Rating Book Information & Review
MH The Sibley Guide to Birds, by David Allen Sibley. This book is at the current time, the best general guide to birds that can be found in the United States and Canada. It also covers the ranges of these birds in Mexico, but is not meant to be an field guide to the Birds of Mexico. There are also two smaller version of this book. One covers the Western portion of North America and the other the Eastern portion of North America. These smaller versions are more useful in the field. This guidebook shows immature birds, color variants, races and regional difference better than any other general guidebook. It also shows a large number of introduced and accidental birds not covered well or at all in other guides. --Richard Jones
OK Bond’s Book of Birds of the West Indies by James Bond. Ian Fleming named his British Spy after spotting this book in his Jamaican vacation home. Although it has been updated several times this book is quite dated and I would not buy it. On the other hand, if I already owned it (and I do) I wouldn’t throw it away either. --Richard Jones
MH A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies by Herbert Raffaele, Wiley, Garrido et al. Although it was out of date in terms of ranges before it hit the bookstores, it is the best of the Caribbean bird identification guides. The ranges and abundance of the species are inaccurate. It is virtually impossible for any guidebook to remain accurate in ranges due to the fact that hurricanes constantly rearrange the distribution of birds in this area. The value of this book is that it can easily be used to easily id Caribbean birds. The list of species is the largest of any comparable book on the West Indies.--Richard Jones
N2H Peterson Bird Guides. At one time these guides were the best available, but (IMHO) this series has been nearly made obsolete by Sibley Guides. Exceptions would be the guides to Warblers, Hawks and the Advanced Bird Identification Guide (See below). The latest editions still lack the extensive immature illustrations found in Sibley’s Guide.--Richard Jones

Peterson Field Guide to Warblers by Jon Dunn and Kimball Garrett. Of all the North American birds, the Warblers are probably the most difficult birds for most people to learn. Not only are there many similar species of warblers, but most also have seasonal colors and of course the plumages vary by the sex of the bird. For those interested in birds: N2H. For those seeking large life lists of sightings:--Richard Jones


Peterson Guide to Advanced Birding by Kenn Kaufman.  This is a great book for identifying the most difficult of birds, immatures and similar looking species including gulls, sapsuckers, flycatchers, warblers, sparrows, etc. MH for serious birders and bird photographers.--Richard Jones


Peterson Guide to Hawks by William S. Clark and Brian K. Wheeler. This is an indispensable guide to those confusing hawks. This is especially useful for identifying immatures, color morphs and rare hawks, falcons and vultures. MH for birders and bird photographers.--Richard Jones


ABA Birdfinding Guide: A Birder’s Guide to Florida by Bill Pranty. This is one of a series of guides in the ABA (American Birding Association) for locating the various species of birds in specific states. Other guides in the series cover California, New Mexico, S.E. Arizona, Texas, etc. These guides were intended to aid birders and are not identification books but are great resources to photographers who want to photograph specific species of birds. I have used the entire series during the years to build my life list and to photograph birds. The guides beak up the states they cover into small areas. There are many local maps that will aid in locating birding areas. I used the guide to Southeast Arizona to drive up to within a few yards of the Elegant Trogan, one of the rarest nesting birds in the U.S.  Florida birds that I have been able to photograph by using the Florida guide include, Bald Eagle, Northern Caracara (aka Crested Caracara), Burrowing owls, Snail Kite (aka Everglades kite) and Whooping Crane. Each guide is updated every few years. MH for Birders and Bird Photographers in Florida or the other states covered.--Richard Jones


Identify Yourself by Bill Thompson et al. This guide covers in detail the “50 Most Common Birding Identification Challenges” as its subtitle suggests. Can’t tell a black Capped Chickadee from a Carolina chickadee? This book shows how. It also includes id guides for immature eagles, shore birds flycatchers, terns, female blackbirds, swallows and several other groups of hard to tell apart birds.--Richard Jones

N2H Audobon Bird Guide to Small Land Birds By Richard H. Pough (copyright 1949) My Grandmother was an avid birdwatcher and swore by this book for bird identification. Even though it is old, I can still identify birds from it today. However, it is not a good book to take into the field. It is organized by Bird Family and is great for learning about the habitat, habits, range and other details of birds.-- Donna Loughry



Code used evaluating the usefulnes of these books MH – Must Have if you are interested in this subject,
N2H – Nice to have as a supplement,
OK – Okay but either very limited and/or outdated but may be useful if all other guides fail to meet the needs on a specific plant or animal.
NR - Not rated yet - Listed for informational purposes.
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