Birds of Prey (East & West)
I agree with almost everything that the publisher says
Birds of Prey of the West: A Field Guide
By Brian K Wheeler | Princeton University Press | 2018 | Paperback | 360 pages, 85 plates with colour illustrations; colour photos, 58 colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780691117188
Birds of Prey of the East: A Field Guide
By Brian K Wheeler | Princeton University Press | 2018 | Paperback | 296 pages, 72 plates with colour illustrations; colour photos, 38 colour distribution maps |
The Publisher’s View: Birds of Prey of the West and its companion volume, Birds of Prey of the East, are the most comprehensive and authoritative field guides to North American birds of prey ever published. Written and lavishly illustrated with stunning, life-like paintings by leading field-guide illustrator, photographer, and author Brian Wheeler, Birds of Prey of the West depict an enormous range of variations of age, sex, colour, and plumage, and feature a significant amount of plumage data that has never been published before.
The painted figures illustrate plumage and species comparisons in a classic field-guide layout. Each species is shown in the same posture and from the same viewpoint, which further assists comparisons. Facing-page text includes quick-reference identification points and brief natural history accounts that incorporate the latest information. The range maps are exceptionally accurate and much larger than those in other guides. They plot the most up-to-date distribution information for each species and include the location of cities for more accurate reference. Finally, both books feature colour habitat photographs next to the maps. The result sets a new standard for guides to North America's birds of prey.
Other Views: "Brian Wheeler's new field guides are must-haves for every bird-of-prey aficionado, hawk watcher, raptor biologist, or field naturalist. The wonderfully detailed plates and text synthesize the latest knowledge on plumages for each species, including information on aging, and mark a new frontier in raptor identification books."
– Laurie J. Goodrich, Hawk Mountain Reservation, Pennsylvania
"North American raptors, even the common ones, can be incredibly variable in appearance and a challenge to identify for many birders. In his new guides, Brian Wheeler celebrates this diversity and skillfully guides observers through steps to distinguish what they are seeing. Bravo for his approach and industry, which will assist us all in appreciating the raptors of our world!"
– Gordon Court, wildlife biologist
"The spectacular color illustrations and detailed text should make Birds of Prey of the East and Birds of Prey of the West welcome additions to the library of any serious aficionado of diurnal birds of prey – or to anyone who has ever looked skyward and marveled at the grandeur of a soaring raptor."
– Wayne R. Petersen, Mass Audubon
The Author: Brian K. Wheeler has been studying, painting, and photographing birds of prey throughout the United States and Canada for more than fifty years. He is the illustrator of Hawks of North America (Peterson Field Guides), the coauthor and photographer of A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors (Princeton), and the author and photographer of Raptors of Eastern North America and Raptors of Western North America (Princeton). His photographs have appeared in many other books and in many bird magazines. He lives in Firestone, Colorado.
Fatbirder View: My review is brief as I agree with almost everything that the publishers and other commentators say, this does set the standard and the books are authoritative and thorough. I have just two criticisms to make. I do not understand the choices made of background colours on the plates, with birds that are, for example, mostly shades of brown the use of brown or other dark backgrounds make them harder to appreciate and reduces their value as immediate ID support. Secondly, I do not see the reason for two volumes. There is so much crossover of information and species the volumes would not grow beyond the bound of portability if they were combined.
11th July 2018