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The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds (The Crossley ID Guides) Flexibound – February 20, 2011
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Co-Winner of the 2012 Bronze Medal in Environment/Ecology/Nature, Independent Publisher Book Awards
Richard Crossley, Winner of the 2012 ABA Robert Ridgway Award for Publications in Field Ornithology, American Birding Association
Winner of the 2011 Award for Excellence in Reference Works, Association of American Publishers
"The biggest new entry into the field is The Crossley ID Guide, which has turned the traditional field guide on its ear. Anyone who has birded regularly in Cape May, N.J., has seen Richard Crossley and his giant zoom lens stalking at dawn, dusk and in between. He has, a la Kenn Kaufman, digitally lifted the birds out of those photos and then dropped them--perched, walking, flying, diving, swimming--into a habitat that is one big photographic background, thus creating a picture window onto each species. Simultaneously we see the species up close, far away, in flight, at a feeder, in flocks, sitting, singing. Scale is up for grabs, with some of the birds so small and hidden that you don't see them until a second or third look. But the effect is engaging, exciting and akin to the real experience of birding, where so much happens on the wing, at difficult distance and in odd light."--Laura Jacobs, Wall Street Journal
"[Richard Crossley] tries to squeeze in as much reality as he can onto every printed page.... Why put such images in an identification guide? Crossley calls it reality birding. He believes that you can become a better birder by studying the distant birds and comparing them to the larger close-up images. By noticing the similarities between the different images, you will learn to focus on the features that remain constant for a particular species. The rationale is compelling, and I think Crossley's approach might actually work.... And, in case you were wondering, I love [this book]."--Michael Szpir, American Scientist
"A major innovation in identification guides in that it is designed to teach you to see differently. If you follow the program, this book will make you a better birder. Following the British practice, the Crossley Guide is intended for study at home--not as a field guide. . . . This is for anyone who wants to improve his or her birding skills."--Wayne Mones, Audubon blog
"What's so different about the Crossley ID Guide? Everything. Crossley has designed his guide to reflect the way we see and identify birds. We identify birds by their size, shape, structure, behavior, habitat, and field marks. We [see] birds at close range, at middle and long distances, on the ground, in flight, in trees, and on the water. . . . If you want to be a better birder you will find the new Crossley ID Guide to be [a] major innovation and a valuable tool."--Wayne Mones, Audubon.org
"[The Crossley ID Guide] is innovative, exciting even, in the way the reader can interact with what is in effect a real-life method to bird identification, reality birding, unlike the traditional pointed arrow, look-and-learn approach. . . . I have to say that each bird scene page contains a wealth of detailed visual information that made me look at not only the overall montage of birds, but also each of the subtly different individuals, and to even then search again through the page for more birds to look at. Just like a birding trip in fact."--Phil Slade, Another Bird Blog
"I really can't wait to get my eyes on this thing."--Grant McCreary, Birder's Library
"Richard Crossley has conceived and actually implemented a breakout idea for a general field guide to bird identification. . . . [W]hat (my old friend) Richard Crossley is doing with his idea of image, gestalt, wordlessness and recognition is mind-blowing. And it will revolutionize bird ID practice, discussions, and the scope of what each species is. Whether you have seen a bird and want to figure it out or you have been perusing his intuitive selection of what/how a bird looks and then you see it and know it too, I think you'll find Richard's guiding eye a game-changer for your birding endeavors."--Hawks Aloft
"Crossley's text is well written. It's informative. It avoids the stiff, style-bereft prose almost all other field guides contain. . . . Crossley's text is worth reading. He'll make you a better birder if you do. . . . We've been buried in ID books in recent years, flocks of them descending on book stores, all of them easily recognizable variations on the same theme. Crossley has given us a different kind of ID book, a book much more useful and helpful. He's found a new way to do it. Hurrah for him, and hurrah for us!"--Jim Williams, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Richard Crossley, in his forthcoming book, The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds, has used photography to aid pattern recognition. He has created scenes that depict the way birds actually appear in their natural habitats and by emphasizing the context, he hopes to make it easier for us to perceive the shape and size of birds."--Fannie Peczenik, Pittsburgh Birdwatching Examiner
