Rare Birds of North America

Overview

Rare Birds of North America is the first comprehensive illustrated guide to the vagrant birds that occur throughout the United States and Canada. Featuring 275 stunning color plates, this book covers 262 species originating from three very different regions--the Old World, the New World tropics, and the world's oceans. It explains the causes of avian vagrancy and breaks down patterns of occurrence by region and season, enabling readers to see where, when, and why each species occurs in North America. Detailed ...

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Rare Birds of North America

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Overview

Rare Birds of North America is the first comprehensive illustrated guide to the vagrant birds that occur throughout the United States and Canada. Featuring 275 stunning color plates, this book covers 262 species originating from three very different regions--the Old World, the New World tropics, and the world's oceans. It explains the causes of avian vagrancy and breaks down patterns of occurrence by region and season, enabling readers to see where, when, and why each species occurs in North America. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, taxonomy, age, sex, distribution, and status.

Rare Birds of North America provides unparalleled insights into vagrancy and avian migration, and will enrich the birding experience of anyone interested in finding and observing rare birds.

  • Covers 262 species of vagrant birds found in the United States and Canada
  • Features 275 stunning color plates that depict every species
  • Explains patterns of occurrence by region and season
  • Provides an invaluable overview of vagrancy patterns and migration
  • Includes detailed species accounts and cutting-edge identification tips
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"How about, just once, a field guide that focuses on these rare and vagrant birds that make birders' hearts, and then their cars, race? A guide for those incurable hopefuls looking for birds that aren't supposed to be there. A guide like Rare Birds of North America. . . . Anyone who regularly birds one of the states where vagrants routinely show up—Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, or Alaska—absolutely should have Rare Birds of North America handy at all times. But I'd urge any birder in North America who chases rarities or, especially, wants to find one themselves to have this book and study it. It will make you a better, more attuned birder."—Grant McCreary, Birder's Library

"[T]his is a very interesting book especially for those who want to take their birding to a whole new level of challenge by seeking out rare and vagrant birds."—GrrlScientist

"If you take your birds rare, don't miss out on this impressive testament to the study of vagrancy in North American birds."—Matthew Bettelheim, (bio)accumulation

"A masterclass in identification from two of America's finest field birders. . . . [Ian Lewington's] brushstrokes breathe life into birds like no other illustrator, distilling the very essence of what makes one species different from another no matter how similar they look to even the most discerning of observers."—Stuart Winter, Sunday Express

"This is a very nice book, which serious birders will own."—Choice

Library Journal
★ 03/01/2014
Howell (Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm-Petrels of North America), Ian Lewington (Rare Birds of Britain and Europe), and Will Russell (WINGS International Bird Tours) collaborate on the first comprehensive guide to rare birds occurring throughout the United States and Canada. "Rare" here means five or fewer individuals found annually since 1950. The book's introduction explains avian migration in general and vagrancy in particular; maps showing migratory routes (and paths taken in error) and tables listing patterns of occurrence by region and season make complex information intelligible. The authors' sifting of bird-sighting records for a period covering some six decades is impressive. Detailed accounts of 262 species comprise the bulk of the book. Lewington's lovely color illustrations are supported by the sort of information one expects to find in bird guides (e.g., key identification features, taxonomy, distribution, similar species, behaviors, etc.). VERDICT That we are enjoying a "golden age of bird [book] publishing," as another reviewer in these pages has said, is clearly exemplified by this work. The birding hobby's growing popularity means that its fervent fringe of "life-listers" is growing, too, and for them, or anyone with an eye for the unusual, this book will surely tantalize.—Robert Eagan, Windsor P.L., Ont.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691117966
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 2/16/2014
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 72,323
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve N. G. Howell is a research associate at PRBO Conservation Science and a staff leader with WINGS, an international bird tour company. His books include "Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm-Petrels of North America" (Princeton). Ian Lewington is one of the world's finest bird illustrators. His books include "Rare Birds of Britain and Europe". Will Russell is cofounder and managing director of WINGS.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii
Acknowledgments ix
How to Use This Book xi
Abbreviations and Terminology xv
Geographic Terms xvii
INTRODUCTION
WHAT IS A 'RARE BIRD'-AND WHEN AND WHENCE? 1
MIGRATION AND VAGRANCY IN BIRDS 4
MIGRATION 4
VAGRANCY 6
Drift 7
Misorientation 10
Overshooting 14
Dispersal 14
Association 16
Disorientation 16
False Vagrancy 16
WHERE DO NORTH AMERICAN VAGRANTS COME FROM? 16
OLD WORLD SPECIES 16
East Asia 19
Western Eurasia-Africa 22
NEW WORLD SPECIES 24
Mainland 24
Island 29
PELAGIC SPECIES 30
Temperate Southern Hemisphere 30
Subtropical and Equatorial 30
TOPOGRAPHY, MOLT, AND AGING 32
BIRD TOPOGRAPHY 32
MOLTS AND PLUMAGES 32
MOLT AND AGING 35
Waterfowl 36
Pelagic Seabirds 38
Gulls and Terns 39
Shorebirds 39
Wading Birds 39
Raptors and Owls 40
Larger Landbirds 40
Aerial Landbirds 40
Songbirds 41
SPECIES ACCOUNTS
WATERFOWL 44
OLD WORLD 44
NEW WORLD 65
SUNGREBES 70
ALCIDS 71
PELAGIC SEABIRDS 74
PETRELS 74
ALBATROSSES 92
STORM-PETRELS 104
TROPICBIRDS 111
FRIGATEBIRDS 112
BOOBIES 117
GULLS AND TERNS 124
SHOREBIRDS 141
OLD WORLD 141
Plovers 142
Oystercatchers 151
Stilts 152
Sandpipers 154
Pratincoles 189
NEW WORLD 190
Thick-knees 190
Plovers 191
WADING BIRDS 194
OLD WORLD 194
Herons 194
Cranes 203
Rails 206
NEW WORLD 210
Herons 210
Storks 211
Rails 213
Jacanas 215
RAPTORS AND OWLS 217
OLD WORLD 217
NEW WORLD 230
LARGER LANDBIRDS 237
OLD WORLD 237
Nightjars 237
Pigeons 238
Cuckoos 240
Hoopoes 243
Woodpeckers 244
Corvids 246
NEW WORLD 248
Pigeons 248
Cuckoos 251
Trogons 252
Kingfishers 254
AERIAL LANDBIRDS 255
OLD WORLD 255
Swifts 255
Swallows 259
NEW WORLD 260
Hummingbirds 261
Swifts 272
Swallows 274
SONGBIRDS 278
OLD WORLD 278
Old World Flycatchers 279
Shrikes 286
Accentors 288
Chats and Thrushes 289
Old World Warblers 303
Wagtails and Pipits 315
Larks 322
Old World Buntings 323
Finches 334
NEW WORLD 342
Tyrant-flycatchers and allies 343
Mimids 362
Thrushes 365
Silkies (Silky-flycatchers) 373
Wrens 374
Vireos 375
Wood-warblers 377
Grassquits 385
Tanagers 388
New World Grosbeaks and Allies 393
New World Orioles 398
Appendices
Appendix A. Species New to North America, Fall 2011-Summer 2012 403
Appendix B: Species of Hypothetical Occurrence 404
Appendix C: Birds New to North America, 1950-2011 408
Literature Cited 411
Index 425

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