Recommended Books (Updated* New Books Added*)

I love to read about birds. Go figure right?

Here are some recommendations: I have a few photos in these books but it is not why I am recommending them. They are really great books and I am not getting paid to plug them.

First off is my # 1 go to Field Guide.

1. The Stokes Field Guide To The Birds Of North America by Donald Stokes and Lillian Stokes.

I love this book because of all the excellent photos of each species and subspecies in juvenile to adult plumages in flight and perched. He also has so many interesting quick ID tips for each species and subspecies, fun facts and behaviors of each bird. I have learned so much through his books.

You can buy it HERE

2. David Sibley's Field Guides

These books are great. He is an amazing illustrator and a very nice man. His field guides are the most popular with birders. However, I prefer field guides with actual photos rather than an artists interpretation of the bird. The colours can sometimes be off to me with illustrated field guides. I still recommend his field guides to birders who do not like photographic field guides. If you do not like them then this is the field guide to buy. My only other critique Myis that he is lacking details and interesting facts on the birds behavior, nesting etc.

You can buy them HERE

3."Best Places to Bird in British Columbia" by Russell and Richard Cannings. 

My good friend Russell Cannings who created and used to run the BC RBA Blog has this fantastic book out that is co-authored with his bird biologist and MP dad Richard Cannings. I read it from cover to cover, it was a great read. He kindly used many of my young birders talented photographs in his book. He also put a few of my photos in there as well. This book is great because it helps any visitor or local birder know the best places to bird in BC and what they may expect to see at each site.

You can buy the book HERE

4. "The Enchantment of Birds" by Richard Cannings

Truly one of my favorite birding books. I picked it up and literally couldn't stop reading it. Dick does such a great job of telling his life story and how he came to love birds from a young age up until adulthood. You learn about different species of birds as well and fascinating facts about them. One of the best birding books on the market.

You can buy it HERE

5. "Birdfinding in BC" by Richard and Russell Cannings

This is a book that every BC birder should have. If you love to travel within BC and bird around the province this is the book to buy. It is full of local knowledge that only a local expert would know. Their are many good "secret" spots in here. I carry it with me whenever I am birding in the province till this day.

You can buy it HERE

6. "Bird-by-Bird Gardening: The Ultimate Guide to Bringing in Your Favorite birds" by Sally Roth.

I love to garden and I love birds and mixing the two is a source of relaxation for me. If you love both as well and want to know how to attract certain species to your yard this is the book to buy. It is easy to read and is not boring in the slightest. I have used many of her tips and they have worked attracting many desired species to my yard!

You can buy it HERE

7. "Silence Of The Songbirds" by Bridget Stutchbury

This book may make you sad but it is imperative that birders read this book because it shows how bad we as humans have been to the birds. Migrating songbirds are dissappearing at an alarming rate and this book talks about it and ways how we may be able to mitigate if we listen up now. A movie called the Messenger that was extremely moving stars the author and continues her life's work which is to save the migratory songbirds before it is too late.

You can buy it HERE 

8."Kingbird Highway: The biggest year in the life of an extreme birder: by Kenn Kaufmann

This book is a fun, fun read. If you have ever thought of doing a big year you should read this book. I have only done a Metro Vancouver Big Year and that was tough to get 256+2. To do what Kenn Kaufmann did and to do all the things he did to achieve it is incredible and probably would be highly unsafe today. He was only 16 when he dropped out of school to do this. He learned a lot to make him wiser and so does the reader after reading this terrific book. Kenn Kaufmann is one of the most renowned Bird experts and field guide authors in NA so he did something right!

You can buy the book HERE

9. "Warbler Guide" by Scott Whittle and Tom Stephenson

There is no better book on Warblers around. This book goes into great detail about every aspect of each species plumage and vocal patterns. It should be in every birder's collection. It is especially good if you get just a fleeting glimpse of a bird. It shows you what to look for in the fleeting glimpse by giving photos of just a tail or just a head etc and explains how to identify birds from that and how you can compare that with other warbler species.

You can buy the book HERE

*I know I said there is no better book but there is a close second out there called  "A Field Guide to Warblers of North America" by Kimball Garrett, Jon L.Dunn, Thomas R. Schultz. You can buy it HERE.*

10. Rare birds of North America by Steve N.G. Howell

I don`t think I have to say why I love this book do I...

My friend Peter Candido bought this one for me and it has been a treasured and highly used book ever since!