"Believe the hype! The plates are incredible. . . . [People] will absolutely love it, especially people new to birding the main part of the book's target audience. . . . For me some of the plates were good enough to stick on the wall in a frame as a work of art. . . . I salute Richard Crossley's bravery. I think it's a brilliant, innovative idea and everyone should get a copy."--Urban Birder
"An impressive piece of work and one I fell in love with after a few minutes. It has set the standard for modern photographic bird guides. Buy it."--Steve Blain, Steve Blain Presents "Bird Porn"
"There's a lot of field guides out there. I don't always say this, but this is one you aren't going to want to miss."--Rob Fergus, Birdchaser
"Every birder (of eastern N. America anyway) will likely want a copy of this luscious volume for their shelves. . . . Every birder knows there is no such thing as a perfect bird guide--each has different strengths and weaknesses (and much depends on personal preference). Over recent times we've witnessed a long string of new guides, each tweaking one thing or another, yet really not all that different from those preceding. . . . HELLO Richard Crossley!! Here, we really do have an innovative, almost startlingly different approach. The volume is a joy just to leaf through! . . . Showing birds as one might actually see them in the wild, is at one-and-the-same-time an obvious, yet unique, approach--especially I think illustrative for beginning-to-intermediate birders."--Ivory Bills Live
"What a fantastic book. I realized at once what all the other great books were lacking. This IS an 'ID' book, not an in-depth reference on bird data but a unique way of expressing easy ID in the field. It's perfect. The multiple positions in the pages are phenomenal--why hasn't this been done before? This is totally unlike any other bird book out there ever!"--Tom Watson, Wavetamer Adventures
"What do all fieldguides and ID handbooks have in common? Obviously the answer is the presentation of distinctive fieldmarks, unique ID features that separate difficult species. Wrong! Because the Crossley Guide breaks the mould. The author has used every birder's experience to present a unique aid to ID--a guide that sees what the birder does, obscure views, distant views, birds in trees, in flight, in the distance on a flat marsh. . . . Anyone who reads the text and looks at the composite pictures will gain something and most will get a great deal from this book."--Bo Beolens, Fat Birder
"[The Crossley ID Guide] isn't a 'field guide' so much as an at home reference, or a learning guide. Looking more into it and thinking back to my early days I realized this is the perfect guide to give someone that is going to get into birding. . . . Seeing pictures and poses that you will actually see of these birds adds a new dimension to the bird guide book."--Tim Avery, Utah Birders
"With The Crossley ID Guide we can linger on each picture, read the brief captions which make up most of the text, and really get to know the birds. . . . The sheer number of images makes this guide much more useful than a standard photo field guide. . . . The Crossley guide is to old photo field guides what a top of the line roof prism binocular is to an old out of alignment pair of Tasco brand binoculars. You can use one of these all day, but the other one will eventually give you headaches. . . . I think all birders would benefit from making a regular study of [The] Crossley ID. Get a copy and start having fun with it."--Rob Fergus, Birdchaser
"Crossley's intent is to create an interactive experience--involve a birder of any skill level in the active practice of field skills without their ever having to leave home. . . . Learning to look at the size and shape, behavior, probability and color of these stationary birds develops in the reader, a skill in seeing which later can be transferred to experiences in the field. . . . While the photography is clearly center stage in this new Guide, I especially appreciated lengthy sections within the introductory text on bird topography, molt, and a discussion of eclipse plumage! . . . It's not just another bird book. It's an inexpensive birding vacation."--Nina Harfmann, Nature Remains
"[The Crossley ID Guide] is a really cool guide; [Crossley's] approach is unconventional and that's exactly what excites me most about it. . . . This is a book I want to spend time with and get to know better. I think Richard Crossley can make me a better birder."--Laura Hardy, Somewhere in New Jersey
"First impression: Wow! I love it. . . . The number of images in different plumages and postures will help the intermediate level birder move to the next skill level. . . . There is a lot of content for a $35.00 (list price) guide book. It's a buy recommendation from me."--Birdzilla
"I can't help feeling that The Crossley ID Guide, and the others set to follow in its wake, will have as major an impact on bird identification as the silicon chip has had on photography in recent years. . . . Crossley deserves nothing but praise for what he has achieved. I, for one, can't wait for the other bird ID books that are in the pipeline."--Ron Toft, Travel Editor
"A fantastic learning tool. Since my copy arrived, I have referred to it, almost daily."--This.Great.Planet
"The most outstanding feature of this book is the wide selection of excellent color photos of the 660+ eastern birds of USA/Canada, including rarities. The 10,000 photos used to compile this book show vibrant colors and nearly all the plumage variations (gender, age, season, race) one would expect to see in the field."--Avian Review
