Field Guide to the Birds of North America

Field Guide to the Birds of North America - Third Edition
Field Guide to the Birds of North America – Third Edition

The “Field Guide to the Birds of North America” was first introduced to me by my brother, who is a Field Biologist for San Bernardino County. At the time, the two of us were camping along the 395 Highway on the Eastern Sierra, He brought his copy in the hopes of seeing some new bird species. After a few days of camping, we stopped at the visitors center at Mono Lake where I purchased by copy. Since then, this book is taken on every trip I take out of the city.

My copy of the third edition features over 800 species of birds all organized by family. The description for each bird contains an illustration by sex, descriptions and distribution map along with many variations and subspecies.

The 7th edition currently contains a total of 1,023 species, which is roughly 20% more than my much older copy. The latest version contains revisions in taxonomy revised to reflect the radical new American Ornithological Society taxonomy established in 2016. The update of taxonomy is the reason for the additions, so at some point I will break down to purchase the new version.

Whenever I go on a trip, I pull out the maps that I will need to explore the area. I also look for a bird watching checklist which typically contain a list of bird known to be in the area. These lists will make it dramatically easier narrow down birds you are looking for, and help in your identification.

Bird Watching

People engage in birdwatching for a multitude of reasons, each deeply personal and rewarding I personally enjoy listening to the birds while camping:

  1. Appreciation of Nature: Birdwatching allows people to connect with the natural world, fostering a deeper appreciation for the beauty and diversity of birds and their habitats.
  2. Relaxation and Stress Relief: Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Birdwatching provides an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and immerse oneself in the peacefulness of natural surroundings.
  3. Physical Activity: Birdwatching often involves walking or hiking, providing a gentle form of exercise that can improve cardiovascular health and overall well-being.
  4. Mental Stimulation: Identifying birds and learning about their behaviors, habitats, and calls can be mentally stimulating and intellectually rewarding.
  5. Community and Social Connection: Birdwatching can be a social activity, providing opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals who share a passion for birds and the environment.
  6. Conservation Awareness: Birdwatching can foster a sense of environmental stewardship by raising awareness about the importance of preserving habitats and protecting bird species and their ecosystems.
  7. Adventure and Exploration: Birdwatching often takes enthusiasts to new and exciting locations, encouraging exploration and a sense of adventure.
  8. Photography and Artistic Expression: Many birdwatchers enjoy capturing images of birds through photography or expressing their observations through various forms of artistic expression, such as drawing or painting.

Overall, birdwatching offers a myriad of benefits that cater to both physical and mental well-being while fostering a deeper connection to the natural world.


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