Synopses & Reviews
“I wrote and illustrated this book to help every inquisitive birder, from novice to expert. Whether you can identify six birds or six hundred, youll be a better birder if you have a grounding in the real nuts and bolts of what birds look like, and your skills will be even sharper if you know exactly what to look for and how to record what you see.” —David Allen Sibley
The Sibley Guide to Birds and The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior are both universally acclaimed as the new standard source of species information. And now David Sibley, Americas premier birder and best-known bird artist, takes a new direction; in Sibleys Birding Basics he is concerned not so much with species as with the general characteristics that influence the appearance of all birds and thus give us the clues to their identity.
To create this guide, David Sibley thought through all the skills that enable him to identify a bird in the few instants it is visible to him. Now he shares that information, integrating an explanation of the identification process with many painted and drawn images of details (such as a feather) or concepts.
Birding Basics begins by reviewing how one can get started as a birder: the equipment necessary, where and when to go birding, and perhaps most important, the essential things to look for when birds appear in the field. Using many illustrations, David Sibley reviews all the basic concepts of bird identification and then describes the variations (of shape, size, and color) that can change the appearance of a bird over time or in different settings. And he issues a warning about “illusions and other pitfalls”—and advice on avoiding them.
The second part of the book, also plentifully illustrated, deals with another set of clues, the major aspects of avian life that differ from species to species: feathers (color, arrangement, shape, molt), behavior and habitat, and sounds.
This scientifically precise, beautifully illustrated volume distills the essence of David Sibleys own experience and skills, providing a solid introduction to “naming” the birds. With Sibley as your guide, when you learn how to interpret what the feathers, the anatomical structure, the sounds of a bird tell you—when you know the clues that show you why theres no such thing as “just a duck”—birding will be more fun, and more meaningful. An essential addition to the Sibley shelf!
The quintessential activity of birding--identification--is the subject of this compact, easy-to-use, wonderfully helpful new book by America's premier living painter of birds, author and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds. Here Sibley details everything the birder needs to know to identify species.
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.
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.
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