How to be a Birder part 17

Hint # 17 Read books about birds

Birds have had many thousands of books and magazines dedicated to their identification, study and beauty. Most birders end up having at least several field guides. Many birders subscribe to a range of birding or natural history magazines and newsletters. A few dedicated birders have large libraries of bird books. There are even specialist bookshops dedicated to bird books, or at least to books about natural history.

Books and magazines are an excellent way to educate yourself about the life of birds, their characteristics, identification and distribution. The vast majority of books are broad in their scope. Some are dedicated to the birds of a region or a particular country. Others may confine their coverage to a particular region within a country like the birds of South Australia, for example. Still others confine their attention to a specific family of birds like owls, gulls or honeyeaters. Some authors have restricted themselves to just one species for the entire publication. I have in my collection a book published many years ago on the life of the Mallee Fowl, a threatened species present near where I live.

Build up your collection of bird books and magazines over a period of several years as your budget allows. They will, I am sure, bring countless hours of pleasure over many decades. If your budget is very limited, try second-hand bookshops, garage sales and stalls at markets and fetes and even eBay. Don’t forget your local library either. Our library even has a few excellent videos and DVDs about birds.


Updated November 2013.

Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie


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