Most recent field guides to North American birds have been directed toward experienced birders; they assume a knowledge of techniques and terminology, and include many seldom-found species. In contrast, this set is intended to teach beginners the basic techniques of field identification and how to apply them to the birds that regularly occur in the United States (excluding Hawaii and most of Alaska) and southern Canada. How To Identify Birds presents the six essential features: habitat, size, behavior, shape/posture, color/pattern, and voice. The major North American habitats are described, mapped, and illustrated. A size scale based on well-known species is provided. Common behaviors, and typical shapes, postures, colors, and patterns, are defined and depicted. Birds' voices are not easily described in writing, and this section is inevitably less successful, but overall, concepts are presented effectively. Geographic coverage in the eastern and western field guides divides along the western edge of the Great Plains. In each, birds with similar characteristics are grouped in approximate taxonomic sequence. The species accounts include English and scientific names, habitat, field marks, notes on similar species, range, and color photos. In sexually dimorphic species, both sexes are normally depicted, usually in breeding plumage; other variant plumages (e.g., immature birds, winter plumages) are usually noted in the text. A few minor typographical errors and one case of interchanged picture captions are unimportant blemishes in a well-conceived and executed set. How To Identify Birds and the geographically relevant companion field guide are recommended for public and secondary school libraries.Paul B. Cors, Univ. of Wyoming Lib., Laramie
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