Field Guide to Western Birds

Field Guide to Western Birds

Peterson Field Guides
by Roger Tory Peterson
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
2nd Edition, ©1961, Item: 84664
Hardcover, 366 pages
Current Retail Price: $16.95
Used Price: $8.00 (1 in stock) Condition Policy

The Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds is the best such guide you will find. The nice thing about birds and birding is that there are few enough species out there that you can get virtually all of them in one regional guide.

This book is outstanding. It relies on illustrations rather than photographs to show markings and other details used to ID birds in the field. Birds are posed consistently and without distracting backgrounds, look cleaner and less confusing. Photos in other guides are often sub-standard, not showing characters essential for identifying birds due to the position of the bird, markings of the individual chosen for inclusion in the book, etc. Peterson's paintings also emphasize patterns, rather than rendering every feather, making them more useful in identification.

In this book each entry includes a bird's common and scientific names, a brief physical description of the body and coloration, a drawing(s) of the bird, a brief description of habitats where they are likely to be seen, a blip about their geographic distribution, notes on their song, and reference to similar species (if any). The entry also refers the reader to a map number that shows the summer and winter ranges for each bird.

The book's shortcoming is that the range maps are grouped at the back, rather than with the text and pictures. On the other hand, these maps are larger and more detailed than the maps in the nationwide guides. While there are other good guides out there, Peterson is still the best for its stated purpose of identifying birds in the field.

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