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North American Hummingbirds: An Identification GuideNorth American Hummingbirds: An Identification Guide
by George C. West

From University of New Mexico Press:

Designed to help birders and banders identify, age, and sex all seventeen species of hummingbirds found in North America, this is the only identification guide devoted entirely to hummingbirds that includes up-close, easy-to-use illustrations. It also provides information on the eight species that have been reported but rarely seen in North America.

On first viewing hummingbirds are often a blur of fast-moving color. However, when they perch and hover they can be observed, and the size, shape, and color; the proportions of the body, bill, throat, and tail; the wing feather pattern; and the birds’ behavior are crucial to accurate identification. The author’s concise descriptions and illustrations pinpoint all these features in clear, jargon-free language. Anyone who loves hummingbirds will welcome the information he provides.


This guide is small, like the birds it covers, but it’s filled with information, photos, and other illustrations. It should prove to be very handy, especially in locations where multiple hummingbird species are possible.


North American Hummingbirds: An Identification Guide
by George C. West
Paperback; 256 pages
University of New Mexico Press; November 15, 2015
ISBN: 9780826337672

Perhaps the only thing better than bird books is…cheap bird books! Here are the current bargains, which I’ll try to keep up-to-date.

Amazon has a 30% off coupon good for a single book from Nov 29-30.

Barnes & Noble

B&N usually has some good deals for Black Friday. There’s a selection of gift books for 50% off, including Bird Love, The Butterflies of North America, and Wildlife of the World. To make the deal even better:

  • 30% off coupon – enter code 30BFRIDAY at checkout. Valid 11/26-29
  • Buy $50 in gift cards, get $10 for later. This is probably in the form of a $10 gift card that you can use after Christmas.


With their holiday sale, you can save up to 40% on lots of great bird titles, such as Tales of Remarkable Birds and Robins and Chats.

Cornell University Press

Black Friday Web Sale – 50% off the list price on any book on their site November 24–30

Hamilton Book

This site has many bargain books, including a whole birds & birding section. Here are some of the better deals:

  • AVIAN ARCHITECTURE: How Birds Design, Engineer & Build $9.95
  • OF A FEATHER: A Brief History of American Birding $4.95
  • Peterson Reference Guides: Molt in North American Birds $9.95
  • THE PRIVATE LIVES OF BIRDS: A Scientist Reveals the Intricacies of Avian Social Life $4.95

Princeton University Press

PUP’s Holiday Sale gives you 40% off selected books through the end of the year.

Life-size Birds: The Big Book of North American BirdsLife-size Birds: The Big Book of North American Birds
by Nancy J. Hajeski

From Thunder Bay Press:

John James Audubon would be proud to know that a life-size bird book is alive in the 21st century. You won’t need Sotheby’s auction house to buy this volume, though! Full-size images of beautiful feathered friends offer a detailed look at each North American species, while scaled photographs of larger birds allow you to see the entire animal. Fun facts pepper the pages, and a summary of general information accompanies each avian. Get an up-close, personal look at the world’s masters of flight!


This book is huge, visually striking, and has a great concept. Unfortunately, it also has a number of issues. Still, it has a wow-factor that may get readers, especially younger ones, interested in birds.


Life-size Birds: The Big Book of North American Birds
by Nancy J. Hajeski
Hardcover; 224 pages
Thunder Bay Press; November 10, 2015
ISBN: 9781626864399

Birds, Art and DesignBirds, Art & Design
by Larry Barth

From Stackpole Books:

Legendary bird carver Larry Barth has created a stunning retrospective of his life’s work, including sculptures from museum exhibits and rarely seen pieces from private collections. This is a must-have book for every bird lover, carver, and anyone who appreciates fine sculptural art.

  • 24 finely detailed sculptures in wood shown in up-close photographs
  • Includes his early work, the Ward world-class winners, and his most recent pieces
  • Barth shares insights on how he conceives, designs, and executes his blue-ribbon masterpieces


You will not believe the images in this book are of carved and painted wood! These sculptures are phenomenal. The artist also shares insight into their production and design. Anyone at all interested in birds and art will love this book.


