[CT Birds] Good field guide(s)

malematthew at comcast.net malematthew at comcast.net
Sun Jul 28 09:47:55 EDT 2013

I,ve got them all and sell them all.....my choice for a small size guide is Sibely's...it's the only one of the three you mentioned that fits easily in my back pocket.....or I bring an older Peterson( they used to be pocket sized too) . I did get a NAt. Geo Guide for my daughter when she was learning.....as the index marks on the sides gets her to the right bird type more quickly...but now she is using Sibely too


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-----Original Message-----
From: Thomas Robben
To: ctbirds
Sent: July 28, 2013, 3:02 AM
Subject: [CT Birds] Good field guide(s)

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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