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I’m sorry for the lack of reviews lately. This summer has been very busy with work and family stuff. So I wanted to mention some recent books that I haven’t reviewed yet. If you’re particularly interested in one or more of these, please let me know and I’ll prioritize it.

  • The MerlinThe Merlin
    by Richard Sale

    I love falcons, but I must admit that I have a tendency to overlook Merlins. Not that I ignore them in the field, but I don’t think of them on the same level as kestrels or, especially, Peregrines or Gyrfalcons. This book is changing that. Its purpose is to sum up the current ornithological research on the species, so is intended for a more technical, professional audience. But it’s still very readable and enjoyable for birders. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in this bird (or who ought to be more than they are).

  • Birds and Animals of Australia's Top EndBirds and Animals of Australia’s Top End: Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine, and Kununurra
    by Nick Leseberg and Iain Campbell

    This Princeton/WildGuide field guide follows the same plan as the others in the series (to various regions in Africa, which I reviewed on Nature Travel Network). And it will be just as useful to anyone traveling in the region. Birders will appreciate that it also includes mammals, reptiles, and amphibians likely to be encountered, especially since Australia has some really cool creatures.

  • Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York CityField Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City
    by Leslie Day

    This is not a book for visiting birders – you’ll find minimal information on birding hotspots or where to find certain species. Rather, this is for residents of New York. It should facilitate the identification of most birds seen within the city. But even more importantly, I hope that it will be an eye-opener to residents, many of whom I’m sure have no idea as to the diversity of birds that they can see in the neighborhoods around them.

  • On a Wing and a Prayer: One Woman's Adventure into the Heart of the RainforestOn a Wing and a Prayer: One Woman’s Adventure into the Heart of the Rainforest
    by Sarah Woods

    Framed around the author’s goal of seeing a Harpy Eagle in the wild, this book takes you to many places in Central and South America. Despite the goal, and the mention of many other birds, this isn’t a “birding book”. The places, and the people inhabiting them, are much more prominent. But that’s ok, this book is still plenty interesting! If you have any interest at all in this region – how can you be a birder and not? – this is a worthwhile read.

American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of CaliforniaAmerican Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of California
by Alvaro Jaramillo and Brian E. Small

From Scott & Nix, Inc.:

California has it all for birders—lush coastal coniferous forests, dry chaparral, oak woodlands, grasslands, alpine slides, riparian valleys, watered suburbs, and desert scrubs. Hundreds of types of birds nest in the Golden State or stop by seasonally on migration routes. California has one of the largest state and federal parks programs, as well as extensive protected wildlife areas, which preserve and protect bird habitats. From geese and ducks, herons and storks, eagles, hawks, and owls to hummingbirds, warblers, and sparrows, California is one of the finest birding destinations on earth. The American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of California includes more than 300 species birders are most likely to see in the state. Illustrated with nearly 450 crisp, color photographs, it includes clearly written descriptions along with tips of when and where to see birds penned by an expert Californian birder. It’s the perfect companion for anyone interested in the amazing diversity and beauty of California’s birds.

 

If you’ve read my review of the American Birding Association Field Guide series, you know that I like these field guides. This new volume on California is no exception. Intended for beginning and intermediate birders, I would recommend this to any such residents of California, or, perhaps especially, to any Californian who would like to be more knowledgeable about the birds around them.

 

American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of California
by Alvaro Jaramillo and Brian E. Small
Flexicover; 352 pages
Scott & Nix, Inc.; September 1, 2015
ISBN: 978-1935622505
$24.95

Birds and Animals of Australia's Top EndBirds and Animals of Australia’s Top End: Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine, and Kununurra
by Nick Leseberg and Iain Campbell

From Princeton University Press:

One of the most amazing and accessible wildlife-watching destinations on earth, the “Top End” of Australia’s Northern Territory is home to incredible birds and animals–from gaudy Red-collared Lorikeets to sinister Estuarine Crocodiles and raucous Black Flying-foxes. With this lavishly illustrated photographic field guide, you will be able to identify the most common creatures and learn about their fascinating biology–from how Agile Wallaby mothers can pause their pregnancies to why Giant Frogs spend half the year buried underground in waterproof cocoons.

The Top End stretches from the tropical city of Darwin in the north, to the savannas of Mataranka in the south, and southwest across the vast Victoria River escarpments to the Western Australian border. The region includes some of Australia’s most popular and impressive tourist destinations, such as Kakadu, Litchfield, Nitmiluk, and Gregory national parks, and is visited by more than two hundred thousand tourists every year.

An essential field guide for anyone visiting the Top End, this book will vastly enhance your appreciation of the region’s remarkable wildlife.

  • Features hundreds of stunning color photographs
  • Includes concise information on identification and preferred habitat for each species
  • Provides a summary of each species’ life history, including interesting habits, and suggestions on where to see it
  • Offers valuable tips on searching for wildlife in the Top End
  • An essential guide for visitors to the Top End, from Darwin south to Katherine and Kununurra, including Kakadu, Litchfield, Nitmiluk and Gregory national parks

 

This new field guide is essential to anyone visiting Australia’s Top End who is even remotely interested in the wildlife. Even though it is not a comprehensive field guide to birds, it is still recommended to birders as a supplemental guide for its extra information, gorgeous photos, and coverage of other animals.

