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Rare Birds of North America by [Howell, Steve N. G., Lewington, Ian, Russell, Will]
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Rare Birds of North America Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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""Rare Birds of North America" is worth every cent of its $35 price tag and deserves to find its way on the bookshelves of every North American birder plus a few other bookshelves elsewhere in the world."--David Lindo, "Urban Birder"

One of "The Seattle Times" 8 Books to Put under a Bird-Lover's Tree 2014

One of the "StarTribune"/Lifestyle's Best Birding Books of 2014

One of the "Birder's Library" Best Bird Books of 2014

One of the "Birdbooker Report"'s Best Bird Books of 2014

"Birders thrill to see rarities. This superb book covers 262 rare species, featuring Ian Lewington's unsurpassed artistry in 275 color plates. Species accounts discuss patterns of vagrancy, identification, seasons, regions, and migration."--"Library Journal" starred review

"If you're a serious birder, there should already be a slot for this book on your shelf, since no other guide has ever filled this niche. . . . With the help of this book, I might grab 15 minutes of fame for finding the next great rarity."--Kirby Adams, "National Parks Traveler"

"[A] pleasure to read."--Matt Merritt, "Birdwatching Magazine"

"This book is . . . a guaranteed winner and not just for a North American readership. Put together by a superbly qualified team, it is both authoritative and attractive. For the lister, identification enthusiast, migration student and general birdwatcher, it brings to life a whole continent of avian excitement. Birds are always amazing and surprising us, pushing the boundaries of what we thought possible and exploding the myths and stories we so carefully create about them. This book is a fitting tribute to their continuing capacity to inspire and confound."--Andy Stoddart, "Rare Bird Alert"

"All bird identification books should be this good."--Jim Williams, "Minneapolis Star Tribune"

"The authors' sifting of bird-sighting records for a period covering some six decades is impressive. Detailed accounts of 262 species comprise the bulk of the book. Lewington's lovely color illustrations are supported by the sort of information one expects to find in bird guides (e.g., key identification features, taxonomy, distribution, similar species, behaviors, etc.). . . . That we are enjoying a 'golden age of bird [book] publishing, ' as another reviewer in these pages has said, is clearly exemplified by this work. The birding hobby's growing popularity means that its fervent fringe of 'life-listers' is growing, too, and for them, or anyone with an eye for the unusual, this book will surely tantalize."--Robert Eagan, "Library Journal"

"This was the book my birding friends, in fact all North American birders who are fascinated by vagrants, have been waiting for. It is a book that embraces identification and analysis of avian rarities and vagrancy patterns throughout the United States and Canada with an enthusiasm and devotion to statistical, geographic, and ornithological detail that will both delight and challenge birders. . . . "Rare Birds of North America" is a significant addition to our birding literature."--Donna Schulman, "10,000 Birds"

"I don't use this language often but this really is a 'must-have' book if you're one of those birders that chases, wants to chase, or just wait on the edge of your seat for the next rarity to show up on the Aleutians or St. Paul."--Cory Gregory, "See You At Sunrise"

"If you have a hankering for understanding, or finding out more about some of the rarities that we profile on a monthly basis, "Rare Birds of North America" is the book for you. This is a unique and beautifully illustrated guide. . . . As a primer for understanding vagrancy and migration, the introduction is remarkable. . . . "Rare Birds of North America" should enrich the field experience of those interested in finding and observing rare birds, and it should serve as an encouragement to all."--"Birding Community E-Bulletin"

"This work pays homage to the books that have covered the same ground for the rarities in Europe and has been long overdue in North America. "Rare Birds of North America" is worth every cent of its price tag and deserves to find its way on the bookshelves of every North American birder plus a few other bookshelves elsewhere in the world."--"Urban Birder"

""Rare Birds of North America" provides unparalleled insights into vagrancy and avian migration, and will enrich the birding experience of anyone interested in finding and observing rare birds."--Carrie Laben, "Nature Travel Network"

"This book fills a much needed niche. A lot of filed guides have 'Accidental' species and that is what we have relied on in the past for identification of these birds. But now there is a comprehensive treatise on vagrants in North America and I recommend it for your library."--William Saur, "Passionate Birder"

"A technical tour de force."--Gabriel Thoumi, "Mongabay.com"

"Beautifully printed and illustrated. "Rare Birds of North America" is a useful, if highly selective, book that will certainly appeal to serious North American birders that enjoy chasing rarities or to the armchair ornithologist that dreams about chasing rarities."--Colin Talcroft, "Sonoma County Bird Watching Spots"

"The first of its kind: a comprehensive and illustrated guide to the vagrant birds who make an appearance in the United States and Canada."--Lee and J.J. MacFadden, "Bristol Herald Courier"

"These experienced and widely traveled birders illustrate and provide information about 262 avian species that should be on all our search lists."--Gerry Rising, "Buffalo News"

