Thursday, October 20, 2011

book review: Field Guide to Advanced Birding

Unlike other new field guides in recent years, this guide (published in 2011) is a major re-working of a Kenn Kaufman classic, also titled A Field Guide to Advanced Birding, (Houghton Mifflin; published in 1990). I've worn out  a few copies, and my last one is held together with rubber bands. I've told many people about that book, and how it helps with moving beyond any standard field guide. It teaches the "next level" of identification, and leads to insights on many of the difficult ID questions. Mr. Kaufman has now gone another step beyond his own previous work. This new volume, subtitled "Understanding What You See and Hear", helps to do exactly what that subtitle suggests. Kaufman explains "an integrated approach" to field ID, and has extensive sections on behavior, molt, and then many chapters with specific focus on families or other groups: waterfowl, loons, seabirds, herons and egrets, raptors, shorebirds, gulls, terns, jaegers, owls, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, flycatchers, swallows, warblers, and sparrows.  Some illustrations are kept from the earlier book, but many new ones are added. I just received my copy, and will likely use it every day. Highly recommended - and useful in many ways.

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