"Princeton University Press has just published the first Crossley ID Guide in the U.S. This one is for birds in the eastern U.S. That means all species found regularly east of the Rockies. If you're visiting or birding in that part of the U.S., this book's for you."--Harry Fuller, Towheeblog
"This is an amazing reference guide in helping identify birds. . . . Every birder needs a copy of this book in their library and another copy on the dining room table for when you're having those 'bird' talks with friends. Congrats Richard Crossley for starting a movement to a new wave of ID Guides. I can't wait to see what you can come out with next!!"--Mon@rch's Nature Blog
"For anyone who is a birder in North America, since many of these birds are found across the continent, I can't imagine being without Crossley's book and its more than 10,000 images."--Reading the Markets blog
"The Crossley ID Guide is my brand new favorite birding field guide. Its unique photographic presentation, visual species index, and inclusion of many species that other eastern bird guides lack allow the birder to quickly and easily identify not only resident east coast birds, but also many of the common vagrants that may be seen here."--Brad Sylvester, Manchester Bird Watching Examiner
"Given that there are already a half-dozen excellent field guides to birds of the US, is this new book useful to me? I answer, enthusiastically, yes! . . . Another feature of this birding guide that Peterson and Pearson never dreamed of; it's interactive! I can try to soak it all the images on the printed page, but if I need more information, I can find it with a click on the website. The web version has labels, comments, and questions not included in the book."--Anne McCormack, Gardening with Binoculars
"I like The Crossley ID Guide and I think it is absolutely awesome that someone has come up with a new way of presenting bird images in a guide format. . . . It is a great reference, a beautiful book, and I strongly recommend that birders buy a copy."--Corey Finger, 10,000 Birds
"The best-looking bird book I ever saw. Too big to carry around for some people, but a two-fisted lug can manage it. This book's not a field guide anyway; it's an ID guide. It's made for birding at home. You can read it like a novel. With pictures. A million pictures of a million birds from a million angles in their actual surroundings."--Two-Fisted Birdwatcher
"The introductory pages clearly state the purpose of the book: to make the reader a better birder. As I first paged through the scenes, one of my initial thoughts was that this is more like a study book for birders, rather than a traditional guide to be used in the field. . . . The scenes themselves are a pleasure to study. The photographs . . . are arranged to show as many different plumages and positions for each species as possible. Birds are shown in flight, swimming, perching, hunting, socializing, feeding, preening, even mating. . . . I give The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds 5 Goldfinches out of 5."--Amy Evenstad, Magnificent Frigatebird Blog
"Remember those Highlights for Kids magazines you used to read in waiting rooms, the ones where there was a background picture with dozens of strategically hidden images throughout, and you had to find them all? Well, that's actually what birding is all about, and that's exactly what this ground-breaking new book gives you; numerous photos of each Eastern bird species, birds of different sexes, ages and plumage, in real life poses and situations, tucked into the habitats or settings in which you're most likely to see them. In real life, you rarely get a perfect clear view showing all field markings--instead you get a speck, an impression, a fleeting glimpse. This Crossley ID Guide gives you a chance to make sense of those glimpses."--Cathy Taibbi, Wildlife Conservation Examiner
"Photo-guides are becoming increasingly commonplace but it is safe to say that this new guide is unlike any you have seen before! . . . It is no exaggeration to say that this book has revolutionised photo-guides. . . . For anyone living in or visiting eastern North America this is a 'must-buy.'"--Andy Stoddart, Surfbirds
"[The Crossley ID Guide] is, bar none, the closest anyone has gotten to actually showing what the birds look like in life short of a video recording, and there's no better way to train yourself to be a better birder than by seeing birds in life."--The Drinking Bird
"Educators are most successful when properly prepared for their mission. The requisite tools for leading our 'students' from novice to competence include appropriate resources, an effective pedagogical approach, and a learning environment that fosters independence. The Crossley ID Guide can supply these tools to bird educators. . . . Crossley's 'outside the box' qualities make the guide a worthy addition to the bird educator's toolbox. Given the plates' backgrounds, bird educators will be able to not only teach identification skills but simultaneously deliver critical bird conservation messages related to habitat loss, degradation, and other threats. This is not just another field guide. The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds can be a transformative resource for birders and bird educators at any level."--Dave Magpiong, Bird Education Network
