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The Warbler Guide [Flexibound]

Tom Stephenson , Scott Whittle
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: 19.95
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Book Description

7 July 2013

Warblers are among the most challenging birds to identify. They exhibit an array of seasonal plumages and have distinctive yet oft-confused calls and songs. The Warbler Guide enables you to quickly identify any of the 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada. This groundbreaking guide features more than 1,000 stunning color photos, extensive species accounts with multiple viewing angles, and an entirely new system of vocalization analysis that helps you distinguish songs and calls.

The Warbler Guide revolutionizes birdwatching, making warbler identification easier than ever before. For more information, please see the author videos on the Princeton University Press website.

  • Covers all 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada
  • Visual quick finders help you identify warblers from any angle
  • Song and call finders make identification easy using a few simple questions
  • Uses sonograms to teach a new system of song identification that makes it easier to understand and hear differences between similar species
  • Detailed species accounts show multiple views with diagnostic points, direct comparisons of plumage and vocalizations with similar species, and complete aging and sexing descriptions
  • New aids to identification include song mnemonics and icons for undertail pattern, color impression, habitat, and behavior
  • Includes field exercises, flight shots, general identification strategies, and quizzes
  • A complete, page-by-page audio companion to all of the 1,000-plus songs and calls covered by the book is available for purchase and download from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay Library by using the link at

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Product details

  • Flexibound: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (7 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691154821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691154824
  • Product Dimensions: 21.9 x 16.1 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 147,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


Second Place for the 2013 BB/BTO Best Bird Book of the Year, British Birds and the British Trust for Ornithology

Honorable Mention for the 2013 PROSE Award in Single Volume Reference/Science, Association of American Publishers

"The Warbler Guide is a reference book which you will want to have on your desk, your night stand or in your car, for contained within its pages is more treasure than any birder could ever hope for. . . . Bravo to authors Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle for raising the bar by which we judge specialty guides."--Wayne Mones,

"The Warbler Guide is a fine book crammed with photographs, tips, expert advice, innovation and information designed to help identify a unique and beautiful set of birds."--Phil Slade, Another Bird Blog

"Fantastic and, yes, ground-breaking. . . . There will be no birder north of the Rio Grande who would turn down this book. There will be few who intend to visit North America that would not want to spend time familiarising themselves with the Wood Warblers, and there is no better way for them than to open these pages and get lost in their cornucopia of detail. . . . Everything from sonograms to seasonal variations, confusion species to aging and sexing and with pretty detailed distribution maps as well. The term 'tour de force' sits well upon its wide shoulders."--Fatbirder

"The Warbler Bible has come forth! This is easily the most comprehensive and fantastic warbler specific guide covering North American Warblers. I am amazed and impressed with each of its features. . . . [A] must-have book."--Robert Mortensen, Birding is Fun

"A warbler feast for the eyes, the answer to the prayers of every birder who has seen a glimpse of yellow, black, and white and said, 'If only that leaf wasn't in the way, I'd know that warbler's name.'. . . The Warbler Guide, by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle, is not just another bird identification book. . . . The authors have thought long and hard about what makes an identification guide work and then approached it their own way. The auditory descriptions of bird song and chips, based on scientific analysis rather than a subjective translation of sound, present a very different approach to identifying birds by ear. The abundance of photographs, the plethora of charts and finding guides, all printed in brilliant color on lovely paper, the clarity of design, make this book a joy to look at and to use."--Donna Schulman, 10,000 Birds

"Thoroughly detailed. . . . I'll keep this guide close to me and make my warbler identification a lot more simple."--H.J. Ruiz, Avian 101

"The Warbler Guide is a must-have book for every birder. It is comprehensive, easy-to-use, and absolutely gorgeous."--Eddie Callaway,

"Stupendous. . . . Each of the 56 species accounts contain at least a dozen photographs, emphasizing various plumage variations--in all, over 1000 stunning color photos grace the book. . . . One of the unique features of this book is that many of these photos are taken from below, which is how you really see warblers in the field. . . . This relatively inexpensive book will aid birders of all abilities in identifying the warblers of America."--Dan Tallman's Bird Blog