You can buy this book HERE


11. "Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm-Petrels of North America: A Photographic Guide" by Steve N.G. Howell

If you want to get better on pelagic species you can`t neglect having this book in your collection. Pelagics are hard enough without an excellent reference guide to have by your side.

You can buy this book HERE


For Raptor ID: "A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors" by Brian Wheeler

12. "Hawks at a distance" by Jerry Liguori

My friend Mike Tabak and Ned Harris would not need this book because they are so great at identifying Hawks in flight at a great distance. However, if you are like the rest of us and need some help and enjoy hawk watches like the Young Birders and I do then this is the book for you.

You can buy the book  HERE
13. "The Shorebird Guide" by Michael O'Brien, Richard Crossley, Kevin T. Karlson

When I first started birding I hated shorebirds. It is my dirty little secret. I found them so bloody confusing and hard. I did not have a natural affinity for them. Now however, they are one of my all time favourites. I can`t even fathom not loving them. They take a lot of work and practice but are so rewarding when you really understand the various plumages and ages. This book is written by experts I have consulted several times on the bird alert for IDs that were challenged such as the Piping Plover that appeared in Delta.

You can buy the book HERE

14. "Peterson Reference Guides to Gulls of the Americas" by Steve N.G. Howell

Gulls. Well they are not my forte. I admit that and they are a constant learning process for me. With all the hybrids on the west coast they are  even more confusing than ever. This book is a must for me as I am not gull expert. Gull experts pretty much only study gulls when they go out. I totally admire them but looking at gulls all day just isn`t my idea of fun. With this book though I am working at it. I sure do love the hooded Gulls and send me another Swallow-tailed Gull anytime. I love challenges so I won`t be giving up on Gulls any time soon. You gotta work at something until you are great and with this book I hope to get there. There really is no better reference.

You can buy it HERE.

15. "Peterson Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America" by Sheri L. Williamson

Recently Sheri L. Williamson helped the RBA Blog correct two incorrectly identified Hummingbirds. The first was a Black-chinned Hummingbird that turned out to be a Black-chinned X Anna`s Hybrid and the second was an incorrectly identified Broad-tailed Hummingbird that turned out to be a Rufous X Black-chinned Hybrid. Who knew Hummers interbred so much! It is so totally fascinating and I owe a great deal of gratitude to Sheri for her expertise. She is the authority on the subject. Therefore you couldn`t get a better book on Hummingbirds if you tried.

You can buy it HERE

16. "Sparrows of North America and Canada" by James Rising and David Beadle.

Sparrows are another tricky bird I find people have a hard time identyfing. They call them little brown jobs for a reason! They all look the same to most people. This book helps you to pick out the subtle differences that help you to clearly differentiate the various species and most importantly those difficult to ID immature birds!

You can buy the book HERE

17. "Peterson Reference Guides to Molt in North American Birds" by Steve N.G. Howell

You can`t get a better book on moult than this book. Well maybe Peter Pyle`s books which I`ve previously discussed on the blog, is the one exception. However, those books are hundreds of dollars ... so you decide :).

You can buy this book HERE

18. "The Art of Mindful Birdwatching: Reflections on Freedom & Being" by Claire Thompson
A book that we all need in our very busy lives. It is so important to just take some time for yourself and practice mindfulness. This book helped me to feel more re-energized and calm. I have already read it twice.

Best read with Jazz music playing in the background.

You can buy the book HERE

19. "One More Warbler" by Victor Emmanuel

A fantastic biography of a birder with a vivid past. The writing is so engaging and interesting. I would just love to meet him one day. He has had so many cool experiences that unfortunately will never come again, for instance seeing one of the last Eskimo Curlews!

You can buy the book HERE

20. "Bird Art: Drawing Birds using Graphite & Coloured Pencils" by Alan Woollette
Since I love to paint birds I wish I had a book like this when I first started out to learn how to draw birds so beautifully. I have used it to enhance my art work and find it totally therapeutic.

You can buy the book HERE

21. "The Crossley ID Guide: Waterfowl" by Richard Crossley

Who doesn't love ducks? They are beautiful and one of my favourite bird species. Geese too! However, their moult can be tricky like when the males go into Eclipse plumage and Juvenile males! You don't know how many questions I get for help on difficult duck ID. I highly recommend this book for those who are interested in waterfowl. You just couldn't get a better guide that is packed with more interesting and helpful info than this one.

You can buy the book HERE

A drake and hen Wood Duck swim by me in Southern BC - Photo: Melissa Hafting


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