By Jeff Eason
The new generation of birding books makes the older field guides look dusty old school texts. Advances in digital and film photography equipment, printing resources and the ability to incorporate detailed sidebars and graphics on a single page make the new guides a requirement for any serious birder.
Birds of the Carolinas Field Guide by Stan Tekiela (2nd edition) is out now and published by Adventure Publications, Inc. It is the companion to Birds of the Carolinas Audio CDs.
Birds of the Carolinas Field Guide. Tekiela's Birds of the Carolinas is probably the better choice for birders who want a book to take with them on hikes and camping trips. The reason for that is simple: size. At 4 1/2 " x 6" and less than a pound, it puts a world of information into your backpack or jacket pocket. Its 345 pages are efficiently divided with a full-page color photo of a bird on the left-hand side and details of the same species on the right-hand side. A small map of the Carolinas on the right-hand side also shows the reader where he or she might find the species in our states during the winter, summer, migration and nesting seasons.
The first thing a birder's going to rely on when using a field guide are the photos. Tekiela's guide features crisp shots of the birds in their natural habitat with a keen eye for color balancing. Nothing can screw up the identification process as quickly as a bad or misleading photo and in that regard Birds of the Carolinas should be considered tops in its field. It also divides its species in chapters based on primary color, something that appeals to some birders while others prefer divisions based on species or habitat.
Other details of Tekiela's book include a comparative guide to help birders with "look-alike" spiecies and interesting tidbits on area birds. But it is the photos that make this book one of the best on the shelves today.
Birds of the Carolinas is available in paperback at area bookstores and at Fred's General Mercantile on Beech Mountain for $14.95