National Geographic Birding Basics: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Great Bird-watching by Noah Strycker

5 stars Nonfiction

This is a good basic book.  It provides a good starting point to bird watching as it doesn’t give you too much information but gives a lot of different information to get someone started.  There was a lot of different topics, some topics that I haven’t even thought about or cared about but I read through them and I can see why they were included in here.  This book is very thorough which is too be expected from National Geographic.

As I have said before, there are a lot of topics covered in this book.  Every two-page spread covers a topic and with 239 pages, you have many subjects to read about.  On these two-page spreads, you might find some Fun Facts, ID Tips (how to identity tricky birds), or some Try This ideas (ideas for you to try to actually put that two-page spreads topic into reality). There is also an Introduction, Glossary, an Index, some acknowledgements and some information about the author in the back.  Throughout the book, you’ll find some two-page spreads scattered about that are titled “In the Field with Noah.” These pages feature Noah’s own pictures with captions of actual footage he has captured out in the field. 

I did find some interesting topics while reading this book and I did find myself frustrated, as I wanted more information on a topic but the book was just the basics.  I realize I will have to research those topics further, hopefully in another National Geographic book to find more information.  I do think this would be a good starting point for someone who thinks they like birds.  There is a lot of think about and look at when thinking about birds. 

The book talks about 15 terms that they recommend you learn to identify birds, I thought that was interesting. They mention the website BirdCast which uses radar to show the migration forecasts of birds and I think that this would be cool to check out. I know that squirrels hate chili pepper so you can put that in your bird feeder to keep squirrels out but now I know that it’s the capsaicin in the chili powder that the birds can’t taste.  I liked the Pronouncing Bird Names pages. The book also mentioned the Merlin Bird ID app that you can download for free to help identify birds, I need to check into that one.  I think my grandkids will also like to use that one.  There are a few sections devoted to eBird, a free website that helps you track your own bird sightings.  The book also lists other websites that might be helpful.  See, I told you there was a lot of fun interesting information in this book.   One more little piece of information:  “ when you see an unfamiliar bird, keep it in view as long as possible and make conscious observations of its characteristics.” Then, before looking it up in a book, write down what you saw.  Well, I don’t do that.  I grab the book and start looking up the bird as I’m watching it.  I’m going to have to change that.  As I find myself confused and just like the book says, “it’s easy to see an illustration and suddenly “remember” something you never really noticed.” 

The illustrations/pictures are beautiful.  Most of the pictures are photos but there are some drawings and models of birds with the different parts of the bird labeled.  The realistic photos provide great detail and I think they definitely add to the book.

This is another excellent resource book from National Geographic but just remember, it’s just the basics.  It’ll get you started and, on your way, to bird watching.  5 stars.

15 terms to identify birds: Crown, nape, supercilium, lore, auricular, malar, eye ring, wing bar, primaries, secondaries, tertials, rump, undertail coverts, rectrices, and flanks