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: Pete Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion  ( 1960 )

Ron Skleney

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Pete Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion
« : February 15, 2008, 04:39:00 AM »
"In this book, bursting with more information than any field guide could hold, the well-known author and birder Pete Dunne introduces readers to the "Cape May School," or GISS, method of identification, which focuses on a bird holistically, giving more weight to the general impression of the bird than to specific field marks. After determining the most likely possibilities by considering such factors as habitat and season, the birder uses characteristics such as size, shape, behavior, flight pattern, and vocalizations to identify a bird. The book provides an arsenal of additional hints and helpful clues to guide a birder when, even after a review of a field guide, the identification still hangs in the balance. This supplement to field guides shares the knowledge and skills that expert birders bring to identification challenges. "
TuckBird is right -- this is a great book! But...it is NOT a field guide.  It has no photos or drawings but is an excellent complement to ANY field guide.  Pete Dunne has a terrific knack of painting pictures with words.  You will find his comments on bird behavior valuable in particular. 
Here's an example; my wife and I were birding at Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge and seeing dozens of egrets and herons.  We came across a small group of what we thought were tri-colored herons but for some reason they didn't look quite right compared to other tri-colored herons we had seen (much more rufuos coloration on the neck and jumping around in a "goofy" manner).  They were a little far off so I did a rough sketch for comparison later.  I checked my large Sibley's when we returned to the hotel and thought, "Could be a reddish egret??"  I read Dunne's entry and his description of their interesting fish foraging behavior and his description was spot on in terms of the behavior we observed out on the marsh.  At home, I keep Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion right next to my Sibley's Guide to Birds.


« : July 22, 2008, 10:03:14 AM Greg Neise »


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