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Identify Yourself: The 50 Most Common Birding Identification Challenges Paperback – May 1, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

You've spotted a cute little ringed plover down by the shore-but wait! Is it a semipalmated plover? A piping plover? A Wilson's plover? Don't panic, says Thompson, the editor of Bird Watcher's Digest and the author of Bird Watching for Dummies: it's easier than you think. Sections on back color, leg color, bill shape and bill color plus excellent color illustrations by Julie Zickefoose (to whom Thompson is married) will straighten you out in no time. And if "separating long-billed dowitcher from short-billed dowitcher is one of the single most difficult identification problems in North America," at least figuring out the difference between horned grebes and eared grebes is a little easier. In clear, encouraging prose, Thompson addresses dozens of other identification problems, reminding readers that in greater challenge lies greater reward. He also offers readers the "Top 20 Rules of the Bird Identification Game," which include reminders to look at the bird more carefully than the bird book, to take notes and to trust your instincts.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

You've spotted a cute little ringed plover down by the shore-but wait! Is it a semipalmated plover? A piping plover? A Wilson's plover? Don't panic, says Thompson, the editor of Bird Watcher's Digest and the author of Bird Watching for Dummies: it's easier than you think. Sections on back color, leg color, bill shape and bill color plus excellent color illustrations by Julie Zickefoose (to whom Thompson is married) will straighten you out in no time. And if "separating long-billed dowitcher from short-billed dowitcher is one of the single most difficult identification problems in North America," at least figuring out the difference between horned grebes and eared grebes is a little easier. In clear, encouraging prose, Thompson addresses dozens of other identification problems, reminding readers that in greater challenge lies greater reward. He also offers readers the "Top 20 Rules of the Bird Identification Game," which include reminders to look at the bird more carefully than the bird book, to take notes and to trust your instincts.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  (Publishers Weekly )

 basic birding guide will help identify many birds, yet there are numerous times when a beginning or intermediate birder needs more assistance-added ornithological detail, comparative comments, and more identification tips-that such a field guide does not have space to provide. That's where this new volume will delight and aid. Drawn from the column of the same name in Bird Watcher's Digest, the book is not intended for the field but as preparation before or a check after field identification. Covering 50 common identification challenges, including waterfowl, wading birds, hawks, gulls, crows, warblers, sparrows, and more, the text also provides plentiful comparative color plates illustrating additional marks, postures, and behaviors. Authored by the editor and staff of Bird Watcher's Digest and illustrated by a noted natural history writer and artist, this is an important resource to add to most public and academic collections. Expect it to fly off the shelf. (Illustrations seen in black and white.)-Nancy Moeckel, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.  (Library Journal ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618514694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618514694
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #658,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
78%
4 star
11%
3 star
11%
2 star
0%
1 star
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See all 18 customer reviews
I highly recommend this book for all serious birders.
Anthony J. Soule
I am a relative novice at birding and this book has really helped make me a better birder.
WordPlayer
This book came out this summer,but I just found it this week.
J. Guild

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By J. Guild TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book came out this summer,but I just found it this week.
It is going to be a great help for all birders,particularly the novice and intermediate.Even those who have been at it for years will find lots of identifying points to help them sort out those birds that are very similar.Whether dealing with sorting out similar sparrow species,similar shorebirds,similar finches,similar blackbirds,etc it is very difficult moving past the obvious birds ,particularly in breeding plumage,and trying to convince yourself that you can differentiate between female Cowbirds and female Brewer's Blackbirds;especially while finding them alone.Here's where this book shines.It takes those similar birds ,that confuse many,and describes the point,s that help tell the difference.
BirdWatcher's Digest has been the most popular 'Bird Magazine for many years ,now having over 70,000 subscribers.One of the best features has been Eirek A.T. Blom,s articles on identification.Along with that Julie Zickefosse's excellent artwork and illustrations have been admired for years.This book takes that wonderful work,by some of the best,that has come out over the years ,and put it all together in one book.It is put together in a manner that makes it a pleasure to read and easy to understand.
I must stress,this is not a typical field guide to all the birds;it is a terrific addition for any one of those guides,to help sort out those similar species that give everyone lots of trouble.If you already have a field guide,this should be the next book to get,I guarantee you will not regret it.
In 1990 Kenn Kaufman wrote a book "Advanced Birding" that was similar to this book ,but was geared to the advanced birder to help sort out the real tough ones .This new book is aimed at those common species that are encountered virtually every day you go birding.
No doubt about it,there has been a long time need for this book and will be very popular with all birders.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Ream on February 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book for sorting out and identifying those tricky birds that are difficult to distinguish from one another. It is aimed at beginners and intermediates, but still provides helpful points for advanced birders. Julie Zickafoose does an beautiful job at the illustrations, and Bill Thompson clearly outlines the differences between similar species. This is a good book to own if you are having troubles with identifications.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Anthony J. Soule on October 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is the first book I have read about birds that tackles the tough job of identfying the really difficult birds. I have been birding over 20 years and this is the first of its kind, I believe. The author, Bill Thompson III, presents those very subtle ID marks that will help even the experienced birder. The sketches by Julie Zickeffoose are remarkable. I highly recommend this book for all serious birders.

Anthony Soule
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Leroy on August 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've been looking for a book like this for a while. I highly recommend it to anyone that needs a little bird identification help and is confused on similar looking species. It offers many useful tips and a lot of great advice. This is not the book, however, if you're looking to identify flycatchers or specific shorebirds. Besides that, though, this is a fantastic book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dave Holland on May 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to get into the details of bird ID. Pitfalls and difficult problems are emphasized. For example, there is a whole chapter on how to distinguish the immature bald eagle from the golden eagle. Some of those tricky problems seem to be glossed over in the usual field manual, only to present unexpected difficulty later. This is not an introductory text, but it is an easy and entertaining read. Well worth it, and different than the vast majority of texts.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on July 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
Bill Thompson III and the editors of Bird Watcher's Digest present Identify Yourself: The 50 Most Common Birding Identification Challenges. Finally there's a guide for avid birders which explains why it's often so difficult to identify birds, from the challenges of separating immature colorings from adult to features which make common birds hard to tell apart. The focus on what elements make identification a challenge and how to overcome these challenges through alternate methods makes for a fine review of the major bird species and their unique attributes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By WordPlayer on January 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
I discovered this book by accident and found it very useful. I am a relative novice at birding and this book has really helped make me a better birder. The Top 20 Rules of the Bird Identification Game make this book well worth the price. But it isn't just for beginners. I bought a copy for a friend who is a very accomplished birder and she has found it very useful in identifying gulls. For me the sparrows are difficult and this book has made it easier. I can actually identify many of those LBJ's (little brown jobs).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Blake Morgan on January 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a bird fan, I really wanted to get this to help me learn as much as possible about feathered friends, and it sure does deliver! One disappointment however, it left out some species that summer here in the last frontier!!Other than that, this is a great book! Good for yourself,or as a gift for that birder you know!!!
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