What Bird Field Guide should I buy?
Frequently Asked Questions about Birding #9
What field guide should I buy?
Again, this is really up to personal preferences. Most countries of the world have at least one really good field guide for the birds of that country. In Australia we have a range of about 5 or 6 really lovely field guides to choose from. Often it comes down to what your budget can afford.
Most Australian field guides are in the range from $20-40. A word of warning: in recent times there have been a few Ã¢â‚¬Ëœfield guidesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ that consist of only photographs. These are often beautiful productions and worthy of any birder’s library. They are, however, of limited use when identifying birds in the field.
A photograph shows a single bird, sometimes in light conditions that are not ideal. A good field guide consists of paintings of a typical member of the species showing all the subtle colour and plumage features that make for a positive ID. Good field guides also give a written description of the bird, and include a distribution map and plenty of additional information.