"I get books sent to me all the time and the words, 'innovative' and 'revolutionary' and 'amazing' get tossed around. The books are good, but rarely live up to the hype. Richard Crossley's new Crossley ID Guide to Eastern Birds is a guide lives up to those words. . . . I do really like this book, it's interactive, it challenges you to think of birds in their habitat and it gives you so many ways to prep for how you might observe the birds in the wild. Many of the pages can serve as a quiz to help you age and sex each species. . . . This book is definitely worth having your bookshelf."--Sharon Stiteler, Birdchick
"The Crossley ID Guide is the perfect book for beginning birders, and even experts will marvel at its thoroughness. Each plate is a landscape of appropriate habitat, and the images of each bird are positioned to give a feel for what it's like to see the birds in nature. . . . The scope of The Crossley ID Guide is almost unimaginable."--Scott Shalaway, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"A visual masterpiece, I'd recommend it to any birder of any level of experience."--Jim McCoy, JPM Photography Blog
"When I received a review copy of a this new field guide I immediately lost my next half hour, absorbed completely in paging through plate after plate of birds found in the eastern U.S. and Canada. . . . After spending a little time with this guide, a simple, direct statement sums up the general consensus: 'This is wow!'"--Mike Powers, Feathers and Flowers blog
"We've all been eagerly waiting for The Crossley ID Guide, slated to be an innovative field guide. In fact, it's more than that--it's a whole new species of book for birders. . . . The birds are seen at various stages of life, in various states of molting, in close-up and at a distance (which is how most of us see birds most of the time), and displaying characteristic behavior. The last is perhaps the most striking feature of the Guide. Of course, most field guides will show a nuthatch walking head first down a tree trunk. But what of other species, say Fulica americana? The Crossley ID Guide is the first guide I've seen that shows two American coots engaged in fisticuffs, that is, kicking wildly at each other. Only someone who has a keen eye for coots knows they're quick to deploy their large green feet to settle disputes."--Fannie Peczenik, Pittsburgh Bird Watching Examiner
"The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds is a guide that all birders will want for study and reference. Its large and detailed plates come closer than those of any bird guide to replicating the experience of seeing birds in the field. It should be especially useful for intermediate birders who want to move beyond puzzling out field marks to identifying birds according to size, shape, and behavior."--John Beetham, DC Birding Blog
"My most dedicated birding is usually done on the water, when I'm trying to point out and talk about various seabirds while working on a whale watch boat. So my perspective in reviewing this book is from a person looking for a good guide to have aboard the boat. And for that, this book is perfect. . . . This is a great birding study guide and reference book, with helpful images and interesting text covering Eastern waterbirds and landbirds. . . . You'll love it."--Jennifer Kennedy, About.com Guide to Marine Life (5 star rating)
"Each fresh page is a birder's Utopia--a bush bursting with warblers, a sky full of raptors, a seascape crammed with seabirds. The plates invite us to pore over them--there's so much to see and notice--and to interact with the images, building up an impression of the characteristics of each species from the many images. . . . Does the book live up to all the superlatives that have been lavished upon it? I'd have to say, 'Absolutely!' This book really will change the way many people approach birding."--Dig Deep
"If his plate of Cedar Waxwings doesn't give you a pretty good grip on what the bird can look like, both close up and at a distance, in flight and standing still, nothing will."--OC Warbler
"All in all, this is a beautiful, informative and well-made book, available for a good price. It would make a great addition to any naturalist's collection."--Lana Gramlich, Dreaming Tree
"Though the guide covers only the 'eastern' states and provinces, it includes a great many more typically western species, too, among them the specialties of the Black Hills and Pine Ridge, which are given short shrift (if any shrift at all!) in competing titles. Crossley's texts--both the brief species accounts and the prose introductions to larger groups--are engaging and accurate, and the half dozen pages 'How to Be a Better Birder' will encourage beginners and many, many others to start looking at birds in fresh new ways. This wealth of information, verbal and visual, should make The Crossley ID Guide absolutely essential to any birder's bookshelf."--Rich Wright, ABA Blog
"This is not your father's bird guide. Crossley's book utilizes multiple photographic images of each species to depict aspects of appearance, behavior, life stages and habitat."--Paul Smith, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
"There is so much to explore and look at in this book with all of the photos. It will definitely help birders of all experiences. You should not hesitate to pick it up, as it will be a helpful addition to your birding library."--Scott Kruitbosch, Connecticut Audubon Society