Birds, Art & Design
by Larry Barth
Hardcover; 232 pages
Stackpole Books; December 1, 2015
ISBN: 9780811713597

Where did this year go? Already over a week into November before I even realized it…

Water Babies: The Hidden Lives of Baby Wetland BirdsWater Babies: The Hidden Lives of Baby Wetland Birds
by William Burt

From Countryman Press:

Never-before-seen photographs of baby birds of the marshlands from a noted birding photographer

Naturalist William Burt is known for seeking out wild places and elusive birds―and none fit the bill quite so well as the creatures featured in this book. This may well be his break out book, featuring the downy young of the wetlands, whose images are full of character and appeal. Most of these birds have never been captured on film until now. From the comic-monster herons to the fuzzy ducklings and stick-legged sandpipers, these tots have personality and spunk. In the wetlands, they come together, drawn by one essential need: for water. These babies then, are birds that get their feet wet; this book is one for bird lovers, naturalists, photographers, and animal lovers.


Baby ducks, grebes, shorebirds, and more – talk about an overload of cuteness! (Except for the baby herons, that is; cute isn’t the word for those “comic monsters”.) As with all of Burt’s previous books, the photos are amazing. But the short, anecdote-heavy accounts are equally great.


Water Babies: The Hidden Lives of Baby Wetland Birds
by William Burt
Hardcover; 208 pages
Countryman Press; October 26, 2015
ISBN: 9781581573053

Border Sanctuary: The Conservation Legacy of the Santa Ana Land GrantBorder Sanctuary: The Conservation Legacy of the Santa Ana Land Grant
by M.J. Morgan

From Texas A&M University Press:

The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge lies on the northern bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas, about seventy miles upriver from the Gulf of Mexico. In Border Sanctuary, M.J. Morgan uncovers how 2,000 acres of rare subtropical riparian forest came to be preserved in a region otherwise dramatically altered by human habitation.

The story she tells begins and ends with the efforts of the Rio Grande Valley Nature Club to protect one of the last remaining stopovers for birds migrating north from Central and South America. In between, she reconstructs a two hundred-year human and environmental history of the original “two square leagues” of the Santa Ana land grant and of the Mexican and Tejano families who lived on, worked, and ultimately helped preserve this forest on the river’s edge.

As border issues continue to present serious challenges for Texas and the nation, it is especially important to be reminded of the deep connection between the region’s human and natural history from the long perspective Morgan provides here.


Santa Ana NWR is a magical place. We birders, not to mention the birds, are fortunate to have it. I’m looking forward to reading about how it came to be.


Border Sanctuary: The Conservation Legacy of the Santa Ana Land Grant
by M. J. Morgan
Hardcover; 240 pages
Texas A&M University Press; August 10, 2015
ISBN: 9781623493202

by Gerrit Vyn and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Filled with incredible photographs, this book is a celebration of birds and a call to protect them.

Read the full review »

My review of Feeding Wild Birds in America is now up on the American Birding Association blog.

Feeding Wild Birds in America: Culture, Commerce, and Conservation

The Lanner FalconThe Lanner Falcon
by Giovanni Leonardi

From Giovanni Leonardi Editore:

This book provides a worldwide review of the ecology, behavior, morphology and breeding biology of the Lanner falcon (Falco biarmicus). From historical sources to the most recent ornithological literature, a comprehensive approach reveals the uniqueness and adaptability of this falcon from Afrotropic to Palearctic ecozones.


I’ve never seen a Lanner and am not likely to anytime soon, unfortunately. But it’s clear that whether you’ve seen this bird or not, if you want to know more about it you should read this book.


The Lanner Falcon
by Giovanni Leonardi
Paperback; 331 pages
Giovanni Leonardi Editore; July, 2015