By: Pete Dunne
710 pages, no illustrations
In this book, bursting with more information than any field guide could hold, the well-known author and birder Pete Dunne introduces readers to the "Cape May School of Birding." It's an approach to identification that gives equal or more weight to a bird's structure and shape and the observer's overall impression (often called GISS, for General Impression of Size and Shape) than to specific field marks.
After determining the most likely possibilities by considering such factors as habitat and season, the birder uses characteristics such as size, shape, color, behavior, flight pattern, and vocalizations to identify a bird. The book provides an arsenal of additional hints and helpful clues to guide a birder when, even after a review of a field guide, the identification still hangs in the balance.
This supplement to field guides shares the knowledge and skills that expert birders bring to identification challenges. Birding should be an enjoyable pursuit for beginners and experts alike, and Pete Dunne combines a unique playfulness with the work of identification. Readers will delight in his nicknames for birds, from the Grinning Loon and Clearly the Bathtub Duck to Bronx Petrel and Chicken Garnished with a Slice of Mango and a Dollop of Raspberry Sherbet.
"[...] This guide is now among the first references I turn to when faced with an identification issue or when preparing for encounters with new species. It undoubtedly belongs in the arsenal of every North American birder."
- Grant McCreary (15-12-2006), read the full review at The Birder's Library
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