US field guide

To: "David Adams" <>
Subject: US field guide
From: "Dave Torr" <>
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2008 09:53:41 +1000
Check out the Audubon society for local clubs and for locals
who will  help - I have been out with many US birders as a result of these
sites and they have always been very good and helpful

2008/8/4 David Adams <>

> On Mon, Aug 4, 2008 at 8:06 AM, Paul McDonald
> <> wrote:
> > I will be heading to the US for a couple of weeks shortly, and was
> wondering
> > what the best field guide for the region would be? Something that covered
> > Canada as well would be useful, as I'll probably end up there in the next
> > couple of years as well. The US trip will be around the New York/Ithaca
> > region this time.
> There are a huge range of general field guides for North America but
> the following two are what birders use most often:
> "Nat Geo"
> The National Geographic Field Guide to the BIrds of North America
> A very competent and reliable guide.
> "Sibley"
> The Sibley Guide to Birds"
> An astonishingly good piece of work, you have to look pretty hard to
> find a better bird field guide for any region on the planet. (Europe
> has a better guide but I can't think of another.)
> The Nat Geo was the standard guide amongst birders until Sibley was
> published. From then on I think a lot of people started carrying both.
> Well, Sibley gets left in the card more often as it is quite large
> (roughly the size of Pizzey.) As you're going to be in the eastern
> half of the continent exclusively you could also get the "Sibley Field
> Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America". It's much smaller than
> the full Sibley which is, people say, good and bad. Good because it's
> easier to carry, bad because the details of the plates are harder to
> see. I haven't used it so I can't say. Come to that, I probably should
> get the east and west guides as I end up leaving Sibley here (where it
> does no good) as the Nat Geo takes so much less space in the bag.
> I don't know how much birding you've done in North America so I'll
> offer a few general comments. Apologies in advance if they're too
> basic! North America has a lot more hard to tell apart birds than we
> do here. There's no harm in having multiple guides - and special topic
> guides for bulls, warblers, etc., if you get interested. Both of the
> guides I mentioned are widely available and affordable in the US and
> you shouldn't have much trouble finding them in large book shops
> (Borders, Barnes & Nobles, etc.). You'll also find a wide range of
> other guides, including several photographic guides. If you find a
> photographic guide that appeals, it might be worth picking up if
> you're relatively new to North American birds. Few things are more
> frustrating than a foreign field guide of plates that describes a bird
> as "unmistakable" or "like a <<insert common bird you haven't a clue
> about here>> only smaller and tends to cheat at cards". Even some of
> the ducks are hard (they have a lot of ducks.) Image databases and
> photographic guides can really help here, I've found.
> If you have time, it would be worth finding out if there are any bird
> club activities happening during your trip. In the context of a club
> outing, US birders can be exceptionally helpful and tend to be excited
> about overseas visitors. Canadians are always nice ;-)
> I can't offer any suggestions specifically about upstate New York but
> can say that the forests of the eastern North America are absolutely
> gorgeous, and should be lovely (but possibly hot and humid) when you
> go. If you're keen, it would be worth finding out if there are any
> active beaver dams near where you're going. Beavers have a long
> history of waxing and waning in North America based on human attitudes
> and lately they've been waxing significantly. (When I was a kid, they
> were virtually unheard of in a lot the east now they're becoming a
> nuisance in some areas.) Even if you don't see a beaver, the dams and
> their ponds are beyond impressive. (I never get get tired of visiting
> beaver dams...but that might just be me.) The oak forests are also
> typically teeming with squirrels, which is a treat.
> Have a great trip!
> ---------------------------------------------
>  David Adams
>  Wallaga Lake 2546 NSW
> ---------------------------------------------
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