How to Know the Birds: The Art and Adventure of Birding

by JAMIE HALE • March 22, 2019

Book Reviews

How to Know the Birds: The Art and Adventure of Birding

New Arrival: How to Know the Birds: The Art and Adventure of Birding

Become a better birder with brief portraits of 200 top North American birds. This friendly, relatable book is a celebration of the art, science, and delights of bird-watching.

How to Know the Birds introduces a new, holistic approach to bird-watching, by noting how behaviors, settings, and seasonal cycles connect with shape, song, color, gender, age distinctions, and other features traditionally used to identify species. With short essays on 200 observable species, expert author Ted Floyd guides us through a year of becoming a better birder, each species representing another useful lesson: from explaining scientific nomenclature to noting how plumage changes with age, from chronicling migration patterns to noting hatchling habits. Dozens of endearing pencil sketches accompany Floyd's charming prose, making this book a unique blend of narrative and field guide. A pleasure for birders of all ages, this witty book promises solid lessons for the beginner and smiles of recognition for the seasoned nature lover.

Roger Tory Peterson's 1949 book of the same name offered those who never had a bird guide before a pocket-sized introduction to the art of bird identification. Expert Ted Floyd still offers a greater understanding of birds and birding, but in a very different package. Short, sweet, witty, and wise, 200 different species spark short chapters which sharpen readers' observation skills and deepen their understanding of the species, birds, birdwatching, and ornithology.


"An introduction to 21st-century birding, where digital tools, global data sharing, and a rapidly changing Earth combine with good old-fashioned love of the birds. Buy it for anyone you want to fall in love with birds, or for yourself, so as to fall in love a bit more."  -Emma Marris, author of Rambunctious Garden

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