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Peterson Field Guide(R) to Advanced Birding (Peterson Field Guide Series) Paperback – May 23, 1990
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Stumped by seemingly indistinguishable immature gulls covering the beach? Wonder whether the accipiter raiding your feeder is a female sharp-shinned hawk or a male Cooper's hawk? Well-known birder and author Kenn Kaufman presents some of North America's most challenging bird-identification conundrums in this guide for the advanced birder. Each chapter covers a group of difficult-to-identify or similar-looking birds, with analyses, tips, and drawings to aid in positive identification. Improve your birding skills and add more species to your life list with this excellent resource.
About the Author
Kenn Kaufman is the originator of the Kaufman Field Guide series, which includes books on birds, butterflies, mammals, and insects. He has also written Lives of North American Birds, Kingbird Highway, and the Peterson Field Guide to Advanced Birding.
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I strongly recommend this book. I held back from awarding a full five stars because I felt that their illustrations lacked a little "life" although experienced birders will probably not find this to be a problem.
Kuaffman's books taught me some key points that I still employ when checking the scaups, dowitchers, gulls and looking for Western Sandpipers among other difficult identifications. His succinct descriptions and comparitive sketches make it much more possible to know how to identify a juvenile Western Sandpiper as opposed to a Semipalmated Sandpiper. I found that I would often go back to this book rather than the other shorebird books I had. Another key section in the book is the coverage of identification tips for the Terns. I had always found it difficult to separate Forster's and Common in the field despite the seemingly easy differences in field guides. This book helped out with good wing pattern comparisons and other marks that were not included in the guides. The pattern drawings of the Terns and Shorebirds alone are worth the cost of the book.
If you are ready to start on Iceland and Thayer's Gull or Rufous and Allen's Hummingbirds you can't go wrong by getting Kauffman's Advanced Birding.
My only quarrel with this book is that Kaufman sometimes places more emphasis on small field marks, and less on overall shape and other amorphous characteristics ("jizz," to the Brits), than I think appropriate. Otherwise, darned close to perfect.