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The Crossley ID Guide:
Eastern Birds
Richard Crossley

Winner of the 2011 Award for Excellence in Reference Works, Association of American Publishers
Richard Crossley, Winner of the 2012 ABA Robert Ridgway Award for Publications in Field Ornithology, American Birding Association
Co-Winner of the 2012 Bronze Medal in Environment/Ecology/Nature, Independent Publisher Book Awards

Paperback Flexibound | 2011 | $35.00 / £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691147789
528 pp. | 7 1/2 x 10 | 10,000 color images.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400839230 |
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Reviews | Table of Contents
Introduction pdf-icon
A Q&A with author Richard Crossley

MEDIA ROOM for The Crossley ID Guide
A sampler (includes plates and text)

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Richard Crossley on camera

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This stunningly illustrated book from acclaimed birder and photographer Richard Crossley revolutionizes field guide design by providing the first real-life approach to identification. Whether you are a beginner, expert, or anywhere in between, The Crossley ID Guide will vastly improve your ability to identify birds.

Unlike other guides, which provide isolated individual photographs or illustrations, this is the first book to feature large, lifelike scenes for each species. These scenes--640 in all--are composed from more than 10,000 of the author's images showing birds in a wide range of views--near and far, from different angles, in various plumages and behaviors, including flight, and in the habitat in which they live. These beautiful compositions show how a bird's appearance changes with distance, and give equal emphasis to characteristics experts use to identify birds: size, structure and shape, behavior, probability, and color. This is the first book to convey all of these features visually--in a single image--and to reinforce them with accurate, concise text. Each scene provides a wealth of detailed visual information that invites and rewards careful study, but the most important identification features can be grasped instantly by anyone.

By making identification easier, more accurate, and more fun than ever before, The Crossley ID Guide will completely redefine how its users look at birds. Essential for all birders, it also promises to make new birders of many people who have despaired of using traditional guides.

  • Revolutionary. This book changes field guide design to make you a better birder
  • A picture says a thousand words. The most comprehensive guide: 640 stunning scenes created from 10,000 of the author's photographs
  • Reality birding. Lifelike in-focus scenes show birds in their habitats, from near and far, and in all plumages and behaviors
  • Teaching and reference. The first book to accurately portray all the key identification characteristics: size, shape, behavior, probability, and color
  • Practice makes perfect. An interactive learning experience to sharpen and test field identification skills
  • Bird like the experts. The first book to simplify birding and help you understand how to bird like the best
  • An interactive expanded captions for the plates and species updates


"The biggest new entry into the field is The Crossley ID Guide, which has turned the traditional field guide on its ear. Anyone who has birded regularly in Cape May, N.J., has seen Richard Crossley and his giant zoom lens stalking at dawn, dusk and in between. He has, a la Kenn Kaufman, digitally lifted the birds out of those photos and then dropped them--perched, walking, flying, diving, swimming--into a habitat that is one big photographic background, thus creating a picture window onto each species. Simultaneously we see the species up close, far away, in flight, at a feeder, in flocks, sitting, singing. Scale is up for grabs, with some of the birds so small and hidden that you don't see them until a second or third look. But the effect is engaging, exciting and akin to the real experience of birding, where so much happens on the wing, at difficult distance and in odd light."--Laura Jacobs, Wall Street Journal

"[Richard Crossley] tries to squeeze in as much reality as he can onto every printed page.... Why put such images in an identification guide? Crossley calls it reality birding. He believes that you can become a better birder by studying the distant birds and comparing them to the larger close-up images. By noticing the similarities between the different images, you will learn to focus on the features that remain constant for a particular species. The rationale is compelling, and I think Crossley's approach might actually work.... And, in case you were wondering, I love [this book]."--Michael Szpir, American Scientist

"A major innovation in identification guides in that it is designed to teach you to see differently. If you follow the program, this book will make you a better birder. Following the British practice, the Crossley Guide is intended for study at home--not as a field guide. . . . This is for anyone who wants to improve his or her birding skills."--Wayne Mones, Audubon blog

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Table of Contents:

Preface 5
Quick Key to Species 6

Introduction 22
How to Use This Book 22
How to Be a Better Birder 25

Species Accounts Waterbirds 36
Swimming Waterbirds 36
Flying Waterbirds 98
Walking Waterbirds 144

Upland Gamebirds 219
Raptors 231
Miscellaneous Larger Landbirds 269
Aerial Landbirds 315
Songbirds 332

Acknowledgments 517
Index 518
Shorthand (Alpha Codes) 518
Scientific Names 522
Common Names 526

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Richard Crossley:


Subject Areas:


Black Scoter
Black Scoter
(Click to enlarge and read description)

American Oystercatcher
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(Click to enlarge and read description)

Barred Owl
Barred Owl
(Click to enlarge and read description)

Black Scoter
Black-and-white Warbler
(Click to enlarge and read description)

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    File created: 9/12/2015

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