Sunday, April 1, 2012

How to Be a Better Birder, A Review - 01 Apr 2012

How to Be a Better Birder
Derek Lovitch

Paper | 2012 | $19.95 / £13.95 | ISBN: 9780691144481
208 pp. | 6 x 9 | 53 color illus. 10 maps.

Derek Lovitch knows how to find birds, and he knows how to identify them once they're found. As an elite birder, he has learned the tricks that most (of us) haven't, so his book "How to Be a Better Birder" should be a welcome addition to our birding libraries.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  I had a hard time putting it down. Its a relaxing read that not only motivates to learn more, but also fuels the urge to want to drop everything and head out w/ the binoculars and scope (and camera).

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
Chapter 1: Advanced Field Identification 5
Chapter 2: Birding by Habitat 31
Chapter 3: Birding with Geography 53
Chapter 4: Birding and Weather 75
Chapter : Birding at Night 101
Chapter 6: Birding with a Purpose 123
Chapter 7: Vagrants 134
Chapter 8: A New Jersey Case Study 155
Chapter 9: Patch Listing 172
References and Additional Reading 181
Index 187

One of the great things about the newest ID Guides is the concept of "whole bird" approach to identifying birds.  Lovitch describes in Chapter 1 how to use this approach, rather than looking for specific markings when trying to ID that bird in the field, whether it be a sparrow in a field or a hawk in the sky.  He also encourages birders to get back to taking field notes!

Want to learn to predict fallout?  Lovitch spends a good deal of time explaining the effects of weather, fronts, habitat and geography on bird migration, and how to interpret NEXRAD radar to predict where birds may drop out of the sky. He also discusses the value of eBird for finding birds in your local (or other) patch.

A nice addition is the list of references he scatters throughout the text.  Have a particular interest? He'll direct you to the most important and relevant sources.

Read this book.  You'll become a better birder!

Thanks to Jessica Pellien and Princeton University Press for a review copy! 

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