Birder's Guide

NOV 2017

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 47 of 51

Tracks" is a lovely group to join if you have a passion for understanding more about animal tracks and sign. The group welcomes folks of all levels and covers all forms of living creatures. I jump on the group from time to time to comment on questions about bird sign. Bird Feathers –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– ◗ Bird Feathers: A Guide to North Ameri- can Species by S. David Scott and Casey McFarland. McFarland provides examples gathered from various museums of 379 bird species across North America. This is a tough topic to cover in any depth be- cause it is so vast, but David and Casey did a wonderful job pulling together im- ages of feathers from every part of the bird you might find. I love to look through this book in my spare time because it helps me notice unique feather patterns that exist amidst the various bird families. ◗ ONLINE RESOURCE : The Feather Atlas, idtool.php is a great free online resource very similar to the Bird Feathers book but with fewer species depicted. Bird Nests and Eggs –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– ◗ You heard it here first: The new Peter- son's Field Guide to North American Bird Nests will be available in 2019, so keep your eyes peeled for it. The authors are aiming to make this book highly usable in the field, formatted to provide people with what they need to identify the nests they discover. Plus, it will be filled with current research to help people under- stand the basics of bird nesting/breeding behavior. ◗ The Book of Eggs: A Life-Size Guide to the Eggs of Six Hundred of the World's Bird Species by Mark E. Hauber is beauti- fully designed with life-size images of bird eggs from all over the world. This feature of the book makes it both wonderful to work with as well as a little cumbersome due to the breadth of species it covers, just like a bird guide that covers an entire country compared with one that focuses on a specific region. There are many books out there that speak to bird egg identifica- tion, though this by far is my favorite. Bird Bones –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– The following two websites provide a wealth of images and information about bird bones. It is important to remember to take measurements when you come across a skull or bone, because certain bones from one species can look nearly identical to the bones of another species. ◗ The skull site: ◗ The Royal BC Museum site: Natural_History/Bones/ homepage.htm The next book I mention is not necessar- ily the first one you would turn to when you are trying to identify a bird bone, but you might. Katrina Van Grouw's book, The Unfeathered Bird is a magical look at the insides of a bird. Each of her illus - trations was taken from real specimens that either died accidentally or were al- ready preserved in a collection. Reminis- cent to Roger Tory Peterson's approach to drawing birds in their natural habitat and posture, Katrina depicts her birds in postures they might have portrayed had they been alive. Even though most birders find feathers, bones, tracks, and sign fairly frequently, I've discovered that they often aren't aware resources/elders like these exist. If you are ready to take your birding to the next level or simply have a yearning to know the world around you in a deeper way, then dive into the wilder side of birding with one of the books I mentioned. If it turns out that you really geek out on tracks and sign, don't worry: There is help for peo- ple like you. The Wilderness Awareness School, Alerleaf College, and White Pine Programs offer a variety of options for long-term mentoring and courses in track and sign identification. 46 Birder's Guide to Gear | November 2017 Other Bird Signs

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