A comprehensive field guide that uses an innovative Sound Index to allow readers to quickly identify unfamiliar songs and calls of birds in western North America. Bird songs and calls are at least as important as visual field marks in identifying birds. Yet short of memorizing each bird's repertoire, it's difficult to sort through them all. Now, with this groundbreaking book, it's possible to visually distinguish bird sounds and identify birds using a field-guide format.
At the core of Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Western North America is the spectrogram. With a brief introduction to five key aspects – speed, repetition, pauses, pitch pattern, and tone quality – readers can translate what they hear into visual recognition, without any musical training or auditory memorization. The Sound Index groups similar songs together, narrowing the identification choices quickly to a brief list of birds that are likely to be confused because of the similarity of their song.
Identifying birds by sound is arguably the most challenging and important skill in birding. Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Western North America and the more than 6,000 sound files available online at petersonbirdsounds.com make it vastly easier to master than ever before.
Nathan Pieplow has been fascinated by birds since his childhood in South Dakota, and has intensively studied bird sounds since 2003. He is the former editor of the journal Colorado Birds and an author of the Colorado Birding Trail. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he teaches writing and rhetoric at the University of Colorado.