Spring: The Season of Birds

As the countdown to the thaw of spring begins, over 200 species of birds are gearing up for their annual, epic journey. Some will clock 10,000 miles on their way back to the United States and Canada from the balmy climates of regions further south. Although birds are on the move nearly every day, this period of Neotropical migration is the most predictable time for movement, and volunteer birders across the country will take to the outdoors to count the traveling birds. In preparation for the return of these raptors, songbirds, and shorebirds, Princeton University Press brings you four essential birding guides.

crossley guides In both The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds and The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, acclaimed photographer and birder Richard Crossley has introduced a new way to not only look at birds, but to truly see them. With a highly visual approach which emphasizes shape, size, and habitat through carefully designed scenes in which multiple birds of different sexes, ages, and plumages interact with realistic habitats, the birder can better grasp the characteristics of each species. Unlike other guides which provide isolated individual photographs or illustrations, these books feature large, lifelike scenes for each species, in order to bring a more practical approach to bird identification. There are also comparative, multispecies scenes and mystery photographs that allow readers to test their identification skills, along with answers and full explanations in the back of the book. Begin reading the Introduction of The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds and the Introduction of The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors now.

warbler guideWith the hope of aiding birders in identifying one of the trickiest species, Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle have created The Warbler Guide, in which the two experts offer a comprehensive look at the 56 species of warblers found in the U.S. and Canada. This groundbreaking guide features more than 1,000 stunning color photos, extensive species accounts with multiple viewing angles, and an entirely new system of vocalization analysis that helps you distinguish songs and calls.  As Robert Mortensen of Birding is Fun puts it, “The Warbler Bible has come forth! This is easily the most comprehensive and fantastic warbler specific guide covering North American Warblers. I am amazed and impressed with each of its features. . . . [A] must-have book.” 

nests, eggs, etcIn the tide of the bird’s natural mating cycle, there’s no book more relevant than Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds, Second Edition by Paul J. Baicich & J.O. Harrison. This guide provides a thorough, species-by-species look at the breeding biology of some 670 species of birds in North America. With complete basic information on the breeding cycle of each species, from nest habitat to incubation to nestling period, this book covers perhaps the most fascinating aspects of North American bird life, their reproduction and the care of their young, which are essential elements in the survival of any species.

There’s no better time to gain an understanding of your region’s birds than during this critical spring migration period.  Check out any and all of these informative books today!

More chances to win bird ebooks!

Crossley’s Rough-legged Hawks

Winter is coming. (Game of Thrones anyone?) Richard Crossley is author of The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors and of The Crossley ID Guide: Britain and Ireland, and the supplier of this awesome plate of a rough-legged hawk.While Migration Season is starting to wind down (which is the same direction every leaf in the state appears to have gone), we’re still fascinated by some of these fierce feathered foes.

Check it out!

Rough-legged hawk


And to check out the free downloads we’re currently offering, check out the links below:
Crossley ID Guide Raptors : A sampler raptor guide in PDF format including photos and real text from the guide
Quick Finders from The Warbler Guide : A ‘quick finder’ designed to help you identify over 50 warblers faster with targeted color photos


The Crossley Halloween Guide

With Halloween fast approaching, everybody is getting into the spooky spirit. Even Richard Crossley, author of The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, is contributing to the mood with this photo of some Black Vultures. Dark and searching for their next deceased meal, these beautiful creatures are equally foreboding and festive for October! Happy Halloween!

Black Vulture

Hawk Mountain Raptors

Throughout migration season, bird sightings of all kinds have been popping up, but few are as exciting as spotting a raptor. In Kempton, Pennsylvania, one has been swarmed with these feathered beauties. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association is dedicated to conserving birds of prey, acting as an observation, research and education facility. They even have a Hawk Mountain Raptor Count, which documents sightings of  falcons, vultures, hawks, and even eagles.

What this essentially means is that if you’re looking to see some amazing raptors in action, you should go to Hawk Mountain. Want to see what we mean? Check out this picture of some Sharp-shinned Hawks from The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, which shows some of these majestic creatures in action:

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

The Raptor Round-Up: Identifying Birds of Prey

Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or not, the sight of a raptor in the sky is an impressive image. From hawks, to falcons, to our illustrious bald eagle, raptors are the kings of the sky, so it seems only right to pay homage to them during this fall migration season.

Listed below we have five of Princeton University Press’ best titles about raptors, including The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, which you can win a free copy of (along with some other cool bird-watching gear) by checking out our fall migration giveaway. There are multiple ways to enter, all of which are outlined at the bottom of this page, or by clicking here. Enjoy!

