Books for Birders

David W. Johnston

Beginning birders often start by checking out their own neighborhoods. Most states will have their own guides, and this is an excellent one for our library's patrons.

Ken Dial

Dial visits locales in the United States and Costa Rica to view birds native to the areas. Vol. 1. Florida wading birds ; Massachusetts songbirds -- Vol. 2. Washington predators ; Arizona hummingbirds -- Vol. 3. Rare birds of Costa Rica ; Prime tropical tropical real estate.

Mark Jaffe

Here is an environmental detective story. In the early 1960s, game wardens on Guam noticed a decline in the bird population. In 1980, biologist Julie Savidge was hired to solve the mystery and save the birds. When her research named the prime suspect few people believed her. This is the story of her hunt for evidence. It will make you worry about every plane that lands at Dulles.

David Burnie

Part of DK Publishing's Nature Activities series for the younger crowd. Lots of photos!

Richard K. Walton

Enables birders to recognize birds of eastern and central North America by their songs and calls. Points out exactly what to listen for to tell one bird from another. Available on both cassette and CD.

Sheila Buff

Like Sibley's Birding Basics, an excellent book to start with. It includes a guide and tips on how to identify birds as well as information on behavior, bird lists, and binoculars.

William Lishman

"... this heartwarming story tells of William Lishman, a reclusive sculptor, who adopted a gaggle of geese, flew with them in an ultralight glider, and actually taught them to migrate--earning himself the nickname 'Father Goose.'"

Later, his book was made into the movie Fly Away Home, starring Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin.

Bill Oddie

Conservationist Oddie is best known in Britain for his role in the long-running TV comedy series "The Goodies." In this book he takes the reader on a bird-watching tour to such diverse places as Morocco, the Isles of Scilly, India, Ireland, the Shetland Islands, and Papua New Guinea. As he encountered many species of birds he also had several bizarre incidents along the way. This lighthearted book is illustrated with photos and the author's field sketches.

Edward W. Cronin

Learn how to become a competent birder in the shortest time possible. Birdwatching is the favorite sport of millions, but it can be frustrating for the beginner. Originally published in 1989, this concise volume was the first book designed to let the beginner in on the secrets of skilled birdwatching. Although especially valuable for beginners, the birding tips and regional checklists make this book useful for all birding enthusiasts.
An eBook.

Christopher Cokinos

"Journey with Christopher Cokinos to a time when flocks of Passenger Pigeons blocked the sun and Carolina Parakeets colored the sky--according to one pioneer--'like an atmosphere of gems.' Driven by a desire to understand the lives of these now-extinct birds and how and why they vanished, Cokinos excavates crumbling newspapers and forgotten reports. From Bird Rock in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Louisiana's tangled bayous, he searches for those who loved the Passenger Pigeon, the Carolina Parakeet, and the Labrador Duck; for the people who stalked the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, the Heath Hen, and the Great Auk; and for those who tried to save them. A compelling blend of science, history, politics, and memoir, Hope Is the Thing with Feathers draws on previously unpublished photographs and original documents to make these long-vanished birds come alive. Cokinos delves into the mysterious sighting of Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers in April 1999; the incredible plan to create new Heath Hens on Martha's Vineyard; and the astonishing possibility that these extinct birds could be resurrected through the science of cloning."

Don and Lillian Stokes

Based on the PBS series 'Birdwatch' with Don and Lillian Stokes.

Joe Hutto

Turkeys are not stupid. The author spent a year studying a flock of wild turkeys in the loblolly pine woods of Florida, having hatched wild turkey eggs and imprinting the poults on himself. Turkeys are masters of disguise, blending in with their surroundings in ways so subtle as to make the work of hunters and predators difficult. Hutto is a wildlife artist, and the book is illustrated with his sketches and color photographs.

Kenn Kaufman

"At sixteen, Kenn Kaufman dropped out of the high school where he was student council president and hit the road, hitching back and forth across America, from Alaska to Florida, Maine to Mexico. Maybe not all that unusual a thing to do in the seventies, but what Kenn was searching for was a little different: not sex, drugs, God, or even self, but birds. A report of a rare bird would send him hitching nonstop from Pacific to Atlantic and back again. When he was broke he would pick fruit or do odd jobs to earn the fifty dollars or so that would last him for weeks.

