Of good field guides

   Of late I have been on a quest for a good field guide. Unfortunately, I am more picky than others when it comes to finding a field guide that satisifes me. I somehow manage to find problems with all of them. There are many, many field guides out there today that are extremely popular. Sibley guides, Peterson guides, Stokes guides, Kaufman guides, Crossley guides... You get the idea. I have examined all of them. I have looked at Audubon and National Geographic guides. I have searched up and down the internet looking for a field guide, but not one is the least bit likeable, in my opinion. When it comes to a field guide, I prefer books that have photographs (instead of illustrations) both the male and female, along with any variations (eg. birds that have different plumage in winter than summer). I also like birds that pertain to my region so that I'm not toting a huge book, half of the species in which don't even have a range anywhere near me (I try to rule out all guides that are for the entire U.S.). And last but not least, I like guides that have extensive information on each species in the book, such as plumage variation descriptions, size info, habitat and diet info, and breeding info (range maps go without saying as they are imperitive). However, no guide that I can find has all of my preferences included. Some have photos, but almost no information on the species. Some have photos, but only of the male, female, or juvenile, not of both and/or all three. Some have detailed info, but use drawings instead of photographs. But not one that I have found include all of the fields that I demand.

   Currently my favorite pocket guide is 'Birds of Ohio' by Stan Tekiela. However, this guide doesn't cover the less common species, and is more for beginner-intermediate birders. However, it has all that I require in a field guide. Photographs, detailed info, and it is specifically for my location (more so than most)... Ohio. I dislike the Kaufman, and Sibley guides because I believe that photos are much better when trying to identify a bird than is an illustration that someone drew. The Audubon Guide to Birds: Eastern Region is a nice guide, but the photos aren't the best quality. The Stokes guide isn't to my liking because the photos are sub-par. You get the idea. I'm basically not happy with anything. So far my favorite guide is the Crossley ID guide for the eastern U.S. I don't like how many of the same species are shoved into one scene, but I do like how it covers all angles and plumage variations of the birds. Thus I may end up making my next guide a Crossley. I don't think there are many other options.

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