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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for beginning birders
For the beginning birder, the identification of Sparrows (in particular) and Finches can be a trying experience due to their similarity in appearance. This guide attempts to simplify the process for those in the eastern region of North America. Naturally, for the beginner, reems of scientific information is out of the question; what is need is key information and clear,...
Published on April 29, 2004 by K Scheffler

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars ... would cover more of the US side of the Great Lakes. This book is more Canadian with sightings ...
Was anticipating the book would cover more of the US side of the Great Lakes. This book is more Canadian with sightings based more in Canada than the US.
Published 3 months ago by Kate Hustak


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for beginning birders, April 29, 2004
This review is from: Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America (Paperback)
For the beginning birder, the identification of Sparrows (in particular) and Finches can be a trying experience due to their similarity in appearance. This guide attempts to simplify the process for those in the eastern region of North America. Naturally, for the beginner, reems of scientific information is out of the question; what is need is key information and clear, detailed photographs in order to gain familiarity. And that's what this guide provides. There's no two ways about it, this is an excellent resource for the beginning birder.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sparrows & Finches of the Great Lakes Region & Eastern North America by Chris G. Earley, December 1, 2010
By 
Marsha L. Gavitt (Flower Mound, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America (Paperback)
Naturalist and birding workshops host Chris Earley humorously refers to Sparrows as "LBJ's" (little brown jobs) because so many people think all sparrows look alike. He helps differentiate each species' truly unique appearance, song (phonetically spelled) and behavior. Under his "Nature Notes" per bird, is a historical, entertaining, but always informative comment. He states while some sparrows are more related to warblers and tanagers, all similar species in this book have cone-shaped bills for eating seed. So, in addition to Sparrows and Finches, other species covered here are: Buntings, Cardinals, Crossbills, Dickcissels, Juncos, Longspurs, Redpolls, Siskins and Towhees.

Attributes of this book include: clear photos; a colored seasonal range graph and map per bird; and verbal descriptions/comparisons. In addition, a separate section of comparison charts using photos is quite handy. Some example titles of these photo comparison charts are: "Sparrows with Rufous Crowns" and "Sparrows with Streaked (or Non/Partially Streaked) Underparts". There are separate comparisons for all the other aforementioned species.

I have year-round activity in my own rural yard with larger and more colorful migrating birds from South America, Canada, and both North American coasts, so these welcomed little "LBJ's" and their songs can be easily overlooked. If you cannot visually ID a bird, sometimes only its behavior or song is enough for confirmation. And, while I own many birding ID books, I was pleased to find one dedicated to this group. If you require more than an otherwise definitive verbal description of a bird song if you cannot actually see a bird, Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs - Eastern and/or Western Region is most helpful.

For such a small, convenient book, much information is presented. I would like to have the index page moved to the very back page. Also, it would be helpful to see seasonal plumage photos for all species/both sexes. Seasonal plumage photos were done for many species here, including immature. Perhaps showing more would have made the book too thick for travel. This did not affect my 5-star rating, as sometimes plumage differs even by region or hybridization. It is clear this book was written by an author with a passion for engaging new birding enthusiasts in this area.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Straight-forward photo guide for beginning on the sparrows, September 7, 2008
Basics: 2003, hardcover, 128 pages, 220+ color photos of 62 species, range maps

If you're looking for a less complex book to help you begin learning the sparrows and finches of the eastern US, this book will be helpful and welcome. There are over 220 color photos of the 42 species expected to be found in the east along with another 20 vagrant species from the west.

The photos are the center piece of this book. All are sharp, quality photos. Except for the vagrants, all birds have 2-5 photographs. The multiple photos show gender and age differences where relevant or, front and back for less variable species.

The text for each bird does not get bogged down with too much detail, which is good when first learning these birds. For the experienced birder, this book will not be appreciated nearly as much as is the information found in the Beadle or Rising books. Each bird has a short paragraph on its general natural history along with a simple list of identification notes on which to focus when looking at a bird. Names of similar species are given to help forcomparison.

For the vagrant species, just one smaller photo is shown for each bird. These are discussed with a brief paragraph of 5-8 short lines.

A nice addition in the back of the book is the inclusion of nine tables and photo charts to help compare similar species. As an example, there's a table for "Redpoll Comparison" and a photo chart for "Streaked Underparts Comparison" species.

There's nothing here that's not found in the better US field guides; however, it does present the information a little more simply and with a greater reliance on good photos for the birders who are less comfortable with sparrows.

I've listed several related books below...
1) A Guide to the Sparrows of the United States and Canada by Rising
2) Sparrows of the US and Canada: A Photo Guide by Beadle/Rising
3) Sparrows and Buntings: A Guide to North America and the World by Byers/Curson/Olsson
4) Finches & Sparrows : An Identification Guide by Clement/Harris/Davis
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bird Guide/Bird Lover, July 12, 2010
By 
Harry (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America (Paperback)
As a moderate bird watcher, I checked out this book from the library to see if it could help me identify the all too similar sparrows. That it concentrates on sparrows, I had hoped that it would have detailed photos and diagrams of sparrows in their various phases and variety. The book does have variety, but not to the degree I had hoped. A decent field guide serves this purpose better. That does not mean that this book has no use.

I am not going to go through this book in order to give it a thorough review. It looks like it could be a nice book to have for people who like to watch their backyard birds and want to identify some of them, and would like to know a bit about them. The photos in the book are fine, but not outstanding. The book has useful and interesting information on the birds it covers. The text on the various birds is different from what you would find in a field guide and can be almost story-like to read. For the type of information it has, I would call it a cross between a bird guide and a bird lovers book. It has aspects of both. Perhaps a nice bird book for the home.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sparrows &Finches, March 4, 2014
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This review is from: Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America (Paperback)
Gives good detail for those who want to learn to id the markings and a good companion to Sparrows of the US & Canada.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for a birder., July 9, 2013
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This review is from: Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America (Paperback)
Early's photos are right on. Early's colorful photos make sparrow identification easy. This volume will make your birding venture a pleasure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous guide!, December 9, 2012
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This review is from: Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America (Paperback)
What a great guide to a group of birds that is difficult to identify. Excellent tips on field marks, maps, super photographs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Books for Area Specific Birding, March 22, 2011
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This review is from: Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America (Paperback)
I don't know any birder who owns just ONE field guide. The more, the better, and each book has its purpose. I routinely look at Chris Earley's collection (four books--warblers, sparrows, hawks/owls, and waterfowl) to pore over seasonal status charts found in the beginning of each book, and the cheat sheets and handy comparison picture charts located in the back of each book. The seasonal status charts are based on birds found/migrating through Point Pelee, Canada. I live close enough (MI) to utilize that data--it has helped on many an occasion to zero in on which bird might be in my neck of the woods on any given month. Likewise, the cheat sheets and comparison pictures will help narrow down confusing look-alike birds, particularly sparrows and warblers which can be difficult to identify. Are these all you need in your birding book collection? No, but they offer invaluable information I can't find in other field guides, or at least not in handy chart form. Best of all, they can be bought dirt-cheap, so all four really belong in every Eastern birder's collection of books.
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3.0 out of 5 stars ... would cover more of the US side of the Great Lakes. This book is more Canadian with sightings ..., September 15, 2014
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This review is from: Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America (Paperback)
Was anticipating the book would cover more of the US side of the Great Lakes. This book is more Canadian with sightings based more in Canada than the US.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, October 2, 2014
By 
R. Bradley "RMBrad" (Bulverde, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America (Paperback)
great pictures and easy to use in the field
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Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America
Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America by Chris G. Earley (Paperback - April 10, 2003)
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