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Four new books sure to help you ID birds of prey, birds of the east and west, and bird song

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In the June 2013 of BirdWatching magazine, we described 19 new books about birds that belong in your library — and in the hands of your favorite young birder. Here are four ID guides that we featured:

BRD-0613-BS-CrossleyRaptors-webRaptors without blinders

The first Crossley guide presented 33 raptor species on 26 pages. Western raptors and species with restricted ranges were squeezed onto single pages, California Condor was omitted, text was taboo, and photo collages were blinkered: they allowed comparisons of birds of the same species only. This new guide is more useful, more natural, and more fun. It includes the condor and lets 34 raptor species spread their wings across 163 pages. Text descriptions fill another 96 pages, and 32 collages permit comparisons of different species.

The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, by Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori, and Brian Sullivan, Crossley Books Princeton University Press, 2013, 288 pages, $29.95 cloth flexibound

StokesWestern-webcoverOne guide put asunder

The Stokeses’ 2010 guide (816 pages) showed 854 species: every bird that occurs regularly in the ABA Checklist Area, more than 100 that appear only accidentally, plus California Condor and Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Now the big book has been split into eastern (512 pages) and western guides (592 pages). Scientific names and taxonomic order have been updated, and the rarities, condor, and woodpecker are gone, but, excepting a reduction in weight and gain in portability, these may be the only differences you notice.

The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds of the Eastern Region (shown above) and The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds of the Western Region (shown at right), by Donald and Lillian Stokes, Little, Brown and Company, 2013, 512 pages (eastern), 592 pages (western), $19.99 paper, no ebook

BirdSong-webcoverLearning songs

This instructive guide presents Ontario birder Ernie Jardine’s system for understanding bird songs. Jardine categorizes more than 200 species by type of song: that is, very short, repeated notes, short, or long. He devotes an easy-to-understand paragraph to explaining each song, and he groups birds by habitat, offering a quick way to find songs. A section on distinguishing similar songs is particularly helpful. Best of all, accompanying recordings are available on the author’s website.


Bird Song Defined, Decoded, Described, by Ernie Jardine Publisher: Giant Beaver Publications, 2011, 450 pages, $21.95 paper, no ebook

Look for roundups of notable new books about birds in every June and every December issue of BirdWatching magazine.

Publishers and authors:

If you’ve brought out a book that we should consider reviewing, send it here:

BirdWatching Magazine
Madavor Media, LLC.
25 Braintree Hill Office Park, Suite 404
Braintree, MA 02184
[email protected]


 Updated on Nov. 6, 2013, to show Madavor Media’s new mailing address.


Originally Published

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