"[E]ssential reading . . . significant. . . . [T]he detailed treatment here is not only valuable, but in some cases the best available anywhere. . . . [N]othing short of exceptional . . . this book has everything to recommend it."--Dominic Mitchell, "Birdwatch Magazine"

"Fascinating . . . browsing this book presents a perfect opportunity for armchair birders to daydream about rare birds and about traveling to where the birds might be found."--"Dan Tallman's Bird Blog"

"No North American lister should be without this book. The beautiful illustrations alone would make it a joy to own. But it would be the first port of call if you turned up something not in the North American guides. Here you will find solid information to help you identify the bird and judge the likelihood that it is what you think it is. The frequency and geographical pattern of rarity occurrences is invaluable in this respect. Nicely written and beautifully produced to Princeton's normal high standard."--"Fatbirder"

"The book provides an excellent overview of birds rare to North America and serves as a worthy partner to your favorite North American field guide."--Steve Shultz, "CBC Newsletter"

"[T]his is a very interesting book especially for those who want to take their birding to a whole new level of challenge by seeking out rare and vagrant birds."--"GrrlScientist"

"If you take your birds rare, don't miss out on this impressive testament to the study of vagrancy in North American birds."--Matthew Bettelheim, "(bio)accumulation"

"A masterclass in identification from two of America's finest field birders. . . . [Ian Lewington's] brushstrokes breathe life into birds like no other illustrator, distilling the very essence of what makes one species different from another no matter how similar they look to even the most discerning of observers."--Stuart Winter, "Sunday Express"

"This is a very nice book, which serious birders will own."--"Choice"

"Arizona birders will not want to be without "Rare Birds." Not only does the book prepare us to identify the next vagrant that wafts our way, but it provides the reader with new ways to think about where our birds come from and why. And the only thing more fun than birding is thinking about it all."--Rick Wright, "Vermilion Flycatcher"

"This volume is sure to be a revered resource in any birder's library for the wealth of information it contains as well as the beauty of Lewington's paintings."--"USA Today"

"[An] impressive work. . . . The 275 plates by Ian Lewington are outstandingly clear. . . . A combination of thorough research and beauty."--Keith Betton, "Bird Watching Magazine"

"The identification texts here are probably the most advanced ever produced in a North American guide. This is an invaluable reference. . . . The book's value is not limited to American birders. There's a lot of great information here for the European audience, too. The informative comparisons between the Common Moorhen and Common Gallinule, Gray and Great Blue Herons, and Common and Wilson's Snipe are probably better than in any European guide. . . . Howell, Lewington, and Russell have done a fantastic job with this book. The illustrations, the detailed identification texts, and the original thought presented here make "Rare Birds of North America" a 'must-have' for the discerning birder."--Graham Etherington, "Birding," "ABA"

"The book provides unparalleled insights into vagrancy and avian migration. . . . Serious birders will want a copy of "Rare Birds of North America.""--Frederic H. Brock, "Wildlife Activist"

"This will doubtless prove to be one of the most important birding books of 2014. It is a pleasure to browse through, an endless source of curious and surprising information and a key reference in the identification literature. So, a hearty approval from me. A wonderful book!"--"Curious Naturalist"

"Clearly this is a must buy book for the passionate list keepers, particularly those who are strongly competitive. But there are good reasons for the rest of us owning this book. . . . It is an education of field observation just to read this book. It is great value for the price and a highly recommended purchase for all birders."--Roy John, "Canadian Field Naturalist"

"This book is a must-buy for anyone visiting the vagrant traps of North America and should appeal to any birder with an interest in vagrancy or simply with a desire to increase their knowledge or identification skills."--David Hodkinson, "BTO News"

"[S]ome of the identification texts here are probably the most advanced ever produced in a North American guide. . . . These illustrations, the detailed texts, and the original thought the authors present all make "Rare Birds of North America" a must have for the discerning birder."--Graham Etherington, "Birding"

"It was with great anticipation that I waited to receive this book. I had been aware of its existence for a while, as I knew that Ian was working on the plates. But this book is more than just a showcase for Ian's work, it is a class act. The text is very well written, succinct and with the insight of great familiarity, and this book is a great addition to any birder's library."--Brian Small, "British Birds"

"This is an excellent text. It does a superb job of summarizing where and when to look for vagrants, and provides a valuable resource for identifying these rare birds. . . . "Rare Birds of North America" makes an excellent companion to contemporary field guides to the US and Canada and is highly recommended for anyone interested in North American vagrants and patterns of vagrancy."--Christopher J. Butler, "IBIS"

"How about, just once, a field guide that focuses on these rare and vagrant birds that make birders' hearts, and then their cars, race? A guide for those incurable hopefuls looking for birds that aren't supposed to be there. A guide like "Rare Birds of North America." . . . Anyone who regularly birds one of the states where vagrants routinely show up--Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, or Alaska--absolutely should have "Rare Birds of North America" handy at all times. But I'd urge any birder in North America who chases rarities or, especially, wants to find one themselves to have this book and study it. It will make you a better, more attuned birder."--Grant McCreary, Birder's Library

