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A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica Paperback – September 22, 1989
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From Library Journal
Comstock: Cornell Univ. Pr. Oct. 1989. c.656p. permanent paper. illus. maps. bibliog. index. LC 88-43444. ISBN 0-8014-2287-6. $65; pap. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4. $35. ref This is a superior field guide to a country with one of the richest assortments of bird life anywhere. Written and illustrated by top experts, this book has it all: 52 excellent color plates, detailed species accounts, brief write-ups of 70 birding localities, and extensive introductory materials, often skimped on in books of this genre, on geography, climate, habitats, and conservation, accompanied by helpful photographs. Costa Rica has a fine park system and has long been the most popular Central American country for visiting naturalists. Since the destruction of natural areas in the Neotropics is finally receiving the publicity it deserves, books such as this are urgently needed. It is the first Costa Rican bird book since Paul Slud's The Birds of Costa Rica (1964. o.p.), a respected but unillustrated monograph. A splendid job. Highly recommended.
- Henry T. Armistead, Thomas Jefferson Univ. Lib., Philadelphia
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A superior field guide to a country with one of the richest assortments of bird life anywhere. Written and illustrated by top experts, this book has it all: 52 excellent color plates, detailed species accounts, brief write-ups of 70 birding localities, and extensive introductory materials . . . on geography, climate, habitats, and conservation, accompanied by helpful photographs."―Library Journal
"This book is much more than a field guide to the birds; it is a complete guide to birding in Costa Rica. It is so much more comprehensive and helpful than other country field guides that it sets a new standard for field guide utility and comprehensiveness."―Naturalist Review
"An excellent field guide, one that sets the industry standard . . . at least for this reviewer, who has subsequently compared every bird guide to 'Stiles and Skutch.' . . . The authors are two top experts on neo-tropical birds in general. . . . Absolutely indispensable for Costa Rica, and very useful for countries which share Costa Rican avifauna."―British Bulletin of Publications, April 2000
"This long-awaited, much-needed volume may be the best field guide I've ever seen, and it's sure to become the standard against which all new field guides will be measured. Tehcnically excellent and comprehensive, it's the kind of book readers will not put down at the end of the day, but will savor in the evenings back at camp."―Marcy F. Lawton, University of Alabama
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One additional note - I did buy an inexpensive, worn used copy from which I had a copy service separate the plates from the text and bind each separately. The plates will accompany me in the field. Those plates will probably help me narrow down my diagnostic choices more quickly. For examples, in Garrigues-Dean I have twelve plates for woodcreepers and antbirds, while I have to peruse only four plates from Stiles-Skutch.
If you're not a birder they sell a nice laminated fold out bird reference for about $10 in every souvenir shop in the parks.
Skutch was a giant in this field, and this book is the one the researchers use, althought it is still very accessable to the layman. The price is right as well. It is widely available in a great many places down there, but always at list.
--!! TAKE THE TIME TO PUT A CLEAR PLASTIC COVER ON IT. The cloud forest is a perpetual rain machine. I used shelf-liner, and was very glad I did.
Also, take good quality waterproof 8x42 (optically optimal because of the light transmission characteristics - the forest is dark, even at noon) binocs (I like Leupold Cascades and Pinnacles, but I'd also check out EagleOptics SRT 8x42 offerings (great value for the money)) and top lens covers that are tied to your neck strap. And Goretex jacket and pants. We saw a great many tourists wandering around in plastic trash bags looking in the trees trying to see the Quetzals and other birds and standing in line to use the guide's birding scope. Thousands in travel and hotel expenses, and missing the fun for lack of a couple of hundred spent on binoculars.
You have to try the creamery in Monteverde - best ice cream in the world. And my wife got addicted to Cafe Britt (who ship to the U.S. from their web site). Oh, and the roads are a disaster - rent the diesel 4Runner, you'll need the heavy front-end suspension.
And especially, enjoy; it's a beautiful country and the Tico's are wonderful, funny and friendly people.