Resources for (fledgling) Ornithologists:
Bird Conservancy. 1997. All the Birds of North America. Harper
This guide is in a non-standard format--birds are grouped by habitat and
overall gestalt or some hook, like "tree-climbers" or
"ground-walkers". If you're used to a book that follows the
standard taxonomic sequence, this may be a bit of a bother.
Birds of North America, Revised and Updated: A Guide To
Field Identification (Golden Field Guide from St.
Martin's Press) by Chandler S. Robbins, Bertel Bruun, Herbert S. Zim, and
Arthur Singer. 2001. I really liked the previous edition--haven't seen this
Kaufman, K. Field Guide to Birds of North America. Turtleback
Press. This is a guide illustrated by photographs worked over in Photoshop.
World-renowned birder Kenn Kaufman addresses a long-running paradox of bird
field guides with his Focus Guide. While beginning birdwatchers prefer
photographic guides like those by
Donald Stokes, the
physical traits that make identification easier are more readily discerned
in the idealized paintings of illustrative guides like those by
Roger Tory Peterson and
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. .
Geographic Society. 2002. Field Guide to the Birds of North America.
edition (1999). National Geographic Society.
review from from Publishers Weekly: The fourth edition of this popular field
guide adds some valuable features, including updated maps and taxonomic
classifications. A new "quick-find" index of common groups refers
experienced birders to the right page, fast, but won't be much use to
novices. Nevertheless, the book's organization is clear, the illustrations
are realistic and more colorful than ever, and the range maps are easy to
understand. The guide covers all North American bird species, including
seabirds. In his introduction to the new edition, Cornell ornithologist John
W. Fitzpatrick motivates birders of all levels, extolling the virtues of
this field guide in helping ordinary citizens add to the store of scientific
knowledge. And he's right: marking the little checkboxes in the index as you
spot each species is satisfying science that can be done by anyone,
including kids. Another delightful feature is the phonetic spellings of bird
calls, such as the "kakakowlp-kowlp" of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo
or the "few-few-fawee" of the Western bluebird. This remains one
of the best portable bird guides in publication, tough enough to take in the
field, but detailed enough for hours of armchair browsing. 800
illustrations, 630 maps. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
R.T. Field Guide Series: Eastern Birds, Western Birds, Bird Nests, etc.
Houghton Mifflin. Always classic. Great for getting started.
Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America. Knopf. 2003. Sibley
burst on the scene a few years back with a remarkably detailed field guide,
which was a bit large to take in the field. In 2003 he published a
pocket-sized version that has fantastic detail, text, and maps. You can't go
wrong with this one.
S. N. G., and S. Webb. 1995. A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern
Central America. Oxford
A must if you're going south of the border.
The Mecklenburg Audubon Society has a great summary of what you need to
know before buying a pair of binoculars. Click
here to read their info.
Another good source to read before buying binoculars:
A. O. U. Checklist of North American Birds. 6th Ed. 1983. Published by A.O.U./Allen
Press, Lawrence, KS. (Fifth Edition available in Atkins)
Families of the World. C.F.O. Harrison, editor. 1978. Harry N. Abrams, Inc.,
New York, NY.
of North America Project - Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA.
Alan Poole, Managing editor. -- Available on-line at the Atkins Library
of the World: A Checklist, 2nd Edition. J. F. Clements. 1978. The Two
Continents Publishing Group, LTD, New York, NY.
Dictionary of Birds. B. Campbell and E. Lack, eds. 1985. Buteo Books,
of Scientific Bird Names. J.A. Jobling. 1991. Oxford University Press.
of Birds of the World. Vols. 1-4. (4 more on the way) ($$$$). Lynx Edicions,
of North American Birds. Vols. 1-5: Loons - Diurnal Raptors. Yale Univ.
Press, New Haven.
C. Bents Life Histories (Smithsonian Institution Bulletins ca. 1910-
This was effectively replaced by the Birds of North America Project, but still
is delightful to read.
Birders Handbook. P. Ehrlich et al.
Simon and Schuster.
Checklist of Birds of the World
Sand-county Almanac. 1949. Aldo Leopold
Birds of the Americas: The ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book.
3rd Edition. 1992. Nigel Collar, et
al. Smithsonian Inst. Press, Washington, DC
to Watch 2: The World List of Threatened Birds. 1994. Nigel Collar, M. J.
Crosby, and A. J. Sattersfield. Birdlife International, Cambridge, UK (1988
edition available in Atkins, 1994 edition available from Dr. Bierregaard)
Have All the Birds Gone. John Terborgh. 1992. Princeton Univ. Press,
Condor's Shadow : The Loss and Recovery of Wildlife in America. 1999. David
Wilcove. W. H. Freeman.
(Ornithological Societies of North America) Journals:
Condor (Cooper Ornithological Society)
Wilson Bulletin (Wilson Ornithological Society)
J. Raptor Research
J. Field Ornithology (Formerly Bird Banding)
(British Ornithological Union)
(Bulletin of British Ornithologists Club)
Talk: Science and the Voices of Nature. 1992. E. S. Morton and J. Page.
Random House, NY
The Singing Life of Birds. Don Kroodsma.
CD and tape:
to Bird Songs. National Geographic Society and the Library of Natural Sounds.
by Ear series (different regions and introductory and advanced CDs) produced by
the Peterson Field Guide Series.
The best way to learn bird vocalizations.
ultimate source for Natural Sounds (there are a couple of other major
collections, but this is the one I have contributed to and rely on:
MacAuly Library (formerly the Library
of Natural Sounds
Laboratory of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Rd
Ithaca NY 14850
- Miscellaneous bird chatter, and plenty of it (careful, this can flood your
- Updates on unusual sightings (also BIRDWEST, etc.)
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- Updates on conservation legislation (not just birds)