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Peterson Reference Guides to Gulls of the Americas Hardcover – June 13, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Peterson Reference Guides
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1st edition (June 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618726411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618726417
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

STEVE N. G. HOWELL has written many books and papers on birds, including Hummingbirds of North America and A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. He has been affiliated with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory for twenty years and is currently a senior birding tour leader for WINGS, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I recommend this book to every birder!
Jenifer Covill
I ordered the book close to Christmas and was very pleased to receive it in good time to gift it to a neighbor who lives on the lakeshore.
M. Rinn
This book is jam packed full of many, many details about Gull identification.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Brooke A. Miller on May 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yesterday I received the brand new, "Gulls of the Americas" by Steve N.G. Howell/Jon Dunn, Peterson Reference Guide. This is quite a book! -- hard cover, definitely not a field guide as it is quite a bit larger and quite heavy, and with lots and lots of color photos inside. There are pages and pages of each bird in each cycle, standing, and flying, both from above and below. There are almost 300 pages of plates, each page having 4-5 pictures per page. For instance, Glaucous-Winged Gull pictures start on page 235 and ends on page 243. There are a total of 41 pictures of this species. Pages 300-500 are the Species Accounts. This includes range maps, identification summaries, and field identification sections. The book's Introduction is 46 pages which includes sections on field identification of gulls, and a lengthy section on topography and appearance.

The front inside flap says the guide "...brings together identification criteria for the 36 species of gulls that occur in the Americas - 22 that breed in North America, 10 that breed in South America, and another 4 that have occurred as visitors from the Old World. The 1,160 photographs were selected to show a representative range of plumages..."

I'm far from knowing much about gull identification, that is why I purchased this book, and so I won't weigh in on how accurate this book is. For everyone who has a birder's library, this should be your next addition. And at $23.10 at amazon.com, it is a steal!

And, maybe by this winter I will have enough time to study this book so I can actually identify some gulls !!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Gull identification is complicated and difficult. This book is jam packed full of many, many details about Gull identification. It has exceeded my expectations with its wealth of information and excellent photos. The authors are clearly experts and have dedicated a significant portion of their lives to the sometimes esoteric and always intriguing world of gull identification. The book also provides an excellent introduction (which is a must read if you are to get the most out of it) that gives a background on the details of molt cycles, feather tract terms, etc...

This book is not a field guide, it is truly a reference guide as the title clearly states. It is a large format hardcover (with dust jacket) book printed on high quality glossy paper. This is a book that you study at home and maybe keep in the car as a reference.

In summary it is a worthy addition to any birders library and a book that would make its namesake (that is Roger not Rodger) Tory Peterson proud.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Weatherbird on July 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Gulls of the Americas" is packed with information, but this book isn't much fun. I suspect only hard-core gull watchers will want to use this book.

There is a very useful introductory section, and the authors encourage their readers to study the introduction before moving on to the rest of the book, but I suspect many readers will find their eyes glazing over before they get very far. The main part of the book is divided into a 251 page section of photos and a 192 page section of species accounts. The photos do a good job of illustrating the various plumages of the gulls, but the photos are small, and aren't really a lot of fun to look at. The species accounts are thorough and clearly written but rather dry. The photos and species accounts are separate, and it can be awkward to go back and forth between them. I expect this book will come in handy when I come across gulls that are difficult to identify, but I wish the people who put together the book had made it more user-friendly.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By V. Burgett on November 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
All birders know: Gull ID is a tougher proposition than almost any other group. Without repeating what others have already written, I will say that this book was of immediate use to me. I had photographed a terribly confusing gull on the WA coast some time back, and there was a picture in this book of a gull that was a perfect match. It turned out to be a hybrid Glaucous x Glaucous-winged Gull. I cannot think of any other reference that would have had an illustration to help me solve that mystery.
Yes, it is a dense book. Learning Gulls is not like learning the birds at your feeder, and I cannot believe someone gave this book one star just because they could not understand it. Gulls are a bit beyond my abilities to, but shouldn't that make us thankful for such an amazing reference? The amount of work that went into this must have been incredible. And I was already a fan of Mr. Howell based on his excellent and ground-breaking Mexico books - both the field guide and the birding guide.
In short - this is a MUST for the shelf of any really serious birder.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elaine Radford on February 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"Fear of gulls" with their multiple plumages has been something of a bugbear for me. Thing is, there are many good birders in my state, and I'm sick of all the other guys being able to glance at a large flock and pick out the Franklin's hidden among the Laughing Gull hordes in a moment. This book exposes the secrets of how I can learn to do the same thing. Photo after photo, detailing real birds with real plumages...it's absolutely marvelous. When you are ready to take your gull ID skills to the next level, this book will be there to help you figure out just what oddity you've got in your scope.

I won't repeat what others have already said, but I will simply state that in my humble opinion the one star review should be removed. That reviewer admits to making a mistake in purchasing the wrong kind of book. Rather than returning the book and buying what they really needed, they chose to one star a magnificent work that represents man years if not man decades of expertise. Just not sporting.
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