Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stokes Sticks Out!

I think one of the field guides I own has excelled many others: "The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America."
The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America
This guide, however, does not hold any history on the birds, like "The Young Birder's Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America," or "Birds of Illinois." It is strictly dedicated to six things: Shape, habitat, voice, subspecies, hybrid birds and range. There are eight hundred fifty-four species, from your backyard favorites, to those magnificent high-interest rarities that you are just dying to see. Updated range maps and spectacular descriptions make this guide excellent! With more than thirty-four hundred astonishingly good photos all by Donald and Lillian Stokes from every angle imaginable, this guide makes for easy identification and a great learning opportunity. All plumages from almost every bird are there, right at your fingertips:
  • Male
  • Female
  • Immature
  • Summer
  • Winter
  • Morphs
  • Notable subspecies
  • Birds in flight
If you purchase the full version (eastern and western region), you will also find a special downloadable CD at the back of the book, with over six hundred songs, straight from the backyard! In the front and back, there are two flaps. The front flap shows a quick identification guide, ABA birding codes and a range map "decoder." The back flap is a biography of the authors, Don and Lillian Stokes, "Parts of a Bird: The Basics" and a key abbreviation "dictionary." You can buy this book on Amazon for $16.49. I won't guarantee (just to be safe, o course), but this book is bound to take your birdwatching to the next level. Though, it does have its drawbacks. For one thing, it is a little too cumbersome for some people's tastes (myself included) out in the field. The other thing is, all of those high interest rarites get in the way! Overall, I would give it , out of ten stars, a deserved 8.75. Happy birding!

-Mr. Bird

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