Kaufman: Field Guide to Advanced Birding

Skill in Identifying Birds: What’s it all about?

  • It’s not simply a matter of memorizing more and more field marks.
  • It’s definitely not about trying to compare a bird to more and more pictures.
  • It IS about truly understanding what we see and hear.

Are you an avid birder?  Have you been birding for more than a few months?  If so, you will have realized that some birds are easy to identify, some are more challenging, and some are just plain tricky, more confusing than they need to be.  You also will have realized that birding is more fun when we can name more of the birds we find:  When we can cut through the confusion and understand what we’re seeing and hearing.

That’s what this brand-new guide is all about:  Not just a list of field marks (although plenty of field marks are discussed), not just illustrations to compare (although the book is profusely illustrated in color throughout), but a thorough discussion of how to learn to identify birds.  Kenn Kaufman’s highly popular workshops on bird ID are renowned for clear explanations and for making complex subjects easy to understand.  This new volume takes the accumulated lessons of those workshops and makes them available in book form.

In many ways, this book is a descendant of Kenn’s first, A Field Guide to Advanced Birding, which was published in the Peterson Field Guide series in 1990.  That guide, illustrated with Kenn’s line drawings, gave detailed ID information for about 30 of the most challenging species pairs or groups of North American birds.  A pioneering effort, the first really “advanced” identification guide published for North America, it provided details not readily available to most birders at the time.

A lot has changed in 21 years.  A vast amount of detail on bird ID has been published, both in print and online.  No longer is it a challenge to find basic information on identifying birds; instead, the challenge is to sift through the blizzard of data to find those points that are relevant and reliable. Birders are almost threatened with “too much information.”  So this new Advanced Birding takes a new approach: its focus is on truly understanding the variations that we see and hear in the field.  It provides basic principles that will make all bird ID challenges more manageable and more fun.

Not just for “advanced” birders:  Don’t let the title fool you into thinking that this is just a book for experts.  In fact, its clear, careful overview of the basics will make it helpful for birders at any level of experience.  Whether you have been birding for six months or six decades, the Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding can improve your skills and make your time in the field more rewarding.

DETAILS

Author: Kenn Kaufman

Copyright: 2011

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Co.

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