on October 16, 2001
Several years ago, while watching the bird feeders at Muskatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in Seymour, Indiana, I heard a voice behind me pointing out that there were two races of White-crowned Sparrow at the feeder. He went into detail about the subtle differences between the two. At first I thought to myself, who is this guy? Later, I realized that it was Jon Dunn! I have had a high respect for him ever since.
Years later, he was the guest speaker at our bird club meeting. He presented some of the plates from his, at the time, upcoming new field guide to warblers. I fell in love with the plates from the very start. Thomas R. Shultz and Cindy House did a remarkable job, and the detail that was carefully gathered from museum specimens is second to none. I knew from the beginning that I had to have this new field guide and I couldn't wait until it appeared on the shelves.
When I bought my copy of the finished product, it was even more than I expected. Aside from the detailed plates making fall and female warbler identification easier, the text is filled with information on virtually every aspect of life history of each species, with cross-references that will aid any serious researcher. More than just a field guide for identification purposes, this book belongs on the shelf of beginners and experts alike who share a passion for warblers.
on September 18, 2001
This is a must for any birder. The authors have included a large number of plates showing differences between and within warbler species based on the sex and age of the birds. Confused with fall warblers? Then you must buy this book. Both obvious and suttle field mark are well illustrated.
A reasonable number of photos have also be included in this guide, but they do not compare to the hand-painted plates. The text is also very useful, but not so overwhleiming that the book is a lengthy, overbearing pain to carry in the field. While it may be a little heavy in the pocket, it's still a must have if you love warblers.
No other filed guide tackles the variation that occurs in warbler plumages and behaviors like this one. A great gift for serious birders.
on February 23, 1998
I have been a bird-watcher (not a "birder," a term I find too trendy) since 1961, and have loved warblers perhaps more than any other group of avian friends. Spring each year means for me the delight of finding warblers--most of which are only transient visitors to the area where I have lived most of my life (the Middle Atlantic region). Thus, when I learned about this new Peterson's guide in Bird Watcher's Digest recently, I jumped at the chance to acquire it and improve my knowledge base. I had previously found the Peterson guides on "Hawks" and "Advanced Birding" especially helpful, and had used an old edition of Roger Tory Peterson's "Field Guide to the Birds" when I first learned about birds in the field. This field guide is quite unlike anything else in the Peterson series in appearance and content. It offers a great deal of specialized information, including very useful range maps (quite detailed), illustrations of each warbler species in a variety of plumages (not by RTP, but his successors are quite worthy), great photos interspersed in the text, and a vast amount of detail about habits, songs, range, current ecological status, and more than most people would ever want to know about subspecies. So the book does add a great deal to the knowledge base of even an experienced old timer like me.
What I miss in this volume, however, is the spirit of (for want of a better word) "fun" or enjoyment of the subject. This volume lacks the poetry of A.C. Bent, Frank Chapman, or Hal Harrison, in their excellent books on warblers. All in all, though, few bird-watchers these days seem to be as interested in enjoyment of individual birds as they used to--perhaps a price paid for the increasing popularization of ornithology as a hobby--and even for some, a sport.
This seems a volume written by and intended for people who are ornithologists in the scientific sense of the word. It would be extremely useful for bird-banders, who need to "age" and "sex" a bird in the field, for example. The rest of us can get something out of the new field guide, but I doubt that I would carry it along on a bird walk--the data are more than I need when I am in the field. It will continue to fascinate me as I leaf through it, however. And for anyone who enjoys warblers, this is a "must" to own.
on October 15, 2013
This book is a real jewel. As nice as the Warblers. Well bounded. Well edited. 600 pages of texts full of pertinent data on the ranges and the way of life of these magnificent birds. Astonishing that we know so much about these small creatures. How they feed : the kind of tree, the strates, the movements. How they migrate : we follow them going north in the spring, almost state by state, and south in the fall. So nice photos like we have the birds in the hands. How to recognize them ; even a panorama of the underparts of the tails, very useful. All these infos for some bucks : a real deal.
on May 12, 2003
This book provides good color plates of the warblers in various stages of plummage. The distribution maps are easy to read and color coded. I bought the book because of the multiple pages of natural history information on each species. The birding guide I use in the field has excellent illustrations but totally lacks in the supplemental information. So, when I get home, I grab this book to learn the biology of the species.
on February 24, 2011
My personnal opinion is that this is still the best Warbler's book ever published up to now. It will satisfy beginners, intermediates or advanced birders. It could had been named: "Everything you always wanted to know abour Warblers but never dared to ask". I like the fact that all plumages are fully depicted with high standards quality drawings, Peterson like style.
Don't try to find better and at this price, it's a gift.