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The Shorebird Guide Turtleback – Apr 24 2006

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The Shorebird Guide + The Warbler Guide + The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors
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Product Details

  • Turtleback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 24 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618432949
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618432943
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #33,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'A well-designed guide by knowledgeable and talented field birders and photographers that will benefit both beginner and advanced birders alike.' Birdwatch "the strength of this jizz- based book is its reliance on well over 800 excellent images of mainly Neartric Shore birds." Birdwatch --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

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KEVIN KARLSON is an accomplished birder, tour leader, and wildlife photographer. Kevin is a coauthor of The Shorebird Guide and two other books.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Gascoigne on Aug. 23 2009
Format: Turtleback
I had never previously been particularly fond of photographic identification guides, but this work is an exception. It is extremely well done and even contains little quizzes to reinforce the skills developed by using it. It has become my "go to" field guide for this difficult family of birds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joanne D. Smith on Aug. 17 2013
Verified Purchase
My goal this summer was to become better at shorebird ID. This book has helped me tons! Would recommend it to anyone seriously interested in birding.
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By Jean Laporte on Nov. 17 2014
Format: Turtleback Verified Purchase
Helpful to identify on the shores. It helped me a lot.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 65 reviews
66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
A Bird Book that is a Breed Apart June 9 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Turtleback Verified Purchase
The Shorebird Guide is a different kind of bird guide. It tackles a traditionally difficult subject in a unique way that makes identifying Shorebirds seem (almost) easy. The book is split into two sections: the first is a color photographic guide to each species; the second is a text write-up of standard field-guide information as well as behavioral details and such for each species.

Each species gets several pages of beautiful color photographs. Each photograph shows the species under discussion in a real world setting and has a short but info packed caption. The photographs progress from juvenile birds through adults (breeding and non-breeding). Many of the photographs contain more than one bird and more than one species. Some of the captions pose questions to the reader (answers in the back). Working out the answers to these questions is a good test of your skills.

The philosophy behind this book is that of GISS (general impression of size and shape) or gestalt. This means that the identification of a bird is worked out, not by plumage details or colorations as with a typical field guide, but instead by the overall impression of the bird. This is an especially useful tool with Shorebirds.

In conclusion, this is an amazing bird book and one that every birder needs to have in their library. It will definitely make you a better birder.
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
An excellent but quirky guide. Nov. 9 2006
By Weatherbird - Published on
Format: Turtleback Verified Purchase
If you are a real shorebird enthusiast, or simply enjoy looking at great bird photographs, this would be a great book for you. If you want a straightforward reference for field identification, this may not be the book for you.

The book has two main sections: Species Photos (with copious identification notes and range maps, and Species Accounts. The photo section is subdivided into "Domestic Species" and ""Rarities and Regional Specialties". The photos in the book are wonderful, so it is fun to look through even if you are not trying to learn anything. Many of the photos are excellent for learning how to identify particular species and many others help to illustrate particular behaviors. Other photos are beautiful, but not very useful for illustrating identification features or behavior.

The text is also excellent. Although the authors profess to use a holistic approach to identification, there is plenty of attention to specific details. For example, in the notes for the White-rumped Sandpiper: "all plumages may show unique reddish or brownish base to lower mandible". Many photos show multiple species and there are little quizzes mixed in with the identification notes.

I often carry this book in my car when I'm out birding, but the book would be rather large and heavy to carry in the field. I dislike the separate sections for "Domestic Species" and ""Rarities and Regional Specialties". It would be much easier to compart similar species (like Wilson's Snipe and Common Snipe) if the photos for the two species were adjacent to eachother. I find the quizzes are fun, but they may not be to everyone's taste. Taking quizzes would be fine for home, but the quizzes might just get in the way if you were trying to use this bood in the field. This is a great book, but if you want a straigtforward reference for shorebird identification better suited for carrying in the field, you might prefer "Shorebirds of North America: The Photographic Guide" by Dennis Paulson.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
This is indeed THE guide to shorebirds Feb. 22 2007
By SGM - Published on
Format: Turtleback
This is perhaps the best bird family guide that I've seen. It is definitely the best identification guide to this difficult group of birds.

The book focuses more on size and shape rather than plumage. Therefore, the photos aren't like other guides. They are not all uniformly sized super close-up shots of a single bird. Instead they are sized to better emphasize certain characteristics. They often show multiple birds of different species so as to give a better comparison of size, shape, and plumage.

One of the best features of the guide is the questions in some captions. Most species have at least one question in one of their photo captions. The questions ask the reader to do such things as identify some of the species in the photo, or to pick out one particular species among all the birds present. The answers are contained in an appendix in the back. These questions force the reader to apply the knowledge and techniques imparted by the authors and look more critically and actively at the photograph.

I can't recommend this book enough.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A New Standard in Shorebird Guides July 9 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Turtleback
This is the best photographic guide to Shorebirds period. There are hundreds of photos, over 300 pages for just photos most of them with several photos per page. Not only that they have great captions. Example Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs each have 12 photos showing both in one shot, breeding, non-breeding, juvenile, juvenile molting, resting, flying, with other species and all the photos tell you where and when (what month) they were taken. Each species also has range maps and the text is first class. Each species is covered as to Status, Taxonomy, Behavior, Migration - both spring and fall and adult and juveniles, Molts - first year and adult, and lastly vocalizations. The authors stress the Structure of each species rather than detailed colorization. Shorebirds can vary greatly in color especially during migration but their structure stays the same. Also one often observes these birds against bright lighting making their structure stand out.

If you are confused by Shorebirds and who isn't, this should be your first reference guide after your field guide. If you love Shorebirds it will take you days to just study all the photos just once. This is a definite 5 star plus book.

As for the Haines review I'd say go back and read the text you completely missed the point. Detailed full page photos of shorebirds are not very useful but many photos allowing structure comparison are the ticket to identifying Shorebirds.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
missed opportunities July 8 2006
By Patrick R. Leary - Published on
Format: Turtleback
Generally an excellent guide and justified addition to any serious birder's library, but the authors missed some good opportunities to demonstrate and apply their highly effective holistic ID system. Silhouettes of each species, in context with similar sized and shaped species, would have been a welcome aid for comparing and contrasting subtle differences under typical field conditions. (The only comparative silhouettes are all on a single page at the very back of the book!) Some super-close images are superb but essentially glorified portraits that are of little use in a field guide that stresses subtle differences in shape, size, plumage, posture, etc. The text could also have used more similarly-posed images (subjects facing same direction, same posture, same lighting) of confusing species for direct comparison of important identification features.

Alas a good work, but one not without its flaws.