Birding in British Columbia

A hub for birding information for British Columbia, Canada. Featuring Rare Bird Alerts, directory to nature clubs and online birding groups, birding forums, and more.

Birding Book Recommendations

by K. Slagboom

When choosing your first birding book or field guide, choose one that goes into detail. There is nothing more frustrating then trying to identify a species when your book lacks the information you need.  

Illustrated (colour plate) Field Guides are by far the best choice for a first birding field guide and for species identification. Illustrations offer a better look at colour patterns and markings of a particular bird. Arrows accompanying the illustrations are used to indicate specific field marks to observe when identifying a species.

Photographic based guides, though usually fully detailed with text, are affected by light levels within the photograph. These guides do not offer the same level of detail that can be illustrated however it is sometimes better to see a photograph of a species.

Photographs can give a better three dimensional representation of a bird. Also, most photos include a look at the habitats associated with there particular bird (showing the bird active in that habitat.)


Purchasing books through helps to support the Birding BC web site. Learn more...

Selected North America Birding Books
Purchasing these books through helps to support the Birding BC web site. Learn more...

National Geographic: Birds of North America is known as the field guide of choice. The 7th edition has been expanded and revised to account for recent species additions and name changes.

Sibley Birds West is a comprehensive colour plate guide that includes a good indexing system.



Sibley's Birding Basics
In thi book, Sibley explores general aspects of birding such as getting started, misidentification, voice, understanding feathers, age variation, ethics and conservation, taxonomy, and finding birds.

cover Birds of North America
Kaufman's groundbreaking work combines the best of both approaches by digitally enhancing photographic images to show the characteristics that are sometimes not apparent in photographs.


Peterson's Western Birds is another very good colour plate guide and essential when it comes to learning birding.


The Birders Handbook

The Birder's Handbook is a more in-depth choice if you looking for detailed species information. The book offers essays on various topics including species accounts, sport history, specific traits, aspect explanations, naming, and more.  A must book for the amateur ornithologist.

cover The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior
This well done book fills in the gaps that field guides and bird identification books create.

Life of Birds (DVD)
Hosted by Sir David Attenborough , this 3 dvd set, comprising ten one hour programs on various aspects about birds (hunting, singing, mating, parenting, etc.) is utterly fascinating and informative.

cover Western Birding by Ear
Learning the sounds, songs, and calls of a bird is often very important in correct bird identification.

For indepth information on some of our more difficult to identify species, try Peterson's Advanced Birding written by Ken Kaufman. Advanced Birding details a number of bird identificaion problems and offers clear methods to determine a species.

cover A bird-finding guide to Canada
Editor J. Cam Finlay has drawn on the expertise of birders from every region of the country to tell you what birds to look for and where to find them across each province and territory (including a site guide submitted by Birding BC!)
Down & Dirty Birding Joey Slinger's book Down & Dirty Birding is filled with great tips.  This book contains easy to browse passages that offer a quick and humorous look at our leisure sport.  Pick this book up if you want to add some spice to your birding adventures.

Local Birding Books and Publications:
These books are specific to Victoria, British Columbia however, look for similar books on your area.

Checklist of Birds

Species Occurance List:
The Southern Vancouver Island Checklist of Birds is an essential guide for species occurrences.  It lists each documented species in our area by name and provides a graph to show when it occurred and the relative number present.  You will need this guide if you wish to locate most birds that are present in our area


Area Bird Finding Guides:
A Birder's Guide to Vancouver Island is a good source of information for bird species occurrences in our area.   The book is designed in Birding Loop trips and covers directions to the various birding locations.

Birds of Victoria

Common Bird Books:
The Birds of Victoria is a relatively basic bird book for the Victoria area.  It's best suited for area residents who are non-birders although it does contain a few good location tips. The book highlights some of our more common species although not all are represented.   Illustrations a good and may be helpful for common bird identification.

Victoria Naturalist

Local Clubs/Magazines:
The Victoria Natural History Society publishes a bi-monthly magazine called The Victoria Naturalist.  The Naturalist usually features news and information on birds and locations.  The magazine also contains a calendar of events including upcoming birding tours offered by the society. 

All these Birding books and other titles are available at local bookstores. 
Check around for availability.

Back to Top


Birding in British Columbia is an online magazine and community message board produced and maintained by K. Slagboom | About

Copyright © K. Slagboom 1997-2024.
Web site maintained by Cool New Media