"I had discussed the book a few times with the energetic author, Richard Crossley, and knew it would be groundbreaking, unique, & valuable. It didn't disappoint! . . . I congratulate Richard on this monumental effort and for coming up with a bird guide concept so new and yet so potentially helpful to birders across the spectrum of ability and experience."--Bill Schmoker, BrdPics blog
"Crossley has done a wonderful job conveying his method of birding. Look, see and recognize. Sometimes known as birding by GISS or General Impression of Size and Shape. With the addition of habitat, probability and a few field marks here and there, one can identify any bird in the world. . . . In opening this book, you're taking an interactive journey into the field, studying what each bird looks like in various plumages, angles, positions, etc."--Chris West, North American Birding blog
"The Crossley ID Guide pulls on many of these threads. The in-your-face assortment of poses and sizes . . . tries to recreate the sense of being out in the field. Crossley champions an approach to identification that values close observation but doesn't reduce birds to a collection of field marks."--Hugh Powell, Round Robin
"Crossley's book features large, lifelike scenes for each species. The beautiful montages are almost like mini-dioramas, with a 3-D quality, showing how birds look up close, at a distance, in flight and other contexts. . . . I like the emphasis on bird habitats, and plan to study them for a sense of which conditions suit which birds. . . . The Crossley book brings alive the importance of appropriate habitats to birds, and perhaps will encourage some birders to go beyond merely identifying and counting the birds they see. This new guide helps us get to know the birds."--Val Cunningham, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"This ID guide is really practical in many ways and will definitely make identifying birds so much easier. It is definitely unique in its approach and the author clearly loves what he does and it shows through in every aspect of this guide. It is a guide all people living in or visiting the Eastern United States should have."--Meg Smith, Nerd Birder
"I like that Crossley states in the introduction that this guide's aim is 'to both serve and expand the world of birding, make it more fashionable, current, and exciting.' Boy, did he knock that one out of the park. . . . It's stimulating and challenging all at once."--The Flying Mullet
"The many images provide a rich resource for even the most seasoned birders. My wife pointed out the red lores of a snowy egret in one of the photographs. This color appears briefly early in the breeding season. I had never seen this feature nor even been aware of it. . . . A wonderful addition to the birding literature."--Herb Wilson, Portland Press Herald
"His guide is rather a study workbook that prepares a birder for the test in the field. This workbook is a useful tool to birders of all levels, and will increase your skills and ability to look at birds closely."--Robert Mortensen, Birding is Fun
"This book represents a revolutionary paradigm shift in the design and presentation of a bird identification guide. . . . A splendid addition to your birding library . . . or coffee table."--Pacific NW Birder blog
"Here is the brilliance of [Crossley's] idea: it makes you look for the birds as you might do while out birding. Look closely and you might see a tiny brown creeper on a tree trunk, a flock of snowy egrets fishing along a marsh edge or a least flycatcher on a far away branch. This guide teaches you how to see birds while it identifies them for you."--Rob Butler, Vancouver Sun
"If you love birds, whether you are a dedicated and obsessive birder, a backyard birder, or just someone who enjoys birds and wants to know more about them, you need to check this book out on your next trip to the bookstore."--The Nature of Things
"The scenes capture the birds as one would see them in reality, contrary to most other field guides, which present birds in an idealised style. . . . Studying the scenes will certainly help to prepare for the field, or to appreciate what one has just encountered outdoors."--Axel Bräunlich, Birding Mongolia
"I really love this book. . . . It is magnetic: it draws everyone to it with its energetic scenes of birds."--Birdfreak.com
"The Crossley ID Guide is a large format systematic bird identification resource with a number of unique features that make it well worth its remarkably low price. . . . The very strong features of the Crossley guide, however, prompt me to add it without reservation to the list of bird books you must have on hand if birding in the Eastern US or Canadian region is your thing."--Greg Laden's Blog
"An excellent resource to supplement any birder's library."--A Charm of Finches
"The Crossley ID Guide does a good job of illustrating what birds look like under field conditions. And that, after all, is where we see birds, and try to identify them. So if you are willing to invest the effort by using this guide as intended--as a study guide--The Crossley ID Guide is bound to improve your identification skills."--Ned Keller, The Cerulean
