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The Birdwatcher's Companion to North American Birdlife
Christopher W. Leahy
Illustrations by Gordon Morrison

Paperback | 2004 | This edition is out of print | ISBN: 9780691113883
Hardcover | 2004 | This edition is out of print | ISBN: 9780691092973


The quintessential A-Z guide, this is a book that anyone interested in birds will want to have close at hand. First published more than twenty years ago, this highly respected reference volume has been fully revised and updated. It captures the fundamental details as well as the immense fascination of North American bird life in a style that is authoritative, yet fresh, witty, and eminently readable.

Both a practical handbook for amateurs and a handy reference for seasoned birders, it provides accounts of the basic elements of birdlife, as well as a wealth of easy-to-access information on such subjects as bird physiology and anatomy, terms and jargon, name definitions and etymology, and ornithological groupings.

Readers will discover everything from the color of a dipper's eggs (glossy, white, and unmarked) to the number of species of woodpeckers in the world (216). They will also find more than one hundred of the best-known and most colorful colloquial names for birds, alphabetized and briefly defined. Collective nouns relating to birdlife--for example, "an exaltation of larks"--are included in the "Nouns of Assemblage" section. Biographical sketches of persons responsible for describing or naming a significant number of North American species are also included, as well as handsome and accurate illustrations by Gordon Morrison. And for those who want to go beyond reading about their favorite birds and take to the great outdoors, the book offers still more useful information: descriptive entries on a selection of the best-known birdwatching spots of North America.


"A thousand-page A-to-Z guide to all things avian. Leahy clearly loves birds, and this affectionate yet scholarly work offers everything from terse definitions and simple descriptions to thoughtful and authoritative essays. . . . There is much here that will engage every level of birder."--American Scientist

"This is a reference book for the ages that transcends mere North American use. . . . The entries are informative, easily assimilated, and also written with spirit, humor, and charm as well as authority."--Henry T. Armistead, Bird Watcher's Digest

"How, I marveled, could one human being know so much about so many things, yet write about them so engagingly, without an ounce of pretension and with so much wit? . . . This is the sort of book that one can imagine reading page after page, like a novel, on a dark winter's day when there's no good reason to go outdoors. . . . It's equal parts erudition and plain fascination, laced with good humor."--Michael Bowen, Audubon Naturalist News

"Birders take note! The fully revised and updated ultimate guide to North American birds is out and ready to be devoured by ornithologists of every stripe--professional, amateur, or somewhere in between. . . . Chock full of bird lore and scientific authority, this book is a never-ending source of delight."--Biology Digest

"[A book] to nestle into a favorite chair with at the end of a good day's birding. It's a volume that can be picked up anytime and opened randomly for a bit of bird-lore. . . . Above all, it's a guide that will lead to a greater enjoyment and understanding of birds."--Jerome A. Jackson, Birder's World

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Copublished with the American Birding Association

File created: 1/4/2017

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