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Re: Two new hummingbird books
- To: email@example.com (CAROLINA BIRDS)
- Subject: Re: Two new hummingbird books
- From: BILL HILTON JR Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History<firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 04 Mar 2002 18:03:00 -0500
- Sender: email@example.com
DEAN, et al . . .
I have had both books in question for a several weeks and have had
some opportunity to examine each, but I'd like to hold off on a final
review until I've really had a chance to read each one cover to
cover. Below are my penultimate comments.
Each book has its strong points, so my preliminary thought is that I
wish Sheri Williamson and Steve Howell had simply collaborated and
produced a thicker version of her Peterson field guide with lots of
Sheri's hand-held and Steve's larger-format perched-bird photos.
Basically, I think they're both useful books, including in the field.
Sheri's maps are very good and her distribution comments are
up-to-date, especially for those western vagrants through 2001.
Despite the fact that some folks don't like various hummingbird
feeders for whatever reason, I find it absolutely remarkable--and not
very objective--that Sheri doesn't mention Perky-Pet on her list of
manufacturers. But I also wish Sheri had included a reference to the
Web site for "Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project"
(http://www.rubythroat.org) in her list of Internet resources. Both
Steve and Sheri also leave out some basic bibliographical references
about hummingbirds that I think should have been included. :-)
We birders can never have too many birds on our Life Lists or too
many books in our reference libraries. I'd say spend the $50 for both
these books, read them and use them for reference, and extrapolate
the bird-in-the-hand information to what you can see through
binoculars, spotting scopes, or your own digital camera. Then make
sure you report all the winter--or summer!--vagrant hummers to one of
us banders so we can be sure to get them in hand to try to verify
Even then, we hummingbird banders have to scratch our heads
sometimes, so Sheri's book, along with Peter Pyle's "Identification
Guide to North American Birds," are the two I'll refer to most often
during hummer banding. :-)
Hope this helps.
Happy Hummingbird Watching!
>I haven't seen Howell's Hummingbird book from Academic Press yet
>but I do have the books on raptors and sparrows from the same
>series and highly recommend both. Extrapolate from that what
>you wish. A future book in this series will deal with the
>flycathers of North America... can't wait.
>I have seen the Peterson guide -- broused through it at the
>local bookstore. Looked to be well put together with lots of
>nice information. Obviously I haven't poured through the text.
>My main concerns were with the photographs. Aside from being
>tiny (as in _Dragonflies Through Binoculars_ tiny), almost all
>of the photos were detailed shots of hand-held birds. That may
>be great for showing the size, shape and color of the third
>retice pair on a hatching-year female Such-and-such Hummingbird
>but for those of us who can't legally go out and catch hummers,
>how useful is it as a FIELD guide? Will it help me identify
>hummers in the field?
>Gary? Susan? Anyone who has the book care to their thoughts
BILL HILTON JR., "The Piedmont Naturalist"
Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History
1432 DeVinney Road, York, South Carolina 29745 USA
firstname.lastname@example.org, (803) 684-5852, eFax: (503) 218-0845
Please visit our web sites (courtesy of Comporium.net) at
"Never trust a person too lazy to get up for sunrise or too busy to
watch the sunset." BHjr.