- Series: Comstock Books
- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Cornell University Press (March 24, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 080148328X
- ISBN-13: 978-0801483288
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Birding in the American West: A Handbook (Comstock Books)
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"This book seeks to provide generalizable information that can be used anywhere. As such, it is a novel and useful new volume with numerous black-and-white illustrations and photographs of similar species and sought-after birds. This is an accessible book for beginning and advanced birders living in or planning a visit to the western US."―Choice. November, 2000
"Birding in the American West" is a valuable source of reference material. . . . Jerry McWilliams said: 'This is a well-written book by an author who is obviously an expert in field identification, The species samples. . . are accurate. . . The black and white photographs are excellent. The images are sharp and well composed. The line drawings are anatomically accurate and of high quality .' . . . There's a tremendous amount of information in Zimmer's book that will interest birders living in the American East, as well as those who live in or plan to go to the American West."―Evelyn Anderson, Showcase, September 7, 2000.
"In general, the author has written in a clear and interesting style. . . . As a student of western bird species and an international tour leader, his knowledge of birds and birding is deep and solid. Any person who enjoys looking for birds will benefit from reading his tips and suggestions on technique. And banders may find his identification hints especially valuable."―Robert C. Tweit and Joan C. Tweit. North American Bird Bander, Jan/Mar 2001
"Birding in the American West brings together a wealth of information in very readable format and it deserves a well-earned place on the bookshelf of a western birdwatcher."―Steve N.G. Howell, Western Birds 31:263-264, 2000
" A tremendous asset of this book is its size. . . . Birding in the American West is a must for anyone planning a birding trip to the western U.S."―Scott Shalaway, Cambridge (OH) Jeffersonian. September 17, 2000.
"A large number of problem species 'pairs' and groups are tackled in far more detail than is available in most field guides. . . . For those contemplating a visit to the states west of the Mississippi, this book will serve as a valuable first base and as a handy field companion."―Guy Kirwan, Birding World, 12/01
"Birding in the American West is a very well-written book by someone who obviously knows his birds and his birding very well."―Greg Butcher, Editor, Birder's World
"This is an excellent book. Probably there is no birder out there who could not learn something from this book. Zimmer's wide field experience of watching birds and teaching come through in a wealth of tidbits covering a diverse array of subjects. Buy this book, use it, and learn from it!"―Steve N. G. Howell, author of A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America and A Bird-Finding Guide to Mexico
"This extraordinary book is indispensible for anybody lucky enough to be birding in western North America. It is equally useful to the seasoned expert and the beginning birder. Only a person with Kevin Zimmer's decades of experience and outstanding communication skills could have compiled it. I'll never go West again without carrying this book."―John W. Fitzpatrick, Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director, Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University
Top customer reviews
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Part 2 (chapter 4) alone is worth the price of this book (especially given how cheap it is now from Amazon third-party vendors.) Structurally speaking, it is much like Kenn Kaufman's advanced birding book, that is, an emphasis on identification of difficult groups of birds (e.g. gulls, non-breeding shorebirds). But it isn't redundant compared with Kaufman's since once again, it is much from Mr. Zimmer's own field experience, which can differ from Kaufman's identification approaches to some extent. There are two points worth noting, however. First, photographs showing subtle differences between species are black-and-white. This is certainly not as good as using color photographs, but I would say that those black-and-white pictures more than suffice the purpose of telling the differences. There are hand drawings as well. Second, as the book title suggests, species coverage in this part has a U.S. West focus (you can find the table of contents through Google Books,) but eastern birders should find useful information here too as many species also occur in their region. In short, most birders will have something to learn from this part.
Part 3 (chapter 5) is about finding western sought-after birds (not necessarily uncommon species, but rather those that are representative of the U.S. West avifauna). Given the date of publication of the book, this part is more or less dated, but such drawback can always be supplemented by online resources such as eBird. I don't have the expertise to judge accuracy of all the species covered here, but to my knowledge much information still remains correct.
In summary, this great reference is a must-have for intermediate-level birders in the U.S. West, and it should also serve birders of other levels and the eastern birders well. You won't carry it out, but neither will you regret consulting it before going to or coming back from the field.
This is essentially three books in one. The first section deals with general birding tips, and is applicable to everyone.
The second, and largest, section deals with difficult identifications. This is very similar to Kenn Kaufman's Advanced Birding (Roger Tory Peterson Field Guides). The species covered are those that can be found in the west, but can also be beneficial to those of us in the eastern portion of the country. For example, each of the empidonax flycatchers are covered in great detail.
The last section is a general bird-finding guide to western specialties. This section won't be as detailed as those found in more specific guides, but are still helpful to those who want to find a good spot to see certain birds.
This is a great reference for all North American birders.