Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Book Review: Crossley ID Guide to Raptors

This book, the latest in Richard Crossley's innovative photographic field guides, is, in a word, stunning.
Like Crossley's earlier guides, it has stunning photos of its subjects, in a diverse array of plumages, ages, subspecies and races, and habitats. A must have for those (like us) who need help occasionally telling their immature Red-Shouldered Hawks from their immature Cooper's Hawks, or a distant Red-Tail from a Ferruginous.
But perhaps because this guide covers a narrower array of species than the previous ones, Crossley and his co-authors have taken things further this time.
There's a photo spread showing accipiters in flight, another showing how to tell the age of Cooper's Hawks, one showing 24 different shots of Swainson's Hawk in Migration, from all conceivable angles. You get the idea. Some of the backgrounds are iconic raptor-watching sites, like Cape May, N.J., and Hawk Mountain, PA.
Birdcouple was hooked most of all by the quizzes at the back of the book. Raptors from above, below, perched, at sunrise. Amazing and informative. The only sad thing is how many birds we mis-ID'd.
All in all, this is a worthy edition to even a well-stocked ornithological shelf!
Full Disclosure: We reviewed a courtesy review copy from the publisher, Princeton University Press.

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