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The Shorebird Guideby Michael Obrien
Synopses & Reviews
A highly visual guide to identifying birds in the field based on the important, unchanging features of size, shape, structure, and behavior
Birding is an extremely rewarding and fun hobby, but some situations can be frustrating or unsuccessful because of a variety of challenging viewing conditions. This guide to identifying birds offers the holistic andldquo;birding by impressionandrdquo; method, which not only helps with these difficult conditions, but also develops an efficient mental identification process using left- and right-brain skills. It begins with a conscious assessment of a birdandrsquo;s unchanging physical characteristics, including general size, body shape, structural features (bill, legs, neck, and wings), and behavior. Using this approach, birders can quickly assess all birds and distinguish new and uncommon species from familiar ones. They can then examine more detailed field marks to fine-tune the identification. Rather than a traditional field guide, this book presents an interactive how-to approach to a more complete identification process.
A guide that helps intermediate birders advance their skills by teaching principles that apply to all groups of birds in addition to details about the most challenging groups to identify.
A guide to help birders use important, unchanging features of size, shape, body language, and behavior to create impressions of birds and identify them.
Birders can memorize hundreds of details and still not be able to identify birds if they donand#8217;t really understand whatand#8217;s in front of them.Today birders have access to almost too much information, and their attempts to identify birds can be drowned out by excess detail. The all-new Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding takes a different approach, clarifying the basics and providing a framework for learning about each group. Overall principles of identification are explained in clear language, and ten chapters on specific groups of birds show how these principles can be applied in practice. Anyone with a keen interest in identifying birds will find that this book makes the learning process more effective and enjoyable, and that truly understanding what we see and hear can make birding more fun.
When many birders go out looking at shorebirds, they see a distant
mud flat full of grayish brown birds in various shapes and sizes and have no idea where to begin the identification process.
When advanced birders look at that same flock of shorebirds, they can identify the vast majority of birds with a quick binocular scan. Experts
use the simplest, most easily observed characteristics—size, structure,
behavior, and general color patterns—almost subconsciously, and can
identify most birds even before looking carefully at plumage details.
Now birders of all levels can learn how to identify these wildly popular birds quickly and with much less effort. This guide provides more than 870 stunning color photographs, sequenced to give a general impression of a species first and progressing to a more detailed image of the bird throughout its life cycle. Captions list characteristics in order of importance, reflecting the thought process that experts use to identify birds.
About the Author
KENN KAUFMAN is the originator of the Kaufman Field Guide series and author of Lives of North American Birds, Kingbird Highway, and Flights Against the Sunset, among other books.andnbsp;Long recognized as an expert on bird identification, he has been teaching popular workshops on the subject since 1980 and has written hundreds of ID articles for Birder's World, American Birds, and other publications.andnbsp;A field editor for Audubon and a contributor to every major birding magazine, he has also led nature tours on all seven continents.andnbsp;He and his wife, Kimberly, make their home in northwestern Ohio.
Table of Contents
Editorand#8217;s Note: Learning from the Birds 5
1. An Integrated Approach to Field Identification of Birds 6
2. Principles and Pitfalls of Field Identification 18
3. How Birds Are Built: Terminology and Bird Topography 44
4. Plumages, Molt, and Wear: Understanding What You See 74
5. Behavior and Voice: Understanding and Using Them
in Identification 92
6. Identification Beyond the Species Level 106
7. Techniques and Resources for Learning Bird Identification 130
8. Learning to Identify Waterfowl 141
9. The Scaup 160
10. The Winter Loons 168
11. Learning to Identify Seabirds 182
12. Learning to Identify Herons and Egrets 186
13. Learning to Identify the Diurnal Raptors 188
14. The Accipiters 198
15. Learning to Identify Shorebirds 210
16. The Small Calidris Sandpipers 226
17. Learning to Identify Gulls 242
18. Learning to Identify Terns 272
19. The Medium-sized Terns 285
20. The Jaegers 300
21. Learning to Identify Owls 316
22. Learning to Identify Hummingbirds 318
23. The Challenging Small Hummingbirds 330
24. Learning to Identify Woodpeckers 342
25. Learning to Identify Tyrant Flycatchers 344
26. The Empidonax Flycatchers 347
27. Learning to Identify Swallows 388
28. Learning to Identify Warblers 390
29. The Blackpoll Trio 412
30. Learning to Identify Sparrows 419
31. The Spizella Sparrows 434
Photo Credits 441
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