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How Do I Choose the Best Field Guide to Birds?

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  • Written By: Angela Crout-Mitchell
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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There are several different types of field guide to birds available on the market today, including traditional printed books in addition to digital versions. In order to choose the correct guide for your needs, it is suggested to choose affordable guidebooks that pertain to the geographical area you live or bird watch in and also have clear pictures or illustrations of various bird species. You may also want to consider the portability and construction of the field guide as well. Most bird field guides offer a bit of information about each bird species and can be instrumental in helping the novice or expert birdwatcher have a more satisfying experience in the field.

Price is often a factor when choosing the right field guide to birds for your needs. Most basic field guides can be purchased for about $15 US Dollars (USD) and contain basic facts, pictures, and mating information about each listed species. More in depth guides can cost as much as $30 USD and typically list more species and have more extensive information for the birdwatcher.

Another factor that should be considered when choosing a field guide to birds is the geographical location the guide is intended for. Field guides are available that focus on the birds of a specific country or continent, but there are others specifically for a local regions, which will often offer more specialized listings as well as habitat information and the best times and places to view certain bird species.

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The artwork found in a field guide to birds is an important feature to consider as well. Some guidebooks have photos of the birds, while others provide clear illustrations as means of identifying the birds in the wild. A combination of both options can be found in many field guides to birds. When selecting the right guidebook for your needs, be sure you are comfortable with the details in the artwork and are sure it will be useful to you in the field.

The purpose of a field guide to birds is to provide an easy to use, extensive guide to the birds of a specific region. In order for it to be helpful to you it should be well-made and portable. Most people choose conveniently sized bird guides that can be easily stored in a pocket or backpack for accessibility. You may wish to choose field guides with waterproof covers and a pocket to hold a pen or pencil as well.

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