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Pete Dunne on Bird Watching: The How-to, Where-to, and When-to of Birding Paperback – March 21, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1St Edition edition (March 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395906865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395906866
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,171,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Judging by the great number of field guides in print, bird watching is among the world's most popular avocations. Dunne (Hawks in Flight) takes a new tack, providing novice birders and those thinking of taking up the hobby with a literate and exhaustive beginner's manual. The quirky and often poignant anecdotes sprinkled throughout the book also make for an interesting read for advanced birders. From the backyard to field trips and guided tours, the author provides valuable information that would take years of in-the-field effort to obtain. Dunne's advice on binocular design, specifications and uses is easy to understand, despite the technical data. There are also helpful suggestions on proper clothing and footwear, which take into account terrain, season and climate. The author explains such esoterica as why birders should never wear white as well as the finer points of proper bird-watching etiquette. There is an important section discussing a range of field guides and how to use them based on the essential keys to bird identification found in these compendiums. Additionally, this birding primer details the best sites for viewing particular species; where to find more information on bird watching; and how to move beyond the initial level of this fascinating pastime into the more sublime reaches of advanced birding. 100 b&w photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

To anyone with a modicum of interest in finding and identifying birds, Dunne is a well-known name. Director of the Cape May Bird Observatory in New Jersey and author of seven books on birding and numerous columns and articles for birding magazines, he is an articulate spokesman for the birds and those who pursue them. This new how-to book on the art and science of bird watching distills years of Dunne's experience and brings together hundreds of tidbits from his published columns. He describes how to attract more birds to the yard by feeding, landscaping, and providing water, then he moves on to the tools needed to see and identify the new additions to the yard, discussing binoculars and field guides and how to choose the best ones. The next chapters cover the fundamentals of birding. Birding ethics and the responsibilities of birders are covered in the final chapter. Scattered sidebars written by other birding experts offer insider's insights. Dunne has an affable, knowledgeable, and conversational writing style that entertains as it educates. Nancy Bent
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

PETE DUNNE is the author of many books, including Pete Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion, Pete Dunne on Bird Watching, and most recently Prairie Spring, the first in a four-book series on the seasons. He is the vice president of the New Jersey Audubon Society and director of its Cape May Bird Observatory.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ed on June 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Pete Dunne does a wonderful job introducing the reader to the world of birding. He starts with the basics: field guides and binoculars, and explains how to choose among the various ones out there (there are so many that a beginner can easily become overwhelmed). As a beginner, I know that he saved me a lot of time and money on these two issues alone. Dunne then moves on to more advanced topics, such as basic birding techniques, where to go birding, and birding organizations. Inspirational anecdotes from his experience and other birders are peppered throughout, easing the reader into a specialized field while maintaining that natural curiousity about birds that all of us have.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By rah101 on September 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have both this book and "Sibley's Birding Basics." I think that Dunne's book is better for the beginner. It is written in a MUCH more engaging style, is not nearly as technical (e.g. in details of bird taxonomy), and has a lot more practical advice.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jonah Cohen on February 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
Veteran birder Pete Dunne has written a book that is an excellent introduction to the popular hobby. As one who's been doing it for a little less than a year, I found his book very helpful.

The various chapters cover useful topics, including: how to select your binoculars (and what those numbers on them mean); what to wear - and not to wear - while looking for birds; how to set up a feeder and make your own back yard more attractive to birds; protecting birds from threats ranging from cats to glass; finding a good field guide; organizations and events; the basics of identifying birds; plus some interesting stories from the field, care of Dunne and other experienced bird watchers. There's a lot of helpful information, that will make a nascent birder feel less clueless.

A few things that might have made it better: there's little info on ornithology itself - Dunne frequently mentions various types of birds as examples, but you may have no idea what he's talking about. When discussing the all-important field marks, for example, there are some (black and white) photos, but more of them (and perhaps illustrations) might have made his points more clear. For instance, showing the difference between the different tail shapes would have been useful. Also, while he mentions many species and family, there's not even a basic rundown of the different types of birds - so if you don't know a sparrow from a warbler, some of his text seems meaningless.

Note also that this is not a field guide (nor does it claim to be) so you'll need something else to help you identify the birds you see.

Combined with a couple of other books like a good field guide (the Peterson guides seem to be the gold standard) and a basic text on ornithology (David Sibley's books get high marks from many) and Dunne's book on birding techniques, and you should be ready to go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary Sprandel on April 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
Starting with backyard birding and bird feeding, Dunne proceeds to give the basics. What to look for in binoculars and field guides, clubs and tours, birding by ear, and hints for moving beyond being a beginner. I particularly appreciated the chapter on ethics and responsibility, and including the ABA code of ethics in the appendix a good idea. Written in a light but informative manner, Dunne is not afraid to tell stories on himself, such as accidentally stepping on a Sharp-tailed Grouse, and identifying a harrier at Hawk Mountain and the lesson's learned. Each chapter includes a useful essay by a `guest', such as Birding by ear, by Dick Walton, or "A birders guide to bird tour survival". Although geared for the beginner, there is useful information and reference for all.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Birder Lover "Steve" on August 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
This prolific writer on birding delivers again, taking many of his tried and true observations on birding and compiling them into an easy and interesting format. I would recommend this strongly to any birder but certainly beginning birders will profit the most from its insights. Especially good for anyone considering an optics purchase.
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By betnix on February 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This man really knows his hobby and love of bird watching.
It's easy to want to get out there and get started after reading
his guides and his joy is contagious.
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