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Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding:

Understanding what you see and hear

By Kenn Kaufman | 448 pages | Houghton Mifflin | Hardcover | 2011 | #190144 | ISBN-13: 9780547248325

The Publisher’s Say:

Birders can memorize hundreds of details and still not be able to identify birds if they don't really understand what's in front of them. Today birders have access to almost too much information, and their attempts to identify birds can be drowned out by excess detail.

This all-new Kaufman Field Guide takes a different approach, clarifying the basics and providing a framework for learning about each group. Overall principles of identification are explained in clear language, and ten chapters on specific groups of birds show how these principles can be applied in practice. Anyone with a keen interest in identifying birds will find that this book makes the learning process more effective and enjoyable, and that truly understanding what we see and hear can make birding more fun.They also say that this is not for ‘advanced’ birders – whatever that means. I’d take issue with that as there is much to be learned by us all whether we have 5 months experience of 50 years. For example. A while ago I was looking at a bird in the UK that is usually separated from its look-alike relative on call. If its not singing its tough and, in Autumn, as hundreds creep along hedgerows on migration they seldom call. There was I trying to see if its primaries extended beyond its vent. A fellow birder immediately ID’d the bird because it was twitching its tail – apparently totally diagnostic! So I learned something, which I simply hadn’t taken in before about this common species.

Having said that this book records what we tend to learn to do over time. Whether this is because we are fully aware of every term for the body parts and have memorized the differences and ID separation features in a fieldguide, or just learned what we Brits call ‘Jizz’ (overall impression). I’d recommend it to all as there are bound to be some tricks and wrinkles that even the most wrinkled of us have overlooked and, for the novice, it will be full of revelations.

My one criticism is the print and format. This is NOT a book to carry in the filed but to study on those birdless wet winter evenings. So it could be larger and with bigger and better print.

Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding