This Ornithology subject resource guide is available courtesy of Marcia Schiff © 2009.
Bird, D. M. (1999). The bird almanac: The ultimate guide to essential facts and figures of the world’s birds. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books.
This resource is a fact book that covers an incredible amount of factual material about birds from the world checklist of all living species of birds to classification information, anatomy, physiology, reproduction, mortality, etc. It includes statistics about their reproduction and their mortality. This almanac is useful for novice birdwatchers, students, advanced birdwatchers, and professional ornithologists.
Baughman, M. (Ed.). (2004). National Geographic reference atlas to the birds of North America. Washington, DC: National Geographic.
This reference covers over 800 species of birds in 42 chapters organized by family. An informative essay about the species is followed by detailed descriptions of every important characteristic which includes ornithological classification, body structure, plumage, maps that cover migratory patterns as well as their range and distribution, feeding, breeding behavior, and vocalization. Also included are hints on observing the species as well as its status and conservation information. The book is well illustrated and also has many photographs. It can be used by beginning to advanced birdwatchers and professional ornithologists.
Elphick, J. (Ed.). (1995). The atlas of bird migration: Tracing the great journeys of the world’s birds. New York: Random House.
This reference provides extensive information about migration for over 100 northern and southern hemisphere bird species. An additional 500 migratory species are cataloged in the back section with details of their wingspan, weight, and migratory information routes. It includes color illustrations, photographs, and maps. This book could be used by anyone with an interest in bird migration from beginning to advanced birdwatchers and professional ornithologists.
Taylor, B. (1998). The bird atlas. New York: Dorling Kindersley, Inc.
This reference organized by continent is a wealth of information with interesting facts that include the main places birds live, their common and scientific names, their length, and includes beautiful color illustrations. This book would be useful for beginner to advanced birdwatchers, students, and for professional ornithologists.
Coues, E. (1995). Ornithological bibliography. Storrs-Mansfield, CT: Maurizio Martino Publisher.
Published in advance of the whole work as an appendix to the Treatise on North American Ornithology, this reference consists of the set of titles in the North American section of the “Faunal Publications” series which includes titles and digests of books and papers relating solely to the birds of North America. One thousand entries relating to North American ornithology books and papers are cited which are in the Library of Congress in Washington, D. C. It includes an author index, miscellaneous publications of the U.S. Geological Survey of the Territories, and the Bulletin of the U. S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories. As such it covers a wide range of publications (1612 – 1878) from the works of early ornithologists (e.g., Wilson and Audubon) as well as reviews and notices that relate to the works. This reference is arranged chronographically then alphabetically under each date. It includes two indexes: authors and localities. This book would be useful for serious historical researchers on ornithology.
Mason, A., & Helyan, J. (Eds.). (1972). The Ellis collection of ornithological books in the University of Kansas libraries. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Printing Service.
This reference is an extensive bibliography of the ornithological collection assembled by Ralph N. Ellis, Jr. as part of the Department of Special Collections in the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas. It includes both books and papers. It has an alphabetical listing by author with annotations that include the description of the book and what level of user would find it useful.
Baumel, J. J., King, A. S., Lucas, A. M., Breazile, J. E., & Evans, H. E. (Eds.). (1979). Nomina anatomica avium: An annotated anatomical dictionary of birds. New York: Academic Press.
This reference is an extensive detailed scientific study of avian anatomy supported in part by a grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine. It includes many black and white anatomical illustrations. This reference would be useful to serious professional researchers and professional ornithologists.
Campbell, B., & Lack, E. (1985). A dictionary of birds. Vermillion SD: Buteo Books.
Published for the British Ornithologists’ Union, this reference is organized alphabetically with articles on birds and general subjects relating to birds. It includes photographs and drawings as well as classification information with common English and scientific names. This reference would be useful for historical reference as well as for general knowledge for beginning to advanced birdwatchers and students.
Cox, R. T. (1966). Birder’s dictionary. Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing, Inc.
This reference is a comprehensive dictionary of bird vocabulary covering biological, anatomical, physiological, behavioral and taxonomical information about birds. Published as a paperback and small enough to fit inside a backpack, this reference contains line drawings of avian anatomy. Appendixes list North American and world bird orders in several different formats. This reference would be useful to beginning and experienced birdwatchers, students, researchers, artists, and photographers.
Holloway, J. E. (2003). Dictionary of birds of the U.S. Portland, OR: Timber Press.
Alphabetically arranged with cross-referencing entries, this reference includes the common English names and scientific names as well as some black and white illustrations. A bibliography and index are located in the back of the book. This reference would be useful to beginning birdwatchers, students, and advanced birdwatchers.
Longman world guide to birds. (1986). London: Longman Group UK Limited.
This dictionary contains the common English names, scientific names, ranges, habitats, sizes and descriptions of birds with color illustrations. There is a classification table (with order, family and common name) and index in the back of the book. This book would be useful to anyone with an interest in birds from beginning to advanced birdwatchers, students, and professional ornithologists.
Thomson, A. L. (1964). A new dictionary of birds. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons LTD.
This book is a comprehensive reference written with a worldwide context. It is an alphabetical listing of terminology and birds with some illustrations. It was written in honor of the 100th anniversary of the British Ornithologists’ Union and would be useful to anyone with a casual to serious interest in ornithology and birds.
Brooks, M., & Birkhead, T. (Eds.). (1991). The Cambridge encyclopedia of ornithology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
From “What is Ornithology” to topics on migration, bird populations, behavior, anatomy and physiology with color photographs and color and black and white illustrations, this text represents a comprehensive in-depth study of ornithology. This reference would be useful to beginning to advanced birdwatchers as well as to students and professional ornithologists.
Dorst, J. (1974). The life of birds (Vols. 1-2). (I. C. J. Galbraith, Trans.). London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. (Original work published 1971).
This book set was written by the Jean Dorst, a Professor at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. It is a comprehensive study of birds with black and white photographs and illustrations. The articles include bird behaviors, habitats, migration patterns, and their relationship to man. An extensive bibliography is located at the back of each volume and an index at the back of Volume 2. These volumes would be useful to beginning to advanced birdwatchers, students, and professional ornithologists especially with a view to understanding the historical evolution of ornithological information.
Forshaw, J. (Ed.). (1998). Encyclopedia of birds. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
A large hard cover book with beautiful color photographs and descriptions, the information presented includes the classification and endangered status of different birds of the world. Although not a highly scholarly work, it can best be described as a “coffee table book.” This reference would be a welcome addition to anyone with an interest in birds.
Perrins, C. M. (1990). The illustrated encyclopedia of birds: The definitive reference to birds of the world. New York: Prentice Hall Press.
Being described by the author as “the definitive reference” would not be an exaggeration. This reference is an excellent introduction to anyone with a serious interest in birds. It covers such topics as: bird structure and biology, evolution, classification, geography, migration, remarkable birds, threatened birds, and conservation. With brief articles and wonderful color illustrations, it is organized by bird orders and includes the world checklist of species. At the back of the book is a full index of all birds included. This reference would be useful to beginning birdwatchers, students, and advanced birdwatchers alike.
Perrins, C. M., & Middleton, A. L. A. (Eds.). (1985). The encyclopedia of birds. London: George Allen & Unwin.
Excellent reference text of over 180 families of living birds of the world. With over 90 expert contributors, articles for each family discuss such topics as ecology, distribution patterns, life cycles, mating rituals, social organization, and survival status based on field work for each bird family. Reference information includes classification, number of species, distribution patterns, habitat, size, color, calls, and nesting behavior. The text is organized into three sections: 1) large birds, 2) “Non-Passerines” which are small to moderate sized birds, and 3) the largest single order – the “Passeriformes.” The color photographs and illustrations enable bird identification. The discussion includes information about the family, order, distribution maps, detailed factual information, and commentary. Additionally it has a bibliography, glossary, and index at the back of the book. This reference would be useful to beginning birdwatchers, students, advanced birdwatchers, and professional ornithologists.
Poole., A. F., Stettenheim, P., & Gill, F. B. (1992-2002). The birds of North America: Life histories for the 21st century (Vols. 1-19). Washington, DC: The American Ornithologists’ Union and Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences.
This reference is a 19 volume set of books containing 716 scientific profiles of North American birds. It includes an extensive introduction to the history of ornithology starting with Alexander Wilson’s American Ornithology which set the foundation for studying birds of North America. The bird profiles include common English name, scientific name, general introduction, distinguishing characteristics, distribution, systematics, migration, habitat, food, habits, sounds, behavior, breeding, demography, conservation and management, appearance, measurements (linear and mass), and priorities for future research. With photographs and illustrations, each article lists acknowledgements and extensive references and maps showing the distribution. As an example, the article about the Arctic tern is 40 pages long (Vol. 19, Article No. 707). This reference set would be useful to beginning and advanced birdwatchers, students, and professional ornithologists.
Terres, J. K. (1980). The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
With 875 full color photographs and 800 black and white illustrations, this reference provides very detailed accounts of all birds that nest or are sighted in the 48 contiguous United States plus Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Bermuda, and Baja, California. It has 6,000 alphabetical entries that cover 847 birds that include their appearance, habits, range, songs, nests, behavior, etc. This reference would be useful to everyone from beginning birdwatchers to professional ornithologists.
Baicich, P. J., & Harrison, C. J. O. (2005). Princeton field guides: Nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American birds (2nd Ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
This reference provides information about the breeding biology of North American birds organized by family and species. Basic information includes topics on the birds’ nesting cycle with habitat and nest sites; appearance of the nests, eggs, and young birds; season of breeding; information on incubation; and details on the care of the young birds. With color plates as well as black and white drawings, this book is useful to beginning birdwatchers, students, advanced birdwatchers, and professional ornithologists.
Griggs, J. L. (1997). American Bird Conservancy’s field guide: All the birds of North America. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc.
A pocket sized weather-resistant soft cover book which easily fits into a backpack, this reference with full color illustrations organizes the birds by field-recognizable easily observable characteristics. The text includes common English name, scientific name, size, distribution, and identifying information. This field guide would be useful for beginning to advanced birdwatchers.
Harrison, H. H. (1973). Peterson field guides: A field guide to western birds’ nests. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
This reference, sponsored by the National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, covers 520 species of birds found breeding in the United States west of the Mississippi River. It includes the common English name and scientific name, the breeding ranges, habitat, information on the nests and eggs, and general notes. It includes color plates and black and white photographs. It is organized by order and species as listed in the American Ornithologists’ Union Check-List of North American Birds (5th ed., 1957). This book would be useful to beginning birdwatchers, students, advanced birdwatchers, and professional ornithologists.
National Geographic field guide to the birds of North America. (4th ed.). (2002). Washington, DC: National Geographic.
A soft cover book with 800 range maps and a quick-find index, it fits into a backpack and is an excellent introductory text for understanding all species of birds known to breed in North America. Over 800 birds are covered with focus on the birds’ identification, understanding their needs, and managing their habitats. With full color and detailed illustrations and descriptions combined with the quick-find index, this reference would be useful to beginning birdwatchers, students, advanced birdwatchers, and professional ornithologists.
Sibley, D. A. (2001). The Sibley field guide to birds. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
With coverage of over 810 species and greater than 6,600 color illustrations, this field guide contains all the important information from the bird’s measurements of length, wingspan, and weight to information about the species and geographic variations. Included to make identification easier are voice descriptions as well as complete range distributions and migratory routes. This field guide would be useful for everyone from beginner to advanced birdwatchers, students, and professional ornithologists.
Sibley, D. A. (2003). The Sibley field guide to birds of eastern North America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
This field guide is small enough to fit into a backpack. It provides identification information for 650 species of birds found east of the Rocky Mountains in North America. With over 4,200 color illustrations to make identification easier, the information includes the bird’s common English name, scientific name, length, wingspan, weight, range maps, frequency, nesting, foods and feeding, voice description, and key identifying features. This reference would be useful to everyone from beginning to advanced birdwatchers as well as students and professional ornithologists.
Weidensaul, S. (1998). National Audubon Society first field guide. New York: Scholastic, Inc.
This field guide is small enough to fit into a backpack with easy to read text and more than 450 color photographs and illustrations. It is divided into four sections: general information about birds, how to look at birds, a field guide, and reference section that includes a glossary and photographs of the 50 state birds. The text includes information about unique characteristics, interesting behaviors, and information about the birds’ habitats. This reference is meant to be a starting guide for beginner birdwatchers.
