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New guides to help birders get started

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Birders on the boardwalk at Magee Marsh, Ohio. Photo by Matt Mendenhall

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In BirdWatching magazine, we regularly highlight new books about birds, birders, conservation, and the natural world. The reviews below were published in our February and June 2018 issues.

The Natrualist's Notebook

The Naturalist’s Notebook: An Observation Guide and 5-Year Calendar-Journal for Tracking Changes in the Natural World around You, by Nathaniel T. Wheelwright and Bernd Heinrich, Storey Publishing, 2017, hardcover, 208 pages.

This gorgeous, one-of-a-kind guide teaches readers how to become more observant of plants, insects, birds, and other parts of the natural world. This is not simply a book to read; it’s a book to use. Nearly half of it is taken up by a calendar-journal. As you develop the skills to notice details in the living world, it allows you to record your observations every day for five years, so that over time, you can track natural patterns and the changing seasons. | Check the price on Amazon!

We featured an essay by author Bernd Heinrich about Great Crested Flycatchers in our June 2016 issue. Read a summary of the issue.


Peterson Guide to Bird Identification - In 12 Steps

Peterson Guide to Bird Identification—In 12 Steps, by Steve N.G. Howell and Brian Sullivan, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018, hardcover, 160 pages. 

When you’re new to birdwatching, identifying a bird can be daunting. In this gem of a book, expert birders Steve Howell and Brian Sullivan break the ID process down into 12 logical steps. They don’t begin with colors or shape but with taxonomy, location, habitat, season, and other things every birder should understand but sometimes overlook. The book should be required reading for anyone who is new to the hobby, but it has plenty of wisdom sprinkled through it that even advanced birders can learn from it. | Check the price on Amazon!

More stories about Peterson Guides:

Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean

Peterson Reference Guide to Birding by Impression


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Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall is the editor of BirdWatching magazine and You can reach him at [email protected].

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