"While the plethora of pretty pictures ultimately will make The Crossley ID Guide a best seller, it's the author's candid and conversational writing that I find most appealing. . . . Purists prefer drawings, arguing that there are too many variables in a bird's plumage to depict them all in a set of photographs. But after a few hours with Crossley's guide, I disagree. I like the images--they just take a little getting used to. The book strives to capture nearly every permutation, presenting shots of different poses, angles and plumage."--James McCarty, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Richard Crossley's book is an incredible piece of work. There have been several field guides over the years that have claimed to present a new approach, but this one really does so. . . . There's such a lot of information in here that I'm sure one would go on learning from it for years. The range of photos really allow an appreciation of jizz, but also of the appearance of the species in real-field conditions, sometimes distant, sometimes partially obscured, sometimes with heavily-worn plumage."--Andy Musgrove, BUBO Listing
"The photos are great, depicting true to life colours, with dozens of images of every species of bird, crammed into each page which also has an emphasis on habitat. I highly recommend you add it to your collection."--Saskatchewan Birds, Nature and Scenery
"The photos are beautiful and show the birds like no other guide has."--Scott Arvin, The Cardinal, Indiana Audubon Society
"This is truly a birder's bird book. . . . Crossley is a well-known birder, and his guide reflects his experience: it is organized to be as practical and useful as possible."--Tim McDonnell, Green Life
"Contains more than 10,000 of Crossley's photographs (!) of Eastern birds of every type imaginable and in their natural environment. The effect is amazing, especially for a novice birder such as yours truly, since I often have a hard time imagining where a particular bird might hang out or what it would actually look like in flight rather than in the form of a hand drawing."--Birds and Words
"In my opinion, Richard Crossley does an excellent job of portraying the jizz of the species being studied. . . . The Crossely ID Guide is definitely one that both beginning and seasoned birders will want to add to their library, as it goes beyond the typical field guide in that it actively invokes the birder to hone in their observational skills."--Donald the Birder
"The Crossley ID Guide is an enjoyable guide and will be used most probably for trying to make tough calls at home. . . . Crossley also challenges readers to use his book interactively, 'like a workbook'. . . . Crossley's stated goals are that his guide will be 'visually striking, educational, innovative, entertaining, and comprehensive.' I think he's succeeded on all counts and I look forward to using it for years to come."--Nancy Castillo, Zen Birdfeeder
"Like no other bird identification guide that has come before . . . an excellent reference book to look over before going into the field to refresh one's memory of what to look for. It also provides new angles and identification tips that could help remove the biases a bird-watcher tends to accumulate or even inherit from others. Finally, it might serve as the "final say" on a mystery bird seen during a particular outing. . . . I heartily recommend this novel book."--David Bird, Montreal Gazette
"The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds deserves a place in any birder's library. Everyone can learn something from this new guide and can enjoy using it."--Fritz Brock, Wildlife Activist
"Birders and casual backyard bird-watchers will find a new species of bird guide in The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds. The book is more a reference book and instructional guide."--Linda Scarth, Booklist
"My identification of birds has improved significantly since I got The Crossley ID Guide to Eastern Birds. . . . Crossley's new guide has added immensely to my enjoyment of birding."--George Smith, DownEast.com
"This is not a field guide, nor is it meant to grace the cocktail table. Rather, it is a unique tool for learning how to better identify the birds. . . . Aside from the visual delight of the plates, Crossley's captions are packed with identification tips that address not only size, shape and plumage, but also voice, behavior, and similar species."--Ken Schneider, Rosyfinch Ramblings
"[Crossley's] deliberately oversized guide relies heavily on nearly full-page montages of each bird depicted in as many poses as will fit into each background habitat image. . . . It is a book with which to spend time learning the shapes and sizes of the birds, and training one's mind to associate them with their most common habitat. . . . The key is to learn to recognize the birds through similar processes by which we learn to recognize our family members and friends."--John Riutta, Bird Watcher's Digest
"The guide is a great tool to have in the field and really does make identification easier. It's too big for a back pocket, but creative birdwatchers will figure out how to bring it afield."--Chris Bosak, Keene Sentinel
