How to choose a bird book

soon to be available in digital and smart phone app format

soon to be available in digital and smart phone app format

It can be a daunting task to know which book to purchase. There are a few things to consider such as the clarity of the pictures, whether drawings or photos are better or do you prefer the distribution map on the same page as the bird picture. I came across this list of books on the Birdlife Echuca District site.

You may be interested in a digital or Smart-Phone Application of the Field Guide to the Birds of Australia by Graham Pizzey & Frank Knight. This item comes from the Alice Springs Land for Wildlife and Gardens for Wildlife Newsletter.

Though they have had many collaborators over the years, the flagship of Australian bird field guides is still referred to as “Pizzey & Knight”. The book is routinely voted as the best in a strong field of Australian bird guides, and now the book is taking the plunge and becoming only the second Australian field guide to release a smart-phone application for iPhone and Android devices (the Michael Morcombe field guide was the first).

Due for release in the next couple of months, this app boasts the superior artwork expected, recordings of calls for most species, and adds to the standard features of most field guide apps by including a site guide as well. So this app will not just help you to identify birds as you find them, but for those so inclined, it will help you locate them in the first place. At the website you are able to take a digital tour.

There is also a new book Birds of Prey by Stephen Debus. This book is an illustrated field guide to diurnal raptors, a bird group that many people find among the most difficult birds to identify. Raptors are popular and iconic birds, and important ecologically as well as in legislation, with some species listed as threatened. Birds of Prey of Australia will enable people to more easily identify them. It also provides a brief overview of the biology of raptors and an indication of the current state of knowledge on them.

The book has been completely revised and updated, with 15 years of new data, a section on difficult species-pairs (split-images providing direct contrast), and rearranged in modern field-guide format, making it easy to use and enabling rapid identification of ‘difficult’ raptors.


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