One of "The Seattle Times" 8 Books to Put under a Bird-Lover's Tree 2014
One of the "StarTribune"/Lifestyle's Best Birding Books of 2014
One of the "Birder's Library" Best Bird Books of 2014
One of the "Birdbooker Report"'s Best Bird Books of 2014

From the Back Cover

""Rare Birds of North America" is splendid. There is warmth and humor in the prose, and the color plates are stunning and will ensure a strong audience for many years to come. Such a book is long overdue for North American readers."--Edward S. Brinkley, editor of "North American Birds"

"An excellent treatment of a fascinating topic."--Paul Lehman, field guide consultant and bird tour leader

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 23403 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (16 Feb. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #985,394 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book, exceptionally well researched and beautifully produced. A real masterpiece. That should be no surprise, given the authors and publisher. Nevertheless, it surpassed my expectations. It is not often that a technical manual will serve just as well as a coffee table book but Howell, Lewington and Russell and Princeton University Press have achieved that in this guide.

Rare Birds of North America is a 'must-buy' for any North American birder with more than a cursory interest in vagrant birds or bird migration. What about a British or European readership? Some will judge from the title that there can be little of relevance here for Old World birders. They would be wrong. A large proportion of the species covered have occurred, or could potentially occur on this side of the Atlantic. This book is another tool in the birder's kit, and will very definitely help western Palaearctic birders sharpen their identification skills. How? On one hand, this book provides the inverse perspective on identification of American vagrants - how to tell a Golden Plover from an American Golden, a Hen Harrier from a Northern, rather than vice versa - and in doing so it gives many insights into field separation of similar species. On the other, it is often quite simply the best source of information available for species which present identification pitfalls here. Considering solely non-passerines, European readers will find a great deal of useful information in the accounts of snipe, smaller Tringa waders, Cuckoo & Oriental Cuckoo, besides a host of pelagic birds. Added to that, the introductory information on bird migration is an essential summary of what is known to date.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an impressive work that analyses the occurrence of the rarest 262 species that arrive as vagrants in the USA and Canada. It therefore includes birds that are common here in the UK, but also others that make it up from South America or across from Asia. Because the book features common UK birds like Grey Heron you might assume that it is of little value to you, but what it will tell you is how to tell a Great Blue Heron from the Grey Heron – and so immediately it’s extremely valuable.

The book starts with a 32-page introduction which explains why some birds end up in the wrong place. In fact it considers six possible causes of displacement and then offers a detailed tabular analysis of the seasonality and geographic origins of these vagrants. So this is not a field guide – it is really designed as a reference book.

Not all vagrants in North American are included, but all species to have occurred in the period 1950 to July 2011 are covered. In fact 209 of those included were first recorded during that time period under review, and 50 of them were added between 2000 and 2011.

There are many tables in which such occurrences are analysed from different angles and these are for 1950-2009, allowing the six decades to be compared equally. Just as in Europe, the number of new vagrants being reported has grown hugely, along with the interest in birding and our ability to recognise what we see.

The order of species is somewhat different to that in most North American field guides, but it does start with waterbirds and ends with landbirds. Basically you’ll probably have to use the index a bit more than usual, but that is not a problem.

Amongst the species are some that we see in the UK but which always challenge your ID skills.
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Format: Hardcover
The book for serious world birders worldwide, not just in North America.....
This is an amazingly exciting book for all serious birders and twitchers. It deals (in staggering detail) with "vagrant" or "incidental" birds of North America. It is not really a book for beginner birders, but it is (most certainly) a MUST-HAVE book for every serious birder and lister out there - the book features only species that you're NOT likely to see on the continent, but which all serious listers spend most of their time dreaming about, i.e. their next rarity for their ABA list! Now you have an opportunity not only to dream about these birds, but to read about them in lots of detail. You cannot do without this book if you're a twitcher in North America. And, the book transcends boundaries: it is a highly pioneering work with detailed discussions about concepts of vagrancy and other topics that will get any birders' juices flowing, the world over: this book is surely brilliantly exciting and useful to twitchers the world over, not just in North America. Perhaps authors on other continents will follow the example and consider publishing similar works for their own areas? - But it will be an extremely hard act to follow - considering the profound track record and solid credentials of the authors, its not surprising that this is a work of amazing depth. The text theorizes about why vagrancy happens, it details where American vagrants come from (and why), and it provides voluminous information on identification (both in general and specifically for each species of vagrant that has been recorded on the continent). My advice to any lister/serious birder out there: 'ORDER THIS BOOK, AND DO IT NOW". Even if you're not based in North America, you'll find it great value for money even if its just for the general concepts put forward about vagrancy, which is the MOST exciting thing to any good twitcher.
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