The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle | 560 Pages | Princeton University Press | Paperback | 2013 | ISBN: 978-0-691-15482-4 |
Every once in a while a bird guide comes out and redefines the genre with its take on how to identify the birds in question. Now you wouldn’t call The Warbler Guide a field guide, there is very little chance you could carry this tome around at all times but if you were in the US and there was a likely warbler fall then you would be hard pressed to find a book you would want more!
The Warbler Guide – Review
I guess I should quality the above a little, but firstly I should point out that this is a guide to “New world” warblers, the strikingly coloured song birds from across the Americas.
Now, when you first open this book what you will notice is that wealth of information on these amazing little birds, page after page is dedicated to their songs, flight calls, identification, aging and sexing and so much more. Stuffed full of amazing (and really not amazing, I’ll explain later) photographs, there are so many identification aids it is incredible.
Now I don’t claim to know a thing about sonograms, but thankfully there is a helpful guide early on in the book, but this book page after page of detailed depictions, each species has a separate page on sonograms under their heading but there is also a quick song finder guide, so if this is your bag, so to speak, then you will not be sorry.
Individual Species Accounts
Each species has its own page, or rather series of pages, that cover the bird in amazing detail. These pages contain the obvious classic photos of the bird, but as well as that they contain some really useful images showing under tail shots (a view most people will have of the bird, so an ideal identification feature). As well as this there are also many additional shots of the bird in varying poses and views. And an excellent feature highlighting “Distinctive Views”. These are parts of the bird you might catch a glimpse of, this really is ground breaking stuff.
Once beyond these wonderful ID features the accounts describe comparison species, again covering shots of classic views as well as images shot from below in order to really help with identification. There then follows and aging and sexing guide, detailed maps and some sonogram pages with comparison species.
Beyond the Species Accounts
If the excellent individual accounts were not enough (which they should be) there are a number of quick guides that have all the relevant birds on one page for quick comparison (again the underside view is included here, which I think is fantastic). And some flight guides as well. If all that isn’t enough there is also A taxonomy guide; measurements guide; silhouettes; habit; and behaviour; and a very detailed glossary. This really is a complete guide.
Probably the best guide I have read. Jammed full of great photos and detailed descriptions, with some really innovative new features I haven’t seen in other guides. I just wish there was a similar guide to European warblers. If you are from the US, or heading that way i would definitely recommend picking up a copy of this book!