Friday, October 8, 2010

New Field Guide!

This month Don & Lillian Stokes will release The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America. With 3400 photographs covering 854 species, it will be one of the most comprehensive and informational field guides available to birders. In fact, it's the first North American guide to cover all subspecies. Thumbing through an advance copy, my first impression was made positive by the guide's stunning photography. I wasn't at all surprised to see names like Brian Small, Robert Royse, and Jim Zipp among the list of 168 photo contributors. An accomplished bird photographer herself, over 500 of Lillian's bird images are in the guide, too! As you might have surmised by the copious number of photographs and species accounts, the new Stokes guide is almost 800 pages and weighs close to 3 pounds (just slightly heavier than the big Sibley guide). In comparison, field guides that break eastern and western into two separate volumes are generally around a third of the weight. However, if you desire the most recent identification tips, updated range maps, key behavioral information and clues, detailed descriptions of songs, plus some of the best bird photography out there, then this is the field guide to get. Included with the guide is a bonus CD containing vocal displays for 150 common birds. Besides, can one really own too many field guides? I think not!

Mike McDowell
Eagle Optics Staff

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