Saturday, 17 December 2011

Armchair Birding with The Crossley ID Guide

The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds
Richard Crossley
Flexibound, 544 pages

I married a man who could look upon items and creatures in nature and name them. I was not born with such a talent, but he awakened in me a desire to get to know my surroundings more, especially birds. 

I have a few bird books already, eastern birds - as I live in Ontario, Canada. I don't know what western birds look like, but I picture them in little cowboy hats. 

My main beef with bird books is that they give you one lousy photo - sometimes just a drawing - of the bird. I soon learned that birds can look quite different depending on age, sex, and time of year. I have always wanted a book that showed both sexes, different stages, and different positions - so that I might actually be able to identify a bird. 

Low and behold, I have discovered such a book. The Crossley ID Guide may not be the most portable of books - it is big and thick like a phone book - but Richard Crossley has done a remarkable job of showing multiple versions of birds in their habitats out of 10,000 of his own beautiful photos. With the wonders of modern technology, each page gives you several aspects of the same birds.

Crossley gives you tips on being a better birder; with notes on what to look for, size, structure and shape, behaviour, probability, colour, vocalizations, bird topography, molt, terminology, and factors affecting appearance. 

He also has an interactive website that you can use as a companion to the book.

Check out this video, in which Richard Crossley introduces his book, and you can see the genius of the photos inside. 

Perfect for the bird enthusiast on your list!