"The Warbler Guide is Music to My Eyes! . . . By the coming fall migration The Warbler Guide 'will' be considered the ultimate, must-have guide for any birder serious about identifying the 'butterflies of the avian world.'"--Jerry Jourdan, Jerry's Birding/Digiscoping Blog

"There's never been an ID guide quite like this one. It's as if the publisher told the authors to produce a book on warbler identification that includes everything a birder might ever need. But don't be misled by my enthusiasm for The Warbler Guide. It will not make identifying warblers easy, it just makes it possible. It's still up to every birder to find, see and hear the birds before they turn to this remarkable ID guide."--Scott Shalaway, Exponent Telegram

"Extraordinary. . . . Grab a copy of this guide in time to help with those confusing fall warblers."--Herb Wilson, Portland Press Herald

"This is a beautiful book, chock full of pictures. The best part is that many of the pictures are what we usually see when we see a warbler--from underneath or in flight. . . . An excellent work."--Penny Miller, A Charm of Finches

"When I personally dove into Warbler identification (the species that helped bring me to birding in the first place! Could those colorful birds really be in my backyard in Central New Jersey?!) I pieced together multiple guides that had information on undertail covert colors and tail patterns, as well as song detail and plumage specification. I had to use multiple sources then for what this guide accomplishes itself. That, to be honest, is putting it mildly. . . . I obviously recommend this guide about as highly as I could and I look forward to utilizing it in my future birding adventures!"--Dan Murray, Birding in New Jersey

"This is one of the most remarkable books about bird identification that I've seen in recent years. . . . At last, a field guide that gives bird sounds the attention they deserve! . . . Groundbreaking. . . . The visuals in this book are tremendous. The quantity and quality of the photographs outstrips anything I've seen in a field guide. . . . Maybe the best part is the comparison pages, most of which are called 'finder guides'. You want all the warbler heads on one plate? All the undertails? All the side views? All the song spectrograms? All the flight shots? This book's got comparison plates for all of these and more. These pages alone are worth the cover price. . . . This book is a must-have for serious birders. Beginning and intermediate birders should also check it out, and not be too discouraged by the sheer volume of information."--Nathan Pieplow, Earbirding

"Once you own this book you will never need another reference on the North American wood warblers. . . . Here the whole spectrum of our warblers is on display and wisely compared and contrasted in ways that will make field identification less of a trial for beginners or those seeing a warbler in new territory. In May I saw over 30 species in two weeks at Magee Marsh, Ohio. This book would have certainly helped me sort out what I was seeing, and what I probably missed."--Harry Fuller, Towhee Blog

"Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle have covered everything you would ever need to identify any North American warbler from visual clues to songs and calls, and placed in a very easy to work with format."--David Lewis, Birds from Behind blog

"Warblers are notorious for giving the observer fleeting and partial views. Field guides on the shelf today, regardless of the number of images offered, ultimately give you one option: extrapolate species from the fragments of information available. Stephenson and Whittle, using photos taken by dozens of photographers, offer you much better ID odds. They accompany the photos with clearly written descriptive text that focuses point-by-point on the major identification marks. Photos of and text describing similar species offer comparison assistance should confusion arise."--Jim Williams, Wingnut blog, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"If you're a warbler aficionado, this is, quite simply, the best 36 bucks you'll ever invest. Stephenson and Whittle have produced a visually and aurally spectacular book--the first, and, just maybe, the last word on these intoxicating birds, at least for the foreseeable future. If previous guides get you into college, this one will take you all the way through graduate school. The Warbler Guide is your passport to a birding PhD."--Bruce Fellman, Southern Rhode Island Newspapers, A Naturalist's Journal

"While I've been known to exaggerate for the sake of emphasis, I will swear under oath that my jaw literally dropped when I opened this book."--Kirby Adams, National Parks Traveler Magazine

