I have accumulated quite a few bird identification field guides over the years and I thought I had enough. But then came The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle.
Most every basic birding field guide will include warblers, but The Warbler Guide takes it to infinity and beyond that both beginner and expert birders will appreciate.
Warblers are especially challenging to ID because they move quickly, are often in dense habitat and they don't sit around to give you that perfect look with your bins.
Sometimes all you see is a flash of color, a wingbar, throat patch, the underside of the tail, sometimes a distinctive behavior, perhaps just a silhouette or a blur.
And then it's gone. But fret no more.
The Warbler Guide will enable you to identify a warbler with limited information and teach you what's important to focus on for species identification.
At the top of the ID page for each species, there is a single row of icons for silhouette, color, undertail, range, habitat and unique behaviors. This helps for narrowing down choices for quicker identification.
How many times do you see only the underside of a warbler that's high above you? Well they have it covered with undertail covert comparisons, tail patterns from underneath, belly colors and even feather color around the vent. Below is one example of eastern warbler undertails.
Below is an example of just two of the pages for male American Redstart identification. It includes photos in many different angles, close-ups and even in-flight photos of the bird.
Each species account includes silhouette, color pattern, undertail color and pattern, range, habitat and behavior icons for quick reference; distinctive views, additional photos, comparison species, aging and sexing, range map, song description and sonograms.
Included are detailed descriptions of each species songs and call notes along with sonograms (audio spectrograms).
Don't worry if you don't know how to interpret these.
The book gives a thorough explanation of how to use them. And once you do learn how to use them, they will help you learn and identify warbler songs in the field much more easily.
I've never seen so many birders drool over a new field guide like this one. Here are some of the reviews:
The Best Warbler Guide-Simply Essential
"Of all the bird books I own including all compilations and books on specific species, this has to be the best.
Well organized, incredible detail, superb photos including details on song patterns and side by side comparisons of similar warblers.
It's rather easy to tell this book was put together with much planing and thought. Well crafted in every respect." -Anthony Gliozzo
Excellent - Covers All Angles and Views
"Great detail and pictures of Warblers covering every angle and diagnostic.
Even provides information about identifying warblers in flight. More than a reference guide to me. I inhaled every page." -Herb Lazarus
Great addition to my birding library
"This is the most comprehensive book on warblers out there!
Good for beginners or the most expert! I bought the electronic version to put on my ipad mini, but I will soon buy a hard copy too." -K. Noblet
You can purchase The Warbler Guide in flexibound book and/or Kindle Format.
I prefer the real book version myself, but note it is larger than your average field guide. So if you don't like carrying large field guides around, you may prefer the Kindle version.
There is also a Song and Call Companion audio guide available from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Macaulay Library that is presented in the exact page-by-page order as they occur in the book. It costs $5.99 which I think is a steal.
When you click over to Amazon, you can view inside the book to see more details.
This field guide would be great to use in your own local area, but also especially useful on birding trips to new locations.
I know I would have loved to have this book when guiding birding trips in dense spruce-fir forests in Maine.
The warblers were always the most difficult and sometimes frustrating birds for people to ID.
It would have been nice to have The Warbler Guide as another resource for showing people what to look for.
Likewise, this book can help you when your birding buddies say, "All I saw was..." and you reply, "No problem. Let's take a look at my Warbler Guide!" :-)
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