"His goal was to set a record - most North American species seen in a year - but along the way he began to realize that at this breakneck pace he was only looking, not seeing. What had been a game became a quest for a deeper understanding of the natural world. Kingbird Highway is a unique coming-of- age story, combining a lyrical celebration of nature with wild, and sometimes dangerous, adventures, starring a colorful cast of characters."

Scott Weidensaul

For anyone curious about the lives of migratory birds this book is a great nest of information. The author has traveled all over the world banding and observing birds and talking to the experts--amateur birders and ornithologists who have made many of the important discoveries about bird biology. From Alaska to Lake Erie to the limestone forests of Jamaica, Weidensaul reaches not only for the scientific particulars but for the universal stories and humanizing, descriptive turns of phrase that keep this book from bogging down in statistics and jargon. By book's end the reader is unable to resist the heart of this compelling story, a plea for the conservation of habitat to keep these miraculous creatures on--or at least circling--the earth.

Felton Gibbons

Felton Gibbons and Deborah Strom trace the history of bird watching in America. This recreational activity has evolved from the practice of shooting as many birds as possible to the contemporary practice of watching and recording the numbers and varieties of our feathered neighbors. The authors introduce the reader to pioneer naturalists Alexander Wilson, John James Audubon and John Muir.

Pete Dunne

"Pete Dunne has taught birding to beginners for years, but he has never found the right book to help them get started. Now the popular birding author identifies the skills and tools available to people with any amount of interest--great or small-- in bird watching. Beginning with backyard birding and moving through a quick but comprehensive survey of tools of the trade, Dunne outlines ten basic, simple steps in bird identification that can make a birder out of the most casual of observers. He goes on to show beginning birders how to use their skills to explore new horizons through birding by ear, birding by telescope, and finding and identifying rare or difficult birds."

Roger Tory Peterson and Virginia Marie Peterson

"In celebration of the centennial of Roger Tory Peterson's birth comes a historic collaboration among renowned birding experts and artists to preserve and enhance the Peterson legacy. This new book combines the Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds and the Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds in one volume, filled with accessible, concise information and including almost three hours of video podcasts to make bird watching even easier."

Marie Winn
"Marie Winn is our guide into a secret world, a true wilderness in the heart of a city. The scene is New York's Central Park, but the rich natural history that emerges here--the loons, raccoons, woodpeckers, owls, and hundreds of visiting songbirds--will appeal to wildlife lovers everywhere. At its heart is the saga of the Fifth Avenue hawks, which begins as a love story and develops into a full-fledged mystery. At the outset of our journey we meet the Regulars, a small band of nature lovers who devote themselves to the park and its wildlife.

"As they watch Pale Male, a remarkable young red-tailed hawk, woo and win his first mate, they are soon transformed into addicted hawk-watchers. From a bench at the park's model-boat pond they observe the hawks building a nest in an astonishing spot--a high ledge of a Fifth Avenue building three floors above Mary Tyler Moore's apartment and across the street from Woody Allen's. The drama of the Fifth Avenue hawks--hunting, courting, mating, and striving against great odds to raise a family in their unprecedented nest site--is alternately hilarious and heartbreaking."

Linda Johns

"This is a true story of two unusual individuals: County, a robin who chooses to share her life with a human, and Linda Johns, an artist, who was happy to accommodate her. Through the pages of this book, the reader shares the mysterious realm of an intelligent and responsive creature of the wind."

David Allen Sibley

This guide is primarily for the beginning and intermediate birder, or indeed for anyone who wants to develop better birding skills. Sibley explains what to look for and how to find it!

Robert M. Chipley

This expert resource organizes the United States into 36 ornithologically distinct bird regions, then identifies and describes the 500 sites within these regions. Each site entry includes ornithological highlights, ownership information, a description of habitats and land use, a guide to which species one can expect to find, conservation issues, and visitor information. Full-color maps and illustrations throughout, along with a thorough index, make this book as useful as it is unique.

Mark Obmascik

Three birding fanatics compete with each other and themselves to see the most number of birds in and around the U.S. in one year. Where they go, what they do, and how much they spend are almost unbelievable. Talk about obsessed!

Also available on audio.

Donald and Lillian Stokes

"Copiously illustrated with maps, line drawings, and full-color photographs, this large format paperback book contains the essential information that backyard nature enthusiasts want and need -- to select feeders and understand the basics of birdfeeding."

