How to be a Birder part 5

Hint #5: Buy or Borrow a Field Guide

Birders are always learning more and more about the objects of their hobby. Many collect whole bookshelves, even a small library of books and magazines about birds. Prime amongst these would have to be a field guide to the birds of your area, state or country. In Australia we are in the wonderful position of having more than one from which to choose. In fact there are 5 or 6 excellent guides currently available and several more out of print editions often available in second hand bookshops. There is no excuse for not knowing about birds.

Study the field guide often. Refer to it to find out details of each species. As you see each new species read about it. Try to commit to memory the important facts about its habits, distribution, habitat preference, plumage colours, nesting habits, movements and any other useful information relevant to that particular species.

For other useful hints on becoming a birder click here.

Related article:

Crested Pigeon

Crested Pigeon


2 Responses to “How to be a Birder part 5”

  1. Mark Hooyer says:

    Hi: planning on visiting Queensland & Tasmania from the U.S. Doing some research, I see that there are several field guides available:

    Field Guide to the Birds of Australia by Simpson & Day, seventh edition

    The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia by Pizzey & Knight

    The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds by Peter, Pat & Raoul Slater

    Field Guide to Australian Birds by Michael Morcombe

    Which one is preferred? Which is best to use as an infrequent visitor to Australia? Any comments would be helpful. Thanks,
    Mark H.

  2. Trevor says:

    Hi Mark,

    Sorry about the delay in replying.

    The short answer to your question is: all. Each guide is adequate for a first time or infrequent visitor to Australia.

    The long answer is:

    1. Simpson and Day is widely used and gives a good coverage. Earlier editions were hardcover making it too bulky for the traveller, but recent editions are far more compact with a soft cover. Recommended.

    2. Slater: I do not have this field guide so I cannot comment.

    3. Morcombe: very up to date, compact, comprehensive, well set out and good value. Highly recommended.

    4. Pizzey and Knight: getting a little dated but still very comprehensive, easy to use, compact, good value. I’ve used this edition since publication and I’m very happy with it. Highly recommended.

    It might well come down to price, as all will meet your needs and none will take up much space in your luggage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *