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Peterson Reference Guide to Molt in North American Birds Hardcover – May 20 2010

1 customer review

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Hardcover, May 20 2010
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (May 20 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547152353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547152356
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.1 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 907 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #172,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

STEVE N. G. HOWELL has written many books and papers on birds, including Hummingbirds of North America and A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. He has been affiliated with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory for twenty years and is currently a senior birding tour leader for WINGS, Inc.

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Most helpful customer reviews

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sachi Schott on March 10 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great summary of molt strategies in North American birds, followed by info on molt in specific families and species. Much more accessible than Peter Pyle's 'Guide to North American Birds', and it's got some nice pictures, too.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
An incredible resource and a great read. Sept. 11 2010
By Bruce - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the first book I have ever taken the time to review, and the only book I have ever pre-ordered on Amazon. I usually wait for a few reviews to roll in before ordering a book, but I bought this one before the publication date based largely on the strength of Howell's other books. I'm happy to say this one is destined to be a classic, just like his other books. It does a masterful job balancing detail with big picture relevance, making it very accessible for the average birder, yet scholarly enough for a field ornithologist. You can use it as a reference book to look up details of molt in various bird families or species, or just sit down and read it cover-to-cover. It is definitely a great read, with a thorough and very interesting introduction on molt patterns and terminology, and very lucid descriptions of what once seemed like very confusing topics to me (such as stepwise wing molt).

The book is profusely illustrated with high quality photographs illustrating all the molt features discussed in the text. This greatly enhances the clarity of the points being made, and makes it much easier to go out and observe these features in the field.

The only minor criticism I have is with the slightly cumbersome referencing system. References are cited as superscript numbers in the text. Once you have the number, you go to the end of the chapter to get the author last name and year of publication, then you have to go to the bibliography at the end of the book to get the full reference. Most readers won't even notice it, but I'm a bit of a reference junkie. This minor issue is more than offset by a several things that enhance the quality and usefulness of the book. First, there are no typographical errors anywhere (at least that I could find in a normal careful reading). The page numbers and taxa being discussed appear on the lower corners of the pages, making it very easy to look things up or to just thumb through the book to find particular sections. And for the bibliophile, I'm happy to say the quality of the paper, printing, and binding is excellent.

This is definitely the most thorough, scholarly, yet completely accessible book on molt ever written and would be a worthy addition to any birder's library.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Ground-breaking work, a must for any birder Oct. 1 2010
By Brian L. Sullivan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Steve Howell has contributed much to our understanding of birds including pioneering works on the Birds of Mexico, Gulls, and Hummingbirds. In this book, he again breaks new ground by synthesizing, organizing, and distilling patterns of molt across all North American bird families. One should read this book for the introduction alone, which takes an incredibly complex topic (molt), and makes it understandable for birders of all levels. Molt is an important process in the lives of birds, and as such is one that should be observed and understood at a basic level by all birders. I'm not often moved to write reviews, but this book is a stand-out among recent bird references. It should be on the shelf of every birder, not just in North America, but around the world.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The single most important bird book of the year Sept. 12 2010
By A reading birder - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The significance of this splendid book extends far beyond merely helping us distinguish the eastern crows or the western empids. With his characteristic clarity, completeness, and good humor, Steve Howell has given the birding world an entree into one of the great mysteries of bird biology, and the time spent studying Molt-and molt-will be more than rewarded by the increased sophistication and enjoyment with which we will be able to look at even the commonest birds. Molt, says the author, "offers a fascinating window through which to appreciate how the lives of birds are built." Many thanks to Steve Howell for opening that window to the rest of us.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent reference Dec 10 2013
By John R Williams - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was exactly the high quality, in-depth information I expected from this author.
Howell continues to take avid birders to a new level.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great book! Dec 2 2013
By TBT - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book, explains technical molt and molt pattern strategies in layman terms. Perfect for someone wanting a detailed explanation but not wanting to read something as heavy as Plye on the subject.