[CT Birds] Good field guide(s)

Thomas Robben robben99 at gmail.com
Sun Jul 28 03:01:31 EDT 2013

Craig Minor asked...
"Can anyone recommend a good small sized field guide for a beginner to
identify birds ?"
I cant resist offering my "two-cents" on this perennial question....

1. I'd recommend Peterson's guides as a FIRST bird guide to get the
beginner quickly started, without getting bogged down with too many details
or nuances, as Jonah Cohen said.

2. Then I'd recommend the several National Geographic bird guides, as Paul
Desjardins said.

3. After that Sibley's and the photographic guides can be very useful.

4. Then later the guides which specialize in certain groups of birds (and
different countries).

5.  And perhaps the best (700-page and 691-species) book on field
identification of north american birds, IMHO, has NO PICTURES at all, and
certainly is not small..... "Pete Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion".
Some of his textual descriptions about identifying a species are spot-on,
as they say. Pete says his guide is "meant to augment these primary guides
by offering more information. It also strives to present information as
naturally as possible by replicating the identification process used by an
experienced birder: looking at the big picture first and sleuthing for
details later." And a very enjoyable book to read, such as this from the
Leach's Storm-petrel section, "The flight of Leach's is determined,
energetic, erratic, and high-strung, combining the wandering jerkiness of a
nighthawk and the deep pushing wingbeats of a jaeger. The bird seems to be
fleeing from imminent danger, tacking left then right, and often rising and
falling in the dynamic fashion of a gadfly petrel." How perfect a
description, enabling even beginning birders to ID the bird when they first
see it! What a great book!

Tom Robben
Glastonbury CT

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