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The Birds of New Jersey: Status and Distribution [Paperback]

William J. Boyle , Kevin T. Karlson
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 16.95
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Book Description

15 May 2011

New Jersey provides some of the most varied and exciting birding in North America, and more than 450 species have been recorded in the state. Yet there has been no comprehensive and readily available guide to the status and distribution of all these species--until now. The Birds of New Jersey is the most up-to-date and succinct guide for the birds of New Jersey and includes all species known to the state from historical times to the present. Featuring over 200 color photos of rarities and regular species, this book authoritatively provides individual entries that include a summary of status and seasonal distribution, and comments on changes over time. Detailed color-coded maps accompany species accounts, and for species recorded five or fewer times, dates and locations of each record are noted. The introduction examines the state's geography, the history of bird records, and background information to species accounts, and the extensive bibliography guides birders to original sources used in the book. This is the essential resource for birders, ornithologists, and nature enthusiasts interested in the birds of New Jersey and the greater surrounding region.

  • Most up-to-date status and distribution guide for New Jersey and surrounding region

  • All bird species known to the state

  • Species accounts describe the preferred habitat and abundance of species

  • Range maps in color detail seasonal distribution

  • For migratory birds, spring and fall migration times indicated

  • More than 200 color photographs of rare and common species

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (15 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691144109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691144108
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.7 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,730,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Anyone who birds regularly in New Jersey or neighbouring states should not only study this book in depth but also keep it side by side with their standard field guide to Eastern North America. . . . The Birds of New Jersey is an object lesson in how to produce a book of this type. It is well researched, succinct but detailed, easily accessible and extremely logical in the arrangement of the information."--Phil Slade, Another Bird Blog

"After looking through The Birds of New Jersey: Status and Distribution by William J. Boyle, I was reminded of what a great state New Jersey is for birds. . . . The book is likely the best of its kind in presenting the birding locales, prevalence, and status of birds for a single state. It is easy to navigate and concise. For any birder living in, near, or visiting New Jersey, this is one book to have!"--Jerry Liguori, Utah Birders blog

"A must have for birders with an interest in the birds of New Jersey!"--Ian Paulsen, Birdbooker Report

"Here is a beautiful book with a simple purpose, providing up to date status and distribution information for birds in New Jersey and the surrounding region. The Birds of New Jersey: Status and Distribution by William J. Boyle is a real winner in my book. It doesn't try to be a one stop bird book, rather it finds a small niche and really nails it."--
Nemesis Bird

"This comprehensive but portable paperback will be the ideal accompaniment for any stay in the state, and records of species like Long-billed Curlew will excite the interest of the British rarity-hunter."--
Birdwatch (UK)

"The Birds of New Jersey is a must for New Jersey birders. And it will be very useful for birders from other states or countries that visit the Garden State."--Fritz Brock, Wildlife Activist

"Well written and concise, the work can be recommended as a quick and easy way to determine when and where each New Jersey bird species should occur and will be useful for both amateur birdwatchers and professional ornithologists."--Christopher J. Butler, IBIS

From the Inside Flap

"This excellent and well-organized guide contains very good range maps and fine photos. William Boyle is the right person to write this book on New Jersey's birds."--Paul Lehman, bird tour leader and bird range mapmaker

"Nobody is more qualified than William Boyle to pull together the scattered sources of New Jersey ornithology into one accurate, well-documented book. This guide will have a wide audience."--Laurie Larson, secretary, New Jersey Bird Records Committee, 1996-2008

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The Birds of New Jersey 19 July 2011
By Dave
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an good book but it might not suit all birders. Nearly all of it is composed of the classified list and most species accounts are limited to around 100-120 words. This, of course, imposes limitations. Having said that, the information contained in such a small amout of text is informative and well written, but some, particularly out-of-state birders, may find it a little too general. Each species has a small map alongside the text illustrating distribution at different times of the year but there is little reference to specific sites. This means that it may be of limited use for visiting birders who wish to know what sites to visit at at what times of year and what sites are good for particular species. There is brief, but concise, mention of historical aspects and no anecdotal imput (which often gives 'character' to a book of this kind). Although there is a small section (3 pages including map)dealing with the physical geography and natural regions there is little about habitats and what there is is no more than a general overview. There are many excellent photographs but I feel that it will be of more use to in-state birders or those who know he area well than visiting birders.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, attractive, concise reference 15 May 2011
By Jack Holloway - Published on
softcover; reference to the status and distribution to all birds documented from the state; includes 206 good color photos of both common and rare species; 6-color distribution map for the state is shown for each bird; one paragraph of text is dedicated purely to status, abundance, seasonal presence, and historical records

Birders of New Jersey and the adjacent states will appreciate this good reference on the status and distribution of all the state's birds. Each of the 456 species documented from New Jersey is addressed with its own account. And, 206 species of both common are rare status are shown in good color photographs.