"My two hour old analysis of this guide is simple. Oh my gosh, get your hands on a copy! I'm a cynic and not easily impressed--this book has blown me away."--Chuck & Jaye Otte KS Birdlist

"A book so good I'm almost at a loss for words (tough thing for a writer . . .) The explanations [on vocalizations] are the best I've ever come across; about the visual aspects, what you offer the acolyte and expert alike is so visually rich as to make any remarks superfluous. Just get the book, I'd tell my readers, and be dazzled. And well-schooled."--Bruce Fellman, author of the syndicated The Naturalist's Journal

"The greatest book ever invented. . . . Ever. . . . Really!"--BirdButtz Blogspot

"Ok, there are bird guides and there are bird guides, but you have never seen anything like The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle, published by Princeton University Press!"--Birder's

"The Warbler Guide arrived the other day and it is amazing! Such a complete compendium! [A]nd yet not daunting to someone just starting to love the 'jewels of the bird world' and getting past the 'all I can see is their bellies because they're up in the treetops!' . . . I can't wait to introduce it to my Illinois Audubon chapter members!"--Darlene Fiske

"Wow! . . . Understanding that many warblers are only seen during migration, they are quite small, and tend to inhabit the top of the tree canopy makes them a challenge for every birder from novice to the advanced. Even the experts need a reference source to confirm what they think they've seen--and this guide is it. The visual cues, song, flight patterns, even regional variations of different species are discussed in intricate detail and shown in every possible angle they might be seen in the field through more than 1,000 clear color photos."--Birding Business Magazine

"Confusing fall warblers are arriving soon so be prepared with The Warbler Guide."--Kate St. John, Outside My Window

"A comprehensive treatment of North America's favourite bird group."--Andy Stoddart, Rare Bird Alert

"For the 'Big Week' at Magee Marsh I would want this book at my side. . . . As you stare up into the branches, getting 'warbler neck', this book will ease the pain."--Mark Avery, author of Fighting for Birds

"For help with things like weird plumages; details of age, sex, and molt; and bird sounds we're increasingly able to turn to focused guides that give in-depth treatment to a smaller group of species. The Warbler Guide, new this summer from Princeton University Press, has met that challenge brilliantly and innovatively, and for one of North America's most beloved and sought-after species groups. . . . Spend time absorbing the hard-won knowledge on each page. Because there is a wealth of it here: field experience, museum research, observation, inference, all presented with remarkable creativity."--Hugh Powell, All About Birds

"Immediately impressive. . . . A book packed with information and really should be on every birder's book shelf. The Warbler Guide is highly recommended and the authors are to be congratulated on producing such a marvelous book that will be used by birdwatchers for many years."

"The most comprehensive catalogue of North American warblers. . . . Keen birders will love this book."--Paul Nicholson, London Free Press

"The whole book has a refreshingly fresh approach. The authors and illustrator have put a lot of thought into how really to help us identify these birds. This is definitely not 'just another field guide'."--Mark Avery

"Once in a while a bird book comes along that makes you sit up and take note--this is one of those books. . . . The concept here is so new that it is nothing like diving in to a copy of Sibley or The Collins Bird Guide."--Drunk Birder

"If you've ever struggled with warbler identification, there won't be any more excuses if you use this book to its fullest potential."--Geoffrey Carpentier, Ontario Birding News

"This book is not so much a field guide as it is a course on warbler identification delivered in printed (or, in the case of the eBook, electronic) form. . . . If learning to identify warblers more effectively and accurately is something you wish to do, this is the book you need."--John Riutta, Bird Watcher's Digest

"[A]n essential reference."--Neil Glenn, Bird Watching

"The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle is truly poised to change how field guides are presented. Simply put, you're going to want to make space on your bookshelf, or more accurately on your desk or coffee table so it's easier to access, for this awe-inspiring accomplishment. . . . The Warbler Guide belongs on the shelf of anyone who wishes to better familiarize themselves with this colorful group of warbling songsters."--Mike Powers, Nature Travel Network

