[Tweeters] Buy this book at Seattle Audubon

David Hutchinson florafaunabooks at hotmail.com
Sat Jul 9 13:04:04 PDT 2016

I was pleasantly surprised this week to find a copy of a brand new local bird book in my mail box. It's called: A PHOTOGRAPHIC GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, by Tom Aversa, Richard Cannings and Hal Opperman. I can say right away that signed copies of this book could be rare as they all live in different states & provinces! This title is a very serious book, but as I am neither an expert birder or a novice, this an early general review

The book has over 450 pages, is compact and carries well, but to me is more of handbook to use at home as a reference. It is crammed with species & details. Each page has one or two photos, six subjects and some slightly annoying layout design and map. Some of the maps are particularly busy with many colors & locations, seeming more like 3D or infra-red. It was with relief that I found Bobwhite & Wrentit maps.

It is co published in Canada which explains the multitude of species & ranges included. It is clear that the authors have leaned over backwards to include as many species and as much detail as possible.

But the ranges included seem to far exceed what would normally be included in the PNW. Also the zone Haida Gwai is mentioned but I could not find it explained. California & Saskatchewan might sneak into this book also. Species such as NW Crow are in here & White-winged Dove, seeming a little excessive, plus a species I had never heard of in the PNW, Virginia's Warbler.

But, as an experienced but struggling birder, here is the nitty gritty.The habitat associations section is excellent. I really enjoyed it, as now when I cannot recognise a bird, I find this cross-check useful and the authors had clearly done their homework. And lastly to the excellent photos, which is what this book is really about. I was instantly reassured with the ornitho-photographer Greg Thompson being responsible for many. There is a superb Golden-crowned Kinglet for example and a smashing Hutton's Vireo by Ryan Shaw. There is an interesting female Common Yellowthroat by Debra Herst. One does not find young birds in such books so the Black Oystercatcher chick was delightful. There is a nesting Black Swift behind a waterfall and comparison photos of Hermit & Townsend warblers with stages in between. Images of a non-breeding Common Murre & good view of the bill of Cassin's Auklet helped me learn. I always imagined that Tropical Kingbird (& Couch's?) has a little notch in the tail like a fringilid when perched but that is not shown.

Anyway, you should want to buy this book & pore over it in the long winter months and perhaps in the field. It might be around $28 and I am sure S.A.S. will have it soon.

David Hutchinson

Flora & Fauna Books

3213 W.Wheeler St, #6

Seattle, WA 98199

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