Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review of Guide for Bird Watchers

Blue Jay in the Snow photo by mbgphoto
Blue Jay in the Snow

Favorite Bird Guide

I have always loved to photograph birds, but only recently have I gotten really interested in identifying the birds in my backyard.  I have looked up birds online to try to find out what species of bird I have captured in my photos, but was never completely satisfied with my searches.  So my next step was to look for a paperback book that would fit my needs.  I found just what I needed in a delightful book by Jonathan Adererfer and Paul Hess National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America.


Bird Identification

This delightful book has a detailed guide to 150 species of birds of North America.  The photo below is one example of a bird I identified from the book.  I knew the bird was some type of sparrow so I first looked up sparrows in the index of the book. This brought me to a series of pages with over ten different types of sparrows. As I looked through the photos  I narrowed it down to several that looked similar.  When I looked closer only one was exactly like my sparrow.  The white throat and small yellow spot above the eye were my biggest clues. Besides looking at the photos I read the identification section and checked the range to make sure this sparrow came to my area.  All of these things agreed so I concluded that this was a White-throated Sparrow.  The page on this sparrow also gave information on the food and nesting habits of the bird.

White-throated Sparrow photo by mbgphoto

Here are two more birds I identified using the same general steps that I used above.  The first is a Tufted Tit Mouse, which I learned is native to my area of the country (mid-west).  I also learned it is a very vocal bird and that its' song is a loud peter-peter-peter, repeated over and over.
Tufted Tit Mouse photo by mbgphoto
The next bird is a Carolina Wren. It is common in my area and I found out that it is the only wren that commonly feeds at feeders and suet feeders.  I have seen this bird often at our feeders.  I also learned that it is a year round resident.
Carolina Wren photo by mbgphoto

Additional Features of the Book

In addition to the bird identification features I found several other sections of the book that were very interesting and helpful.
  • Basics of Bird Watching- this section gives you hints on where and when to watch for birds.  It talks about migratory birds and those that are year round residents.
  • Feeding Birds- this section gives hints on the types of feeders to use, where to place them and what food to put in the feeders to attract different birds.
  • Birdhouses- If you are wanting to place a bird house for your birds this section is a must read.
  • Bird-Friendly Yards-This is a great section that gives you hints on planting your yard to attract birds.
  • Birding Skills-If you want to increase your skills at watching and identifying birds this is the section for you.
  • Citizen Science- This section talks about the birding community and ways that you can help.  It also talks about keeping a birding journal.

Bird Journal

Here is a journal I have created using my photographs.  You can order it on Zazzle by clicking on the link below the photo.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. This sounds like a great bird-watchers book and I love the idea of keeping a bird journal. As always, your bird photos are gorgeous. My favorite on this page is the little White-throated Sparrow. I love sparrows and I don't believe I have ever seen on with that pretty yellow dash of color. You surely do have some beautiful guests Mary Beth!

  2. I love to watch the little bird visitors to our backyard and can also recommend this book to the readers. I use it often.

  3. I'm definitely a backyard birdwatcher and love the new guide that I received for a Christmas present. It's not the same as yours but is laid out similarly and makes it so easy to identify the birds at our feeders. Your bird journal is such a great idea and a perfect size to keep handy to jot down the birds as you identify them. Love the bird pics!

  4. This is a great book for anyone who is just getting into the hobby of bird watching. In the winter months bird watching is a lovely pastime and so enjoyable too! Thanks for a great review.

  5. Wonderful review Mary Beth - made especially delightful by your beautiful bird photographs. I have been SO hoping you would share more of your bird pictures. Great idea to have a bird identification book for all your feathered backyard visitors. And your bird journal is a lovely way to keep notes on bird watching/identification.

  6. Beautiful pictures. We have lots of blue jays in our cottage but we never go in the winter so it's nice to see this picture of the jay in snow.

  7. Lovely photos, I love sitting out on my deck watching the birds in my backyard. My husband brought me a bird guide book last year and it's awesome (obviously we live in different parts of the world so we need different books) to be able to accurately identify the different birds.

  8. Thank you for this review. I tend to look birds up on the internet to identify them. But.. I don't have that kind of internet access up at The Shack. I was already thinking about getting a good bird book to leave up there. AND I hadn't thought of a bird journal. I definitely need one of those to keep up there.


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