 

Birds and Animals of Australia’s Top End: Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine, and Kununurra
by Nick Leseberg and Iain Campbell
Paperback; 272 pages
Princeton University Press; July 14, 2015
ISBN: 978-0691161464
$27.95

Here are the bird book reviews I found online last month.

Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York CityField Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City
by Leslie Day

From Johns Hopkins University Press:

Look around New York, and you’ll probably see birds: wood ducks swimming in Queens, a stalking black-crowned night-heron in Brooklyn, great horned owls perching in the Bronx, warblers feeding in Central Park, or Staten Island’s purple martins flying to and fro. You might spot hawks and falcons nesting on skyscrapers or robins belting out songs from trees along the street.

America’s largest metropolis teems with birdlife in part because it sits within the great Atlantic flyway where migratory birds travel seasonally between north and south. The Big Apple’s miles of coastline, magnificent parks, and millions of trees attract dozens of migrating species every year and are also home year-round to scores of resident birds.

There is no better way to identify and learn about New York’s birds than with this comprehensive field guide from New York City naturalist Leslie Day. Her book will quickly teach you what each species looks like, where they build their nests, what they eat, the sounds of their songs, what time of year they appear in the city, the shapes and colors of their eggs, and where in the five boroughs you can find them―which is often in the neighborhood you call home. The hundreds of stunning photographs by Beth Bergman and gorgeous illustrations by Trudy Smoke will help you identify the ninety avian species commonly seen in New York. Once you enter the world of the city’s birds, life in the great metropolis will never look the same.

 

An excellent guide for New York City residents. If you have any interest in the birds around you (and there are plenty of birds around you, even in NYC), this guide will really open your eyes.

 

Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City
by Leslie Day
Paperback; 384 pages
Johns Hopkins University Press; June 23, 2015
ISBN: 978-1421416182
$24.95

by Kevin T. Karlson and Dale Rosselet

The authors present a new – and potentially very effective – method of bird identification.

Read the full review »

When the second edition of the “Big Sibley” was published last year, you knew it was just a matter of time before the smaller Eastern and Western regional guides were revised as well. And now, thanks to Amazon, we have a potential date: March 29, 2016.

There are no additional details, other than page count, at this time. But you can go ahead and place a pre-order:

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America: Revised Edition

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America: Revised Edition

Kaufman Field Guide to Nature of the MidwestKaufman Field Guide to Nature of the Midwest
by Kenn Kaufman, Kimberly Kaufman, and Jeff Sayre

From Houghton Mifflin Harcourt:

The only field guide to bring along to identify the birds, mammals, trees, wildflowers, insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, spiders, mushrooms, ferns, rocks, and sky of the Midwest.

Even if we focus on certain things in the outdoors, most of us are curious about everything else that might turn up. Serious birders, botanists, and entomologists all have their specialized guides, but this book is the guide to “everything else”—the one guide to take when you go out for a walk. Wow, that’s a cool-looking mushroom. Wonder what it is. Hey, look at that weird insect.

Birds, mammals, trees, wildflowers, insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, spiders, mushrooms, ferns, grasses, even constellations overhead and rocks underfoot—it’s all here. With authoritative yet broad coverage, nontechnical language, and more than two thousand color photographs, this book is an essential reference for nature lovers living in or visiting Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

 

If you live in one of the states covered, or will be visiting and spending significant time outdoors, I would highly recommend having this guide close by. “Combo guides” such as this can be really valuable if done well, and this series is done very well.

 

Kaufman Field Guide to Nature of the Midwest
by Kenn Kaufman, Kimberly Kaufman, and Jeff Sayre
Flexicover; 416 pages
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; May 5, 2015
ISBN: 978-0618456949
$20.00

by Dominic Couzens

A fun look at 40 incredible bird species and families.

Read the full review »

Bird Ringing Station ManualBird Ringing Station Manual
by Przemysław Busse and Włodzimierz Meissner

From De Gruyter:

In an attempt to standardise elements of the station routine, Bird Ringing Station Manual describes the procedures used in passerine and wader ringing stations. It offers a comparative analysis of versatile evaluation techniques such as measurements, orientation experiments and monitoring. The authors meticulously analyse different methods used to track birds, including catching passerines with mist-nets in land and wetland habitat, as well as the use of the Heligoland trap. Bird Ringing Station Manual, as a successful bid to establish a bird station routine that is favourable to both birds and ringers, will benefit all professional and amateur ringers.

 

Anyone involved in bird banding (ringing) should check this out. The hardcover book is expensive, but the eBook (either PDF or ePub format) is available for FREE from the publisher.

 

Bird Ringing Station Manual
by Przemysław Busse and Włodzimierz Meissner
Hardcover; 211 pages
De Gruyter; March, 2015
ISBN: 978-83-7656-053-3
$140.00