.
The National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
it's a great size and has handy "quick tab" indentations for ease of searching.
the illustrations are top notch and show juveniles and females as well so it's good.
i highly recommend this guide and at 967 species, it should be all you need in North America.
- Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher (Mariner Books 1955).
i just read this recently and was quite moved by the tale of these two legendary naturalists on the road.
it's a diary of the 100 day, 30,000 mile road trip across America, Mexico and even Canada that the two took in 1953, with the intention of seeing as many species as possible.
i think if you want to be a good birder you have to understand a little of the history and this book is considered a must read, and i agree.
it made me want to go out and bird
Kingbird Highway - The biggest year in the life of an extreme birder
- Kenn Kaufman (Houghton Mifflin 1997)
since i got addicted to birding i have found myself buying a new birding book almost every time i go into the bookstore.
recently i picked up Kingbird Highway and found that once i started reading it i couldn't stop.
great tale about birding in the early 70's by a then 18 year old kid, hitch-hiking across the US trying to beat the Big Year record.
i really got into this book and found out more about Birding history and also the desire to get to really understand the birds and not just collect lists like i have found myself doing recently.
In Search of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
- Jerome A. Jackson (Collins 2004)
here's a good read by the worlds expert on the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.
it's a complete natural history of "one of the most exciting and rare birds in the world".
quite addictive i found i couldn't put it down (well, that happens with every bird book i think) and now i know what the Singer Tract is and how it relates to not only Woodpeckers but also sewing machines
North American Game Birds
- (The Hunting and Fishing Library 1996)
this was a bargain hardcover book we found at Book Warehouse and Audy bought originally to give away to birders in Thailand when we visited.
well, i took one look inside and knew we had to keep it.
it's just ducky
excellent photos and useful information including common and regional names, size, migration, habitat, food habits, breeding, social interaction, population, hunting strategies, and..
most importantly, eating quality
The Shorebird Guide
- O'Brien, Crossley and Karlson (Houghton Mifflin 2006)
great book, here is the best book i have ever seen (ok, it's the only one) specializing on shorebirds.
it's filled with lots and lots of photos showing every conceivable variation in form.
if you want to know shorebirds, this is a good start. i'm terrible with them, almost as bad as i am with gulls but with this book, at least i know what i'm looking at when i review the pics from Iona sewage ponds later on.
one last book for today.
i've got a few more in my stack and i'll get to them later.
The Big Year - A tale of man, nature, and fowl obsession
- Mark Obmascik (Free Press 2004)
oh man, this book was great, totally addicting from cover to cover.
it really boosted my overall understanding of birding culture tenfold.
the fact that the author is an award-winning journalist (most recently at the Denver Post) helps propel the true stories of three obsessed listers who chose to embark on a Big Year in 1998.
a Big Year is a grueling 365 day marathon of birding.
the objective is to list every single species in North America and as many Accidentals as possible.
here then is the tale of the 275,000 mile competition undertaken by the 3, one of whom would indeed crush all existing listing records.
did i mention this book was great?
one last gem i took away from it was the fact that in 1998 a Xantu's Hummingbird somehow found it's way up to a backyard feeder in Gibsons and that most of the North American birding elite (including 2 of the 3 in this novel) made their way up to see it.
well, that's all from me, i'm looking forward to reading about what books you all have read and recommend.