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This companion volume to the previous, widely acclaimed Guide to the Identification and Natural History of the Sparrows of the United States and Canada takes sparrow identification one step further. The authors have gathered a stunning selection of over 350 photographs as a basis for the identification of all 64 taxa of emberizine sparrows found in the region. Never before has such a comprehensive collection of sparrow photos been presented together in a single guide.
The supporting text gives detailed information on the identification of species, sexes, ages, races, and forms of all the sparrows, towhees, juncos, buntings and longspurs, grassquits and seedeaters, as well as information on their distribution, habits, habitats, molt, and voice. Particular attention is paid to the geographic variation found in many species and to comparisons with similar and confusing species. The conservation status of those that are threatened is also given due attention.
The photographs include contributions from many of America's finest bird photographers, and many were taken especially for this book. All fine portraits in themselves, they have been chosen specifically to illustrate the identification pointers described in the text. Each is captioned with full details of the photographer and the place and time at which the photo was taken. Also included are line drawings of identification details such as wing and tail feathers and beaks, as well as distribution maps.
List of Species Covered vi
Habitat Photographs 10
Introducing Maps 14
Accounts of Species 15
Appendices 1 and 2 313
"[...] The authors consider this guide a companion to, not a replacement for, their previous work – A Guide to the Identification and Natural History of the Sparrows of the United States and Canada, which has more extensive text and paintings instead of photographs. For identification purposes I would disagree. I would recommend this photographic guide above the other due to the fine photographs and text that seems more focused on identification. However, that does not mean the previous work is without merit. It contains additional information, such as breeding ecology, not found in the photographic guide along with some very nice artwork. Please see my review for a more detailed comparison. For aid in the identification of these “little brown jobs”, this is the book to get."
- Grant McCreary (09-12-2006), read the full review at The Birder's Library
"[A] book that can be carried into the field with ease. This book should turn those 'little brown jobs' into interesting individuals, and is highly recommended for birders who are trying to sort out the members of this challenging family."
- Wildlife Archivist