"Crossley has created an inventive bird identification scheme that closely simulates the actual experience of observing a bird in the field. Even more importantly, he has revived the idea that a field guide should help a birder develop identification skills, rather than replace them. . . . There is much to say about the Crossley guide and doubtless it will be exhaustively debated in the birding community, but it is gratifying to see the field guide revitalized. Beginners and advanced birders alike can use it to build their identification skills, and those who prefer other guides for that purpose may simply appreciate it for its stunning photography and creative imagery. With so much to offer, it seems certain that this book will become a classic of the bird lover's library."--Emily Rondel, Bird Watching
"This is how birders see birds in the field. . . . I found the bird views in the composite scenes to be sharp, clear, accurate and relatable to my birding experience. . . . Before using this guide, first-time users should read the how to use this guide section as it contains key information about the book and its organization. . . . Crossley's attractive volume strongly complements both existing traditional bird guides and Thayer's birding software and has the great potential to improve identification skills of birders at all levels. Therefore, I recommend this guide to birders looking to further their identification skills."--Rob Warnock, Picoides
"If you want to be a better birder--and don't we all strive to increase our skill level?--you must add this volume by internationally known birder and photographer, Richard Crossley, to your short list of 'must have' birding field guides."--Mona Bearor, The Fledgling
"[A] very impressive, attractive, thought-provoking book which has quickly established itself as a must-have for many birders. Is it the best photo guide ever produced?: almost certainly. And there is a companion volume on the Birds of Great Britain in the pipeline, something that will be eagerly anticipated by most birders."--Mike Pennington, British Birds
"For those of you in eastern North America, particularly if you are a visual learner, The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds by Richard Crossley is a great way to begin learning the visual cues that are important in identifying birds."--Bird Watcher's Digest
"Oh yes, my autumn field seminars and workshops this year will use the ideal field guide at last."--Gene Wilhelm, Pennsylvania Birds
"Crossley's guide deserves to be your essential resource for definitive species identification."--Jerry Uhlman, Richmond Times-Dispatch
"The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds has an innovative approach to bird identification that uses thousands of photos of birds in typical habitats and behaviors to immerse birders in the avian world, and even casual birders can quickly become lost in this richly visual book."--Melissa Mayntz, About.com
"It is unlike any [guide] you have seen before. It contains not single images but, for each species, large life-like scenes containing multiple images, some close but many distant, from a variety of angles, in flight and showing typical habitat and behaviour. This montage approach enables all aspects of a bird's size, shape and structure, plumage and behaviour to be displayed to best effect. . . . This book has undoubtedly revolutionised photo guides, representing a huge advance over anything seen previously. . . . For anyone living in or visiting eastern North America this is a 'must buy'."--Andy Stoddart, Birdwatch
"A big, beautiful bird book."--Wannabe Birder
"No other field guide comes close to giving the variety of plumage, habitat and behavior. For the armchair birder, there is no equal to Crossley."--Ronnie Blackwell, Sun Herald
"[The Crossley ID Guide series focuses] on maximising your chances of correctly identifying species by ramping up the number and variety of species images within the guide and placing these images within typical habitats. . . . Each beautiful plate is painstakingly filled with images of hundreds of individual species in different settings or from different angles to help recreate how you might encounter it."--Kate Jones, New Scientist
"A must for the bookshelf though and I very much look forward to reviewing the other volumes of this pioneering series."--Lee G R Evans, UK400ClubRareBirdAlert
From the Back Cover
"The Crossley ID Guide is an interesting, multi-dimensional, unique take on a bird guide that delivers to a high standard for a specific target audience."--Alan Tilmouth
"The Crossley ID Guide, published by Princeton University Press, is an awesome, major achievement, a stunning contribution to ornithological field identification."--John Thaxton
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That was my nerdy friend, dismissively glancing at Richard Crossley's "The Crossley ID Guide - Eastern Birds," on my coffee table.
"I didn't know you were a birder," he said.
"I'm not," I answered.
"I don't get it," he said. "You find another pretty stamp and paste it in an album. You sight another pretty bird and put it on your list. What real good is it?"
"You're missing the point," I said. "With birds and other wildlife rapidly diminishing, birding's annual surveys keep track of migrations, catalog increases or decreases in numbers, and detail losses of environment, as from industrialization and encroaching suburbia. Like canaries in a coal mine, birds reflect present dangers, telling us what we have to protect. Rescue is not only for the birds, but for ourselves."
Sure, my friend granted, birds are beautiful, but many are so distant, tiny, flighty, and fast-moving. How can you make out much about them?
