This sturdy Royal Ontario Museum field guide to the 473 officially recorded Ontario birds is thorough yet compact enough to slip into a backpack pocket. Organized taxonomically by genus and species, it gives each bird a single page, with a description of appearance, voice, habitat, behaviour, and status (abundance or rarity), as well as a clear colour photo. For the birdwatcher, pro or novice, it's an essential collection. From gaviiformes, or loons (the common loon, with its haunting cry, is Ontario's provincial bird), to passeriformes, or perching birds (more than half of Ontario species), this guide offers the marvellous richness of the province's avian menagerie. A concise introduction discusses bird identification, habitats, and bird "seasons" and includes a full page of Internet sources. The guide concludes with a handy glossary and a birder's checklist.
Hughes is a fount of little-known facts about birds: most land bird migration occurs at night, the elaborate courtship displays of the sharp-tailed grouse have been incorporated into many Native people's ceremonial dances, a diving peregrine falcon can reach a speed of 360 kilometres per hour. She also has a sense of humour, noting that the call of the large primeval-looking pileated woodpecker is used as stock background noise in old jungle movies. For lovers of cranes, grebes, swifts, tanagers, vireos, and all the other winged creatures in our midst, this is an excellent and enjoyable collection. --Mark Frutkin
“A must-have for beginning bird-watchers and a delight for seasoned ones. … Superb.”
“Excellent photographs. … A very worthwhile addition to a birder’s library.”
“Much more detail for each bird species. … [The] maps are a great boon.”
“Very pleasing to the eye and easy to read. … Would I recommend the ROM guide as a ‘must buy’? Yes, I would.”
–The Kingston Field Naturalist