Del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., & Sargatal, J. (Eds.). (1992). Handbook of the birds of the world (Vols. 1-13). Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.
This reference, organized by order and then family, provides extensive descriptions of birds covering such topics as systematics, morphology, habitat, habits, vocalization, food and feeding, breeding, movements, relationship with man, and the birds’ status and conservation. Its discussion of the Class AVES (Birds) of 38 pages provides excellent background to the subject matter. The color photographs add considerably to identifying the various species. This is an excellent reference for everyone — from beginning birdwatchers to professional ornithologists.
Dunning, J. B., Jr. (Ed.). (2008). CRC handbook of avian body masses. (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
This handbook covers over 8,700 species. It would be a useful reference for research programs in ecological and physiological bird studies. It includes extensive literature citations at the back of the book, a full index, and tables that include such information as the species’ scientific name, common English name, gender, sample size, mean, standard deviation, minimum mass, maximum mass, season found, location, and a source number which refers to the citation list at the back of the book. This reference is definitely not for beginning birdwatchers, but for professional researchers and ornithologists.
Podulka, S., Rohrbaugh, R. W., Jr., & Bonney, R. (Eds.). (2004). The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s handbook of bird biology (2nd Ed.). Ithica, NY: Cornell Lab of Ornithology in association with Princeton University Press.
This book is a general ornithology reference and is used in the Home Study Course in Bird Biology (HSC) administered by the Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology education staff. It is a well designed text which begins setting a historical perspective for ornithology and includes discussion on birds, bird watching, anatomy and physiology, migration, vocalization, breeding, and conservation. It has an extensive reference list and index at the back of the book. This book is designed for beginning birdwatchers and students, but would be of interest to advanced birdwatchers and professional ornithologists as well.
Eastwood, E. (1967). Radar ornithology. London: Methuen & Company Ltd.
This is a classic text explaining the principles and use of radar in ornithology for both discerning migration patterns and obtaining bird counts. This book would be useful to anyone wishing to understand the emergence of the use of radar in ornithology from a historical research perspective.
Farber, P. L. (1982). The emergence of ornithology as a scientific discipline: 1760-1850. Boston: D. Reidel Publishing Company.
This text traces the study of birds from a literary activity to its transformation into a scientific field that attracted scientists who used rigorous scientific methods and criteria from that era. This reference would be useful to anyone wishing to do historical research or with an interest in the history of ornithology.
Ford, A. (Ed.). (1957). The bird biographies of John James Audubon. New York: The Macmillan Company.
This reference is comprised of a selection of the original writings and color prints of drawings by John James Audubon. It includes a current American Ornithologists’ Union Check-List of birds in 1957, the ranges of the birds, as well as a bibliography at the back of the book. This book would be of interest to anyone with a historical interest in the beginning of early ornithology.
Newton, A. (1896). A dictionary of birds. London: Adam and Charles Black.
This text is a scientific discourse with illustrations of bird anatomy and physiology written before 1900. It contains an introduction and extensive index. From a historical perspective, this reference would be useful to anyone wishing to do historical research.
Stresemann, E. (1975). Ornithology: From Aristotle to the present. (H. J. Epstein & C. Epstein, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Original work published 1951).
Originally published in post World War II Germany, the author is considered an outstanding ornithologist of his time plus distinguished scholar and historian. With references cited and index in the back of the book, this text would be of high interest to anyone wishing to do historical research.
Walters, M. (2005). A concise history of ornithology. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
This book traces the development of ornithology from earliest times of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Chinese through the 20th century both looking at the ornithologists as well as the development of the science itself. With illustrations and written in an easy to read style, this text would be of interest to all bird lovers, students, and professional ornithologists.
Wilson, B. W. (1980). Readings from Scientific American: Birds. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman & Co.
This text contains 25 articles published by Scientific American since 1948. It is organized into seven sections covering different aspects of the lives of birds and their relationships to man. Topics covered include migration, evolution, physiology, and birds and people (pesticides and poultry). This book would be of interest to the general reader as well as to serious students and professionals.
This Ornithology subject resource guide is available courtesy of Marcia Schiff © 2009.