Donald and Lillian Stokes

This is a wonderful book for everyone interested in bluebirds. It has lots of photographs and covers virtually every aspect of bluebird-ing, from housing to feeding to fledging to behavior.

Sheila Buff

Tips for choosing the right equipment, finding a good birding location, and identifying the birds once you get there.
An eBook.

Pete Dunne

When a flash of pink was spotted in a cloud of gray gulls over Newburyport, Massachusetts, ten thousand people descended on the town in hopes of seeing a rare Ross's gull from Siberia. Among them were Pete and Linda Dunne, who set off from there on a year-long odyssey. Dunne had poured the most remarkable stories, birds, and characters into this unforgettable book about their once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

George H. Harrison

Bird-watching expert George Harrison provides more than a glimpse into the unpredictable and often humorous avian world. Experienced bird watchers will recognize with delight the insight he imparts. They will also recognize themselves, albeit with some embarrassment, in the humorous photographs, which show to what lengths some people will go in their obsession with birds.

David Allen Sibley

One of the newer field guides, this one has lovely illustrations and maps all on the same page for ease of use. It also shows birds in different poses - very helpful! It is a bit heavy to carry in the field, but the quality is worth the weight! The library also owns his guide to birds of Western North America.

Augusta Trobaugh

"The women of a small town's bird watching society secretly plan to "eliminate" the husband of one of their members in this modern spin on the classic film Arsenic and Old Lace. Founding members of the Tea-Olive Bird Watching Society in tiny Tea-Olive, Georgia, are Beulah, Sweet, Wildwood, and Zion - each named after a hymn. Pillars of the community, seemingly beyond reproach, two of these ladies are nonetheless conspiring to murder retired judge L. Hyson Breed, a newcomer to Tea-Olive. It all begins when the judge tricks Sweet into marriage, steals her land for a development project, and fast-talks his way right onto the town council. By the time Beulah and Zion discover his evil plans - and realize that Sweet has endured personal harm with more to come - the judge is already a permanent fixture in town. Or is he? In a story replete with coconut cake, grits, and poisoned turtle stew, Beulah and Zion attempt to do away with the judge while always remaining unfailing polite."

Peter Cashwell

All around the world, birds are the subject of intense, even spiritual, fascination, but relatively few people see the word bird as a verb. Peter Cashwell is one who does, and with good reason: He birds (because he can't help it), and he teaches grammar (because he's paid to). An English teacher by profession and an avid birder by inner calling, Cashwell has written a whimsical and critical book about his many obsessions - birds, birders, language, literature, parenting, pop culture, and the human race. Cashwell lovingly but irreverently explores the practice of birding, from choosing a field guide to luring vultures out of shrubbery, and gives his own eclectic travelogue of some of the nation's finest bird habitats.

Dan Koeppel

When the author's father Richard was 11 years old, he spotted a Brown Thrasher, and his fascination with birds began. Now a "Big Lister," Richard is one of only 10 or so people to have recorded more than 7,000 species in his notebook. This is the remarkable chronicle of his travels across the globe in pursuit of his fixation. It is also a thoughtful examination of the natural world and a touching father/son story.

Also available on audio.

Ann Taylor

"Ann Taylor's humorous and evocative reflections on bird watching and the people who do it are no more just about birds than Thoreau's Walden is just about a pond. Taylor chronicles her fascinating life as a curious and devoted amateur bird-watcher and nature-lover who has traveled the world in pursuit of her passion. Along the way, she also delves into many subjects of interest to the over 50 million American birders -- identification ... songs ... names ... migration methods ... and the watchers themselves."

Jacques Perrin

"The companion to the Oscar-nominated film, Winged Migration is the definitive visual account of its subject: the extraordinary flights of migrating birds around the world. Migration is an enigma. Who knows why the cuckoo, born in Europe, flies alone to the far forests of Africa, home of its ancestors? Or how the Arctic tern can fly over ten thousand miles on its astonishing journey from pole to pole? Winged Migration follows single birds and whole squadrons on their restless flights seeking answers to such riddles. The result is a tour de force that is testament to the patience of a globe-trotting team of filmmakers and ornithologists. With its informative text, Winged Migration offers both the general reader and the dedicated bird watcher a bird's-eye view of five continents and a grand, yet intimate, portrait of the secret life of birds."