Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Best Field Guides for Hawks

With reports of huge numbers of migrating raptors coming in from hawk watches, I thought that it would be appropriate to write about some of my favorite field guides for hawk.

  1. Hawks in Flight: The Flight Identification of North American Migrant Raptors by Pete Dunne, David Sibley, and Clay Sutton

    • Pros: The extensive descriptions of the species in this book are extremely well done. I also like that the photos are black and white forcing you to focus on the shape and not color. There is a a new edition coming out very soon and it will be interesting to see what has been changed in the book.

    • Cons: The photos are not with the species accounts and are instead put at the end of the book. Some of the photos are also extremely poor quality and even though I'm sure it is meant to replicate a field experience, I do not like how it looks.

  2. Hawks at a Distance: Identification of Migrant Raptors by Jerry Liguori

    • Pros: If you plan on doing any hawk watching, this book is a must! In addition to very well written descriptions there are tons of photos of hawks at long distances and at multiple angles which is likely how you will see them in the field. I also really like the shots in the front of the book showing differing flight positions and also the graph showing the timing of migration for each species for both the spring and the fall. The shapes section at the back of the book is exceptional as well! This section shows 40 photos of every species from every imaginable angle.

    • Cons: I do not feel that there are really any cons to this guide.
  3. Hawks from Every Angle: How to Identify Raptors In Flight by Jerry Liguori
    • Pros: This guide shows a lot of the same information that Hawks at a Distance contains but its photos and descriptions focus on birds that are not as far away from the observer. The book also contains a great overview of hawk migration and of great hawk watching locations.
    • Cons: Just like Hawks at a Distance, I am having trouble finding anything to say is wrong with this book. Every birder should own both of these books and they are best as a set to fully learn hawk identification.


Derek said...

I love the Liguori books too!!!!

Eric Ripma said...

They really are amazing guides!