Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Crossley ID Guide to Raptors - 02 Apr 2013

The Crossley ID Guide:
Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori & Brian Sullivan

Paper flexibound | April 2013 | $29.95 / £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691157405
304 pp. | 7 1/2 x 10 | 101 color plates. 34 color maps.
I received a copy of this book in the mail from the Princeton University Press this past weekend, and I haven't been able to put it down since.  Take the best of Jerry Liguori (author of Hawks from Every Angle and Hawks at a Distance), add the pioneering composite 'style' of Richard Crossley, the foremost birding knowledge of Brian L. Sullivan, and you have a Raptor ID Guide that should become the #1 reference guide for many years to come. 

This new Raptor guide is L.O.A.D.E.D!  In the style of the now-famous Crossley ID Guide format each of the 34 species of raptor found in North America is covered in exquisite detail, with birds shown in a variety of ages, settings, angles, distances, sizes and illumination.  The descriptions provided with each plate is short, but concise, with tips for identifying juveniles from adults, and males from females (where possible) perched and in flight.

What I absolutely love about this book are the quiz pages following each species account.  Dozens of birds in flight at varying angles and distances pushes the skills of even the most seasoned hawk watcher.  Scan through a page of Sharp-shinned Hawks of various ages, then a page of similar-looking Cooper's Hawks.  Follow this with a sky full of accipiters of all ages and species, and you have the experience that all seasoned hawk-watchers anticipate, and potentially dread.  Crossley, et. al., will even go to further lengths to include a buteo or two that look remarkably like an accipiter to challenge the reader a bit further.  Well played gentlemen.  Well played.

Also included in this extensive work are sections on kites and other raptors that tend to pop up at hawk watch sites in the south and west. Even before we get to the species accounts we run into another series of excellent quiz pages that include birds in black and white, and birds that appear during the golden hour, when colors are at their absolute worst.  Check out the back-lit birds at left!

If you are at all interested in hawk watching then this book should be considered a must-have.  I have so much to learn....

Thank you Princeton University Press, for a copy of this guide to review. 

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