"[T]his really is a book packed with information and really should be on every birder's book shelf. . . . The Warbler Guide is highly recommended and the authors are to be congratulated on producing such a marvelous book that will be used by birdwatchers for many years."--Biggest Twitch

"In summary, I cannot recommend this book highly enough, especially if you visit the likes of North America on a regular basis or wish to become familiar with the genus from a UK vagrant perspective."--Lee G R Evans UK400 Club

"The only thing missing from this guide are the warblers themselves. Once you've picked up and browsed this book, you will be hooked."--Peter Kennerley, British Birds

"A massive volume of information on our favorite colorful songbirds. . . . I highly recommend picking this book up for your birding pals this year. The Warbler Guide will not disappoint the birder that loves warblers and also wants to delve a little deeper into their identification skills."--Eva Matthews, Flying Mullet

"This book is certainly worthy of a place on anyone's heaving book shelf. It is refreshing, stunningly illustrated and importantly, educational. If you want to get to grips with North America's Warblers, you will need to tightly grip The Warbler Guide!"--David Lindo, Urban Birder

"The Warbler Guide is an amazing addition to every birder's library. Between the revolutionary use of technology, great species accounts, and tons of supplementary information, this is a book which I would recommend to any and every birder."--Aidan Place, American Birding Association, Young Birders

"The only way future warblers will stump you is if you don't read the book."--Birdwatching

"[T]his is an essential tool. . . . It will also prove to be an essential reference for foreign birders when they return home with a notebook or memory card full of warblers to identify."--Bird Watching

"When I finally got the chance to flick through the book at the UK Birdfair, I realised that this new guide had taken American warbler identification to a higher level--and I found it hard to drag myself away! This is definitely my kind of guide! . . . A wonderful book that has been a joy to explore. I anticipate many happy hours using this guide in earnest, and perhaps many more as I indulge at home. Congratulations to the authors on producing such a marvellous resource."--Curious Naturalist

"The Warbler Guide revolutionizes birdwatching, making warbler identification easier than ever before."--Northeastern Naturalist

"This book is essential for anyone planning a North American trip in spring or autumn, when these colourful hoards move through the continent."--Sharon Stiteler, Birdwatch

"The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle is an innovative guide for learning and identifying North American wood warblers. It stands out from existing field guides, particularly in its inclusion of sonograms for every species. Any birder with an interest in warblers will want this guide as a stepping stone to more advanced identification skills."--John Beetham, A DC Birding Blog

"The Warbler Guide has everything a new or experienced birder could want: all 56 North American species; quick finder photos for quickness and ease of use; specific species accounts and multiple views; and multiple ways to determine identification via vocalization. Even a savant will not remember all that is offered in this guide. The Warbler Guide, and especially the quick finder photos, have given me new optimism to give warblers another try."--John McGonigle,

"This new release is The Warbler Guide and it's all that--and more! . . . In short, the authors Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle have covered everything you Warbler Watchers have yearned to know. . . . You will love poring through it in the coming winter months and you will certainly impress fellow birders in the spring!"--Darlene Fiske, In Flight

"Any birder with an interest in these colorful little birds will want a copy of The Warbler Guide."--Fritz Brock, Wildlife Activist

"Without reservation, this book is a must-have for every birder's library."--Melissa Mayntz, Birding/Wild Birds

"This book is a great resource for identifying the 56 species of warblers in the U.S. and Canada. . . . This excellent guide will be valuable to both amateur bird watchers and ornithologists."--Choice

"The Warbler Guide strays from the traditional guide design and emphasizes identification of warblers in the most efficient and accurate way possible. Rather than page after page of text, the guide provides thousands of photos to help the birder enjoy his or her field experience. . . . [T]he value of The Warbler Guide is unprecedented. I highly recommend The Warbler Guide as a reference for any birder wanting to improve his or her warbler identification skills."--Howard O. Clark Jr, Western North American Naturalist

About the Author

Tom Stephenson's articles and photos have appeared in "Birding" and "Bird Watcher's Digest", at, and in the "Handbook of the Birds of the World". He has guided groups across the United States and Asia. A musician, he has had several Grammy and Academy Award winners as clients, and was director of technology at Roland Corporation. Scott Whittle lives in Cape May, New Jersey, and has twenty years of experience as a professional photographer and educator. He holds an MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York, is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, and is a onetime New York State Big Year record holder.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it! 5 Sep 2013
By mia
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a guide to the 56 warbler species of the USA and Canada.

