Most helpful positive review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A terrific identification guide!
on March 7, 2004
I've been a birder for many years and began a life list around five years ago. I own many of the standard field guides. Only recently did I obtain the Sibley Guide, but it's become my favorite. I generally use Sibley and Stokes in tandem.
1. Logical layout
2. "Species accounts" pages offer an excellent comparative view within the group, as well as a good all-up overview of the families/genus/species, and general behavior.
3. Individual species pages show comprehensive plumage reference art; more detailed than any I've seen. For this feature alone, the guide is worthwhile!
4. Species pages show variants (e.g., Great Blue/Great White Heron), fledgling and/or juvenile patterns. In some cases art of eclipse plumage is a very nice bonus.
5. Flight/wing patterns where relevant
6. Comparison of hummingbird mating display paths
7. Diurnal raptors section shows perched vs. in-flight underside plumage for each species. It also offers silhouette guides to help teach wing shape if plumage is light-obscured.
8. Good geographical reference map (though smaller than ideal*)
9. Good vocal descriptions
10. Nice (what they refer to as) "bird topography" section
11. Where applicable, good information on regional variations and species clines.
1. This is not a pocket guide; it's cumbersome. I use Stokes in the field, and use Sibley at home for reference afterward.
2. The binding on my copy isn't sturdy, particularly for something that's supposedly a field guide. I feel like I must treat the glue binding gingerly or the pages might start to fall out.
3. Not enough text re: birding ethics & conservation (but that might just be my inner tree-hugger appearing) :)
4. *Geographical range map is small. I imagine it'd be difficult for some people to see clearly.
5. Migratory geographical information only covers North America. I'd like reference for migratory species (even just within text) of migration route start/finish and total annual distance. (Aside: the artic tern has the longest distance migration [Arctic to Antarctic] and can cover 22k - 30k mpy.)
Overall, this a great reference, and I recommend it highly.
However, to Knopf publishers/Chanticleer Press: Please ask Dai Nippon Printing Co to use better binding glue in the next edition!