You don't have to be the genius, scientist, and painter John Audubon was, I said. You just learn to see the details in what you're looking at. That takes smart eyes and the right equipment, like anything else. And you have to take copious notes, the way Audubon did in making his detailed paintings.
Unfortunately, back in those days, Audubon felt he had to resort to killing specimens with fine birdshot, then using wires to present them in different natural positions. Crossley and today's birders use fine scopes and cameras . . . and plenty of patience.
Crossley emphasizes that the best book to take with you for bird watching is not a field guide, but a notebook, to record every detail you can see. Crossley's guide is big (about 8 by 10, and over 500 pages) and shows you what to look for. Full-page color photographs, culled from thousands he has taken, show all the eastern species in all their variety, up close and far away in typical flight patterns.
He guides you in noting shapes, relative sizes, and usual behaviors. The goal is to discern birds' gender, age, and feather patterns. Are they juveniles or adults? Note the condition of the feathers. Are they worn from wear, and in process of molting?
On his beginning pages Crossley has careful visual guides to what species you are seeing, whether they are Waterbirds of Swimming, Flying, or Walking types, or whether they are Landbirds classified as Gamebirds, Raptors, Aerial Landbirds, or Songbirds. Crossley's photos tell the story. He shows you what you are seeing.
From the common names, you can parenthesize over to the scientific, should you want. Most importantly, he quickly makes you comfortable with the handy -- and I would say almost indispensable -- four-letter ID Codes, like AMRO for American Robin, YWAR for Yellow Warbler, NOCA for Northern Cardinal, COLO for Common Loon, YLGU for Yellow-legged Gull, COTE for the Common Tern, even RFBO for Red-footed Booby.
The names are fun. The book is fun, and the photos far outdo Audubon as a practical guide to ID the birds you are seeing. Crossley's hundreds of pages are compilations of thousands of photographs. Crossley has been generous in his time and wanderings. He knows more and we follow to learn more. The book is worth getting and absorbing. The learning is how to see what you are looking at. Happy birding, y'all, including my nerdy friend.
First the suggestion: READ THE INTRODUCTION! Pages 22 through 25 are especially important. Why? Because this ID guide is unlike any other you have ever seen. You need to understand why the author created the book to take full advantage of its genius. This guide was never intended to be one you slip in a jacket pocket or the hip pocket of your jeans while you're in the field. As the author says, this ID guide was meant to be interactive, not just a reference. That interactive quality is what makes The Crossley ID Guide unique and that leads me to the observations.
First, the plates in this guide are simply astonishing in their beauty! I could just enjoy this book on that level alone. Over 10,000 of the author's photos of some of the most beautiful and graceful creatures on earth are set in their natural, strikingly beautiful habitats.
Second, I began "interacting" with the plates without even realizing it was happening. When I was a kid I used to "get lost" in the Currier and Ives book on my parents coffee table. The illustrations were so detailed and full of adventure. It was as if I could walk right into them. Richard Crossley's plates have that same walk-in quality. They invite you to just hang out with the birds. Wander around their natural environment. You can almost hear the calls and songs and smell the air. I began to think that the only way to make my experience with the plates more "real" would be to set the book up on one side of the room and view the plates with my binoculars from the other side.
This "walk-in" quality is what I believe sets The Crossley ID Guide apart from all other field guides. The more time you spend wandering around inside Richard's plates, the more information you will absorb about the birds. Their size, shape, behavior, habitat color, how they fly, how they feed, how they flock, how they sleep, dive, take off, land, how they relate to one another, and so much more are found in these plates. This experience with the plates can't help but make you a better birder.
Third, this walk-in quality of the plates is best realized and appreciated in a larger format. I can't imagine using a digital version of The Crossley ID Guide on my iPhone. The many birding apps for the iPhone have that area covered pretty well. When I want a paper guide to carry in the field there is Kenn Kaufman's (the first edition fits perfectly in the hip pocket of my jeans. The second edition with the flex binding doesn't fit) or the "little" Sibley (which didn't fit until I used a band saw to trim it down). Those bases are also well covered and are designed to work in a small format.
The Crossley ID Guide was designed to be appreciated in a larger format to facilitate Richard's unique, interactive concept. The current dimensions of the book are adequate to realize Richard's vision while keeping weight and production costs reasonable. I for one would love to see an oversized, "coffee table" edition with plates at least twice the size of this edition. Experiencing these plates in an oversized edition would be really exciting!