You might think that there is hardly any need for a guide to a group of birds that are so patterned, so marked, so coloured and so ...well, obvious! But there is, because they are quite confusing.

The Peterson Guide has a famous plate called `confusing fall warblers' because they are! This book will help you identify males and females, young and old and spring and fall (or even autumn) plumages of this marvellous group of birds.

The whole book has a refreshingly fresh approach. The authors and illustrator have put a lot of thought into how really to help us identify these birds. This is definitely not `just another field guide'. It has a quiz at the back of the book to see whether you have assimilated any of the wisdom of the first 500+ pages.

The several pages of `Quick Finders' are very good. These group images of all relevant warblers for easy comparisons so that you don't have to do that thing of flicking from page to page to page. Some are geographic (eg eastern fall warblers), some are anatomical (faces - surprisingly useful, I think) and some are arranged by view (the 45 degree views from underneath are very useful - reflecting, as they do, a very usual way of seeing these birds up in the foliage).

There are masses of photographs - for example for mourning warbler there are 27 photographs of the bird from different angles etc and six more on the same pages of `comparison species'. This is just what you need.

Catherine Hamilton's drawings are a great help too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A groud-breaking book 26 Aug 2013
Format:Flexibound|Verified Purchase
Collectors of ornithological books can not miss this one. It is a new approach to bird ID, incorporating the great capabilities of digital photography.. Even if, like me, you will never set foot in North America, the brilliant display of the plumages of all species in the various versions - male, female and spring and autumn - is a first. There are incredible numbers of photos, admittedly some a bit small, showing the birds at all angles and with relevant closeups of focal ID features. The introductory section before the species accounts gives a very clear account of how moult occurs and affects the plumage appearance. There is also an excellent explanation of sonograms. Students of evolution will be stunned by the comparative display of all the North American Warblers. Creationists won't like this book. If these species were created rather than evolved, there was a lot of doodling involved!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Useful guide to this family 1 July 2014
Format:Flexibound|Verified Purchase
This is a highly-specialised book for those interested in North American wood warblers. Anyone can identify adult males of course but the main purpose of this book is to help with identifying females, immatures and hybrids. It must be stressed that this is an in-depth guide including many photographs, much text and even sonograms. It can therefore only be considered suitable for use at home, in the car or back in the motel as it is quite large and heavy so cannot be describes as a field guide.
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At first glance this volume can be quite overwhelming. This is packed with information and if you can't find the right ID you'll struggle to find all the information like you find here elsewhere in such a complete tome. Every angle, literally, is covered in the fantastic book. With so much modern technology available nowadays so much can now be incorporated into the modern reference and this guide has it all; photographs, range maps, illustrations, sonograms, the lot. Where this guide differs from others is its arrangement. An alphabetical layout as opposed to a taxonomic layout is used. This makes it easier for you to follow considering all the latest DNA work that has moved quite a bit of warblers around from genus to genus and depending on who you follow that can get confusing so having the species accounts alphabetized makes for quick reference. The exception here is the irregular warblers from Mexico which follow after the regular occurring species accounts which are not incorporated alphabetically into the main body of the species accounts.

To begin with the cover is a durable flexibound style which will be helpful if you're using this in the field. Inside the cover is a helpful abbreviation guide for range maps, sonograms and plumages. The beginning of the book follows a classic, albeit comprehensive, line of; contents, how to use this book, icons and key terms, how to use the maps, bird topography; five sections of very comprehensive notes on "what to notice on a warbler", then ageing and sexing, understanding sonograms, how to listen to warbler songs and flight and chip calls, so far this section of the book alone covers 93 pages.
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