Friday, February 4, 2011

Peterson Field Guides – Eastern Birds; Peterson Field Guides – Western Birds; The Audubon Society Master Guide to Birding - 3 – Old World Warblers to Sparrows


 Non-Fiction




I have several bird feeders in my backyard and love to watch the birds that come to eat.  Since today is another snowy day here in the Arkansas Ozarks I though it would be a good time to mention my favorite birding books and to post some pictures of the birds visiting my backyard during the current snow.  Even though I consider myself just a backyard birder when I was RVing I always joined any birding hike that was offered and put each of these books to good use when I was someplace where bird watching was possible. 

There are two volumes of Peterson Field Guides, one for the Eastern Birds and one for the Western Birds.  The birds are listed in categories with a color plate of each bird, a short description of the bird, its song and its range.  In the back of each volume there is a map that show the normal range of different birds.  Peterson Guides are close to standard paperback size, are easy to use at home and easy to carry when you are out birding.  I still have two copies of each volume, one I used at home and one I carried with me in the RV.  Both are marked with the time and place I first saw a bird.

I found The Audubon Society Master Guide to Birding - 3 – Old World Warblers to Sparrows in a used books store on one of my RV trips.  While Peterson’s has color plates showing each bird in most cases the Master Guide to Birding has actual photos of each bird.  There is also a more detailed description of each bird.  The description of song and range is much the same but the map of the birds range is on the same page with the rest of the information. 
For species that were similar I found that by using both guides together I was better able to identify the birds that I saw. 

Houghton Mifflin published Peterson Field Guides Eastern Birds and Peterson Field Guides Western Birds by Roger Tory Peterson.  There are several editions.  My Eastern Guide is 1980 and my Western Guide is 1990.

Alfred A. Knopf published The Audubon Society Master Guide to Birding 3 – Old World Warblers to Sparrow, by John Farrand, Jr., Editor in 1983.  All three of the Audubon volumes are out of print but can be found used.

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