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Birds of Chile (Princeton Field Guides) Paperback – November 23, 2003
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Winner of the 2003 Best Bird Book - South America, Worldtwitch
From the Inside Flap
"Rarely does a field guide of this caliber debut as its country's first. Birds of Chile offers not just perfect field-portability, beautiful and accurate artwork with facing text, and clarity and conciseness throughout: it presents genuinely new scholarship on the field identification of several cryptic and difficult groups, as well as on the modern geographic distribution of Chile's birds. Those who bird Chile will find the combined brilliance of Jaramillo, Burke, and Beadle indispensable in the field and by the fireside."--Ned Brinkley, Editor, North American Birds --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
My only wish is that it had more color phases of the giant petrels. Great guide overall and I'm kicking myself I didn't buy it before my trip.
Introductory chapters are excellent. Plate-facing descriptions are very good and don't fear tackle with the toughest ID puzzles. Distributional maps are the first critical for a lot of species (Thinocoridae, Oreopholus, Chilia, Phleocryopes,etc.). Plates include some masterpieces, e.g. Sheldgeese (plate #24), Treerunner (68), Hummingbirds II (62). A few (#11,#54) rank below average, and would deserve reassesment. Also some inevitable mishaps affect the book: the missing initial text for Juan Fernández Firecrown (page 150), wrong-written words ("Azúl", p.152) .... minor defects easy to amend in future editions.
No doubt Jaramillo's book inaugurates a new era in Chilean ornithology. That's why I give it five stars level.
My only gripe with the book concerns its durability under wet conditions. Chile is a rainy country, and my copy suffered on a typical hike in the rain. That's a minor gripe, however, and I probably could have taken extra measures to protect it.
One side note: If you are planning a birding trip in Chile, it would be nice to bring an extra copy to leave behind for someone you meet here. Field guides are usually imported, very expensive, and hard to find. I haven't seen this one in the stores here yet, and I'm sure that many folks would be glad to receive a copy.
Range maps are somewhat innovatively split into three zones, which when combined cover the entire country from north to south. Species more restricted in distribution may be mapped in only one or two of those zones. Color codes are used to differentiate between residents, Austral summer visitors, Austral winter visitors, migrants, and species of a decidedly sparse or erratic occurrence.
There's a very good mid-book chapter on "Ageing Gulls, Tern and Jaegers" that any beginning and intermediate birder will find helpful, and the same is true of the excellent introductory chapter on field identification. Another introductory chapter describes Chilean habitats.
Perusing this guide, I realize that the South American temperate latitudes are occupied by a wonderful variety of bird species that will not be found in the tropics. I've always thought of the American tropics as being a sort of opposite experience to my North American temperate experience, but in some ways that can also be said for temperate countries like Chile.