Nearly all the pictures are of good quality, showing about 45% of the state's total checklist. With one photo per bird, these are not meant for identification but for documentation. This is readily apparent in the photos of vagrants and accidentals to the state where the caption below the photo identifies where and when the bird was photographed. Only a few of the photos for rarer birds are of lower quality; but, that is less important than the documentation they provide for the bird being discovered in the state. Examples include Violet-green Swallow, Large-billed Tern, and Brown Booby.

Yes, better stock photos could have been substituted for those few birds but that would have weakened the value of providing proof of these birds' presence. On the flip side, there are many great photos of rarities such as the Sage Thrasher, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, and Red-necked Stint. Some of the better photos are enlarged to a half-page each and are displayed on 14 pages in the center of the book.

The account for each bird is composed of a medium to long paragraph that focuses on three things: Status and abundance; distribution; and, dates of seasonal presence or discoveries. For the expected species (e.g., White-breasted Nuthatch, Common Yellowthroat), the seasonal status and abundance are provided for each season. Frequently, brief notes are provided on the habitats in which the birds are expected to be found as well as habitats where they are not. The approximate breeding periods as well as migration arrival and departure dates are outlined. Regarding distribution, the description may be broadly termed as "widespread" or, for birds with a more limited range, may provide specific county or geographic names that define the boundaries of the bird's range.

Besides the standard "status and distribution" information, the author has included some interesting and useful information on select species which will be appreciated by the local birders. As an example, Blue Jays are typically regarded as "sedentary", remaining in the state year-round. However, the author points out that small population movements do occur, resulting in as many as a thousand birds being seen on a single day; and, that up to 10% of the population actually moves in and out of the state.

Another interesting local fact is presented with the Carolina and Black-capped Chickadees. The ranges are shown and discussed very nicely. Then, a special point is made to draw attention to an isolated population of the Black-capped at Sandy Hook where the expected Carolina is actually missing.

For the rarer species, specific dates and locations are given for most of the birds. When a bird is rare but still expected during seasonal outbreaks or with increased sightings, the general seasonal timeframe is described along with specific examples of historical records.

A range map is provided for every bird in the state. The maps, composed of 5 colors representing summer, winter, migration, irregular, and year round, are relatively large (2x1 inches) and show the county borders. Having decent maps is an important component of a records-based reference book such as this. Two other nice aspects about the maps involve the rarer birds. Individual red dots denote specific localities where a vagrant has been documented. And, where the distribution of those rarities is more restricted, such as Cape May, the map zooms in to show only the southern eight counties.

Concluding the book are four appendices that list (a) exotics and birds of uncertain provenance, (b) unaccepted species, (c) list of review species, and, (d) identification information. This last Appendix D (p279) provides some identification material on five pairings of similar species (e.g., Black-chinned Hummingbird, Lesser Nighthawk, or Pacific Golden-Plover). This information compliments the photos shown in the book, providing the reader with some key points for identifying the rarer birds.

Any birder familiar with New Jersey or, who runs out to Cape May eagerly in search of seasonal vagrants or, is geared towards useful ornithological records will appreciate having this book at hand in his library. - (written by Jack, shown with sample pages at Avian Review, May 2011)

I've listed several related books below...
1) Birds of New Jersey by Walsh et al.
2) A Guide to Bird-Finding in New Jersey by Boyle
3) Bird Studies at Old Cape May by Stone
4) The Birds of New Jersey by Shriner
5) New Jersey at the Crossroads of Migration by Dunne
6) The Birds of New Jersey: Their Habits and Habitats by Leck
7) The Status and Distribution of New Jersey's Birds by Leck
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting, informative and useful reference 1 Jun 2011
By Gitie House - Published on
For residents of New Jersey and visitors to the area this book fills a big gap in the bird guides by providing answers to some of the commonly asked questions like: "When is the best time to see such-and-such bird?", or "When can I see so-and-so bird?", or I'm visiting this area of New Jersey at this time, what birds can I expect to see there?"

The book describes the status of all of the 456 species found in New Jersey including scarce migrants like the the Iceland Gull, rare species like the Bridled Tern and accidental visitors like the White-tailed Kite. There is also a 6-color distribution map which shows where they can be found. There are high quality photographs of 206 species which capture their story. The book is not a field guide in that there is not a picture of every single species. The notes on each bird and pictures too do not show illustrations and fine details of each and every species at different ages needed in identifying the birds.

In addition to the physical geography and regions of New Jersey, the book covers the history, the official New Jersey Birds Records along with the criteria for acceptance of records of review and new species.

Information of exotic species of uncertain provenance as well as species that have not been accepted, the list of review species and identification information on five similar species like Common and King Elders and Lesser Nighthawks are included in the four appendices.

Facts like when the birds were first sighted and insights into their early records will interest readers who also want to know a bit a more about the background of the birds and their history in the state.

This is a useful book to have in the library for regular and occasional birders in the New Jersey region to get the most of their bird sightings for themselves and their guests.
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough & fascinating 2 Feb 2014
By L. Zirlin - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Every bird that has ever been recorded in NJ is given a paragraph or two in this book, ranging from the most common species to outright rarities. Really interesting and helpful for finding birds in NJ, especially if coupled with his other book, A Guide to Finding Birds in NJ.
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