Where do You Get
FIELD GUIDES?

In any halfway decent bookstore, and in almost every library, you can find good field guides. At the library's computer terminal, just type in the key words "field guide" and look for titles such as "A Field Guide to the Birds." In bookstores, of course field guides are found in the nature section.

Happily, field guides are used by so many people that usually their prices are surprisingly low -- low for books with so many illustrations and such specialized information. You may be interested in browsing the following:

Field Guides Sold at Amazon.Com

Audubon Society Field Guides, published by Alfred A. Knopf of New York, are comprehensive and attractive. Moreover, if only one field guide series is available in your bookstore, it'll probably be this series. Audubon guides distinguish themselves by illustrating species with color photographs, not with realistic hand paintings typical of most other guides. On the one hand, it's good to see real organisms in their native habitats but, on the other hand, when you're in the field wanting an identification fast, sometimes the Audubon guides' beautiful pictures just don't emphasize the field marks you need to see. Hand illustrated guides have the advantage of being able to position each organism so that critical field marks are clearly visible. It's a matter of taste whether you prefer the Audubon guides or another. Audubon produces different kinds of fieldguides with various technical levels. We'll begin with the bigginners' guides and work toward more complete and technical ones.

"First Field Guides":

Birds - Softcover

Reptiles

Insects - Paperback

Wildflowers

"Pocket Guides":

Songbirds and Familiar Backyard Birds/Eastern Region

Familiar Birds of North America : Eastern Region

Familiar Birds of North America : Western Region

Familiar Insects and Spiders North America

Familiar Mammals North America

Familiar Trees of North America : Eastern Region

Familiar Trees of North America : Western Region

Familiar Flowers of North America : Eastern Region

Familiar Flowers of North America : Western Region

Familiar Animal Tracks

Clouds and Storms

Birding Guides to All Species in Their Region:

The Sibley Guide to Birds

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds : Eastern Region

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds : Western Region

National Audubon Society Master Guide to Birding : Warblers to Sparrows (one of a wonderful 3-volume set, but the other two volumes are out of print)

The Peterson Field Guide Series, published by Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston, is the most comprehensive series using drawings and paintings. They are not as glossy and colorful as the Audubon Series but, for fast, easy identifications, they are often superior, precisely because hand-drawn illustrations can highlight field marks. The series was established by the famed artist and naturalist Roger Tory Peterson. Here are topics included in The Peterson Field Guide Series:

A Field Guide to the Birds : A Completely New Guide to All the Birds of Eastern and Central North America

A Field Guide to the Birds' Nests : United States East of the Mississippi River

A Field Guide to Western Butterflies

A Field Guide to Insects : America North of Mexico

A Field Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians of Eastern & Central North America

A Field Guide to California and Pacific Northwest Forests 

A Field Guide to Eastern Forests North America

A Field Guide to Rocky Mountain and Southwest Forests

A Field Guide to Rocky Mountain Wildflowers : Northern Arizona and New Mexico to British Columbia

A Field Guide to Southwestern and Texas Wildflowers

Golden Nature Guides, published by Golden Press of New York, are the best for rank beginners unsure they want to pay for more complete field guides. They are inexpensive little books of 160 pages or so, typically illustrating and describing only the most common species of the group being dealt with. For example, the comprehensive Manual of Cultivated Plants by L.H. Bailey describes 5,347 horticultural plants, while the Golden Guide called Exotic Plants, covering much the same territory, presents only 400. However, Golden Guides describe the basics for learning about the various groups of plants and animals, and they do a good job describing what's interesting about the common species. Here are some of the most popular Golden Guides:

Birds

Butterflies and Moths

Insects : A Guide to Familiar American Insects

Reptiles & Amphibians

Trees : A Guide to Familiar American Trees

Flowers : A Guide to Familiar American Wildflowers

Weather : Air Masses, Clouds, Rainfall, Storms, Weather Maps, Climate

If you have special interests not covered by the above editions you may want to use the search forms below. For example, if your special interest is "beetles" and you want to see all the differente kinds of learning aids available (including flash cards, CDs, software, etc.), keep the top of the form saying "All Products" and type "beetles" into the lower blank.

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