Book Review - Guest post by Lydia
I just got a new book for Christmas from Nana. When I opened it I was very happy to see it was a fabulous field guide!
The Sibley Guide to Birds is by David Allen Sibley and is full of useful features and information. In most ways I think it's better than our last field guide (though to be sure it's bigger and bulkier to carry). Our old field guide, National Audubon Society Guide to North American Birds is a good guide, but the main advantage of Sibley's is its many labeled illustrations. For nearly all of the 810 included species there are lots of pictures by the author. The different pictures show all manner of plumage variation. Adults are compared with juveniles, different color phases are shown. Even the differences between birds in different parts of the country are shown because Eastern birds will sometimes look different than Western ones of the same species, or Northern birds from Southern ones.
Hello Amazon box, goodbye Lydia
The way all the different variations are shown and compared is what I like best about the book. Often at the top of the page are pictures of the bird in flight, views from the side or above and below. For raptors especially, the guide explains how to identify flying birds. It describes how each different kind flies and how the shapes of the wings and tail can help in identification. I've never seen other field guides have so many details about that.
Another good thing is that usually the very similar species will be shown right next to each other and Mr. Sibley points out the different ways of telling them apart. The new field guide also describes more of the various calls and songs and random noises the birds make. This also is very useful because it makes it easier to learn to identify the birds by their calls.
One thing the old field guide has that the Sibley guide doesn't is nesting habits. Sibley's doesn't give a description of nest and eggs; the Audubon guide does and so will surely come in handy in nesting season as it even includes the length of the incubation period and number of eggs. However, as I said, I think that The Sibley Guide to Birds is an improvement from our other bird guides. It is quite a grand field guide and I like it very much. I'm looking forward to identifying more of the birds we see around here.