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The Audubon Bird Guide App is now free for mobile devices. The songs and calls in this app are nearly identical to that of other birding apps, such as The Sibley Guide to Birds. Visit this site for more information.
I am usually not one for field guides that use images/photos rather than illustrations, but I am really digging The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds: Western Region by Donald and Lillian Stokes. There’s a ton of valuable information packed into this field guide including the ABA Code, Subspecies, and Hybrids among the usual information stored in field guides. Each plate has images of each age and sex for that species along with an abundance of essential information regarding the identification of each species.The range maps, the range maps, THE RANGE MAPS! Paul Lehman drew them. Enough said.
The photos inside this book are absolutely stunning and the plates are comprised of over 2,400 images. Some plates have only a couple images and others have ten or more depending on the complexity of molt, plumage differences, and various subspecies. The photos are just downright amazing. Even the LBJs, oh, I mean the drab sparrows, are easily identifiable using The NEW Stokes Field Guide to Birds: Western Region.
As you can see in this Rough-legged Hawk plate, there is a photo for just about every age and color morph you will see in the field, if not all.
Black and Say’s Phoebes are less complex than the aforementioned Rough-legged Hawk and therefore only a few photos are needed to describe the species.
For this review, I focused on the photos because that is what people look at in field guides. Sure the text is very IMPORTANT and I recommend that everyone read the species accounts in this comprehensive guide to better understand the avifauna of this wonderful country.
A great compliment to this guide is the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs: Western Region CD. Learning bird songs is invaluable when preparing for going into the field. You can check out this CD on Amazon.
About the authors – “Don and Lillian Stokes are widely recognized as America’s foremost authorities on birds and nature. Their books include the bestselling Stokes Field Guide to Birds, the Stokes Beginner’s Guide to Birds, the Stokes Nature Guides, and the Stokes Backyard Nature Books. They live in New Hampshire and Georgia.”
More on this new guide from Little, Brown and Company –
“The culmination of many years of research, observation, and study, the THE NEW STOKES FIELD GUIDE TO BIRDS: Western Region is factually, visually, and organizationally superior to any other photographic field guide available.
* special help for identifying birds in flight through important clues of behavior, plumage, and shape
* detailed descriptions of songs and calls
* important behavioral information and key habitat preferences
* the newest range maps, detailing species’ winter, summer, year-round ranges, and migration routes
Whether you are a novice or experienced birder, this new Stokes guide will take your birding to the next level.”
Disclosure – Little, Brown and Company kindly provided us with a review copy of this book.
As a birder, any new guide about birds excites me. Birds of North America and Greenland by Norman Arlott, is an illustrative checklist aimed at covering the Nearctic region. It contains over 900 bird species with 104 plates color plates that show every species. The idea of an illustrated checklist is unfamiliar to me, so I’m glad that I have the opportunity to review this book.
The most interesting feature of this book is that it covers Greenland, an area not usually covered by field guides to North America. I found the illustrations to be nice but since it lacked juveniles and immature plates, I don’t think it would be the most useful book to bring into the field. If I wanted to use a field guide with unusual species, I would just use the National Geographic guide.
One question I ask when looking at a new book is- who will benefit using this? I don’t believe that this illustrative checklist fills any void that currently exists in bird identification literature. If you’re looking for a good field guide you would be better served sticking to the Sibley or Peterson guides.