The Crossley ID Guide
The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors

By: Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori & Brian Sullivan
Part of the revolutionary Crossley ID Guide series, this is the first raptor guide with lifelike scenes composed from multiple photographs–scenes that allow you to identify raptors just as the experts do. Experienced birders use the most easily observed and consistent characteristics–size, shape, behavior, probability, and general color patterns. The book’s 101 scenes–including thirty-five double-page layouts–provide a complete picture of how these features are all related. Comprehensive and authoritative, the book covers all thirty-four of North America’s diurnal raptor species.

Hawks At a Distance
Hawks at a Distance: Identification of Migrant Raptors

By: Jerry Liguori
With a foreword by Pete Dunne
Hawks at a Distance is the first volume to focus on distant raptors as they are truly seen in the field. The field guide’s nineteen full-color portraits, 558 color photos, and 896 black-and-white images portray shapes and plumages for each species from all angles. Useful flight identification criteria are provided and the accompanying text discusses all aspects of in-flight hawk identification, including flight style and behavior. Concentrating on features that are genuinely observable at a distance, this concise and practical field guide is ideal for any aspiring or experienced hawk enthusiast.

Raptors
A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors

By: Brian K. Wheeler & William S. Clark
Whether soaring or perched, diurnal birds of prey often present challenging identification problems for the bird enthusiast. Variable plumage, color morphs, and unique individual characteristics are just some of the factors bird watchers must consider when identifying the different species. In this authoritative reference, two of the world’s top experts on raptors provide an essential guide to the variations in the species, allowing for easier recognition of key identification points. All the distinguishing marks described have been exhaustively tested in a wide range of field conditions by the authors as well as the colleagues and students who have learned from them.

Hawks
Hawks from Every Angle: How to Identify Raptors In Flight

By: Jerry Liguori
Foreword by David A. Sibley
Across North America, people gather every spring and fall at more than one thousand known hawk migration sites, yet a standard field guide, with its emphasis on plumage, is often of little help in identifying those raptors soaring, gliding, or flapping far, far away. Hawks from Every Angle offers a fresh approach that literally looks at the birds from every angle, compares and contrasts deceptively similar species, and provides the pictures (and words) needed for identification in the field. Jerry Liguori pinpoints innovative, field-tested identification traits for each species from the various angles that they are seen.

Raptors
Raptors of Eastern North America: The Wheeler Guides

By:Brian K. Wheeler
Raptors of Eastern North America–together with its companion volume, Raptors of Western North America–are the best and most thorough guides to North American hawks, eagles, and other raptors ever published. Abundantly illustrated with hundreds of full-color high-quality photographs, they are essential books for anyone seeking to identify these notoriously tricky-to-identify birds.

Raptors
Raptors of Western North America: The Wheeler Guides

By:Brian K. Wheeler
Raptors of Western North America–together with its companion volume, Raptors of Eastern North America–are the best and most thorough guides to North American hawks, eagles, and other raptors ever published. Abundantly illustrated with hundreds of full-color high-quality photographs, they are essential books for anyone seeking to identify these notoriously tricky-to-identify birds.


The Crossley ID GuideDon’t forget to check out our Rafflecopter giveaway event!

Our prize package includes a copy of The Warbler Guide, The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, and How to Be a Better Birder, a pair of Zeiss TERRA binoculars, and the audio companion for The Warbler Guide.

How to win these awesome prizes? Visit this post for details, but there are numerous ways to win, including liking any of the three books Facebook pages, emailing us at blog@press.princeton.edu, signing up for our email alerts for Bird and Natural History Titles at http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/,or tweeting at @PrincetonNature or at any of the author’s Twitter pages (@IDCrossleyGuide or @The WarblerGuide). The winner will be selected at the beginning of October.

And to check out the free downloads we’re currently offering, click on the links below:
Crossley ID Guide Raptors : A sampler raptor guide in PDF format
Quick Finders from The Warbler Guide : A ‘quick finder’ designed to help you identify over 50 warblers faster with targeted color photos.

The 2013 Bird Migration Series

The Warbler GuideAs the first day of fall fast approaches (September 22nd to be exact), bird migrations are already starting. To note this annual phenomenon, we are celebrating during the months of September and October with giveaways, free downloads, online quizzes, gorgeous pictures, and countless blog posts from some of the best bird writers we know.

To kick off this winged adventure, we’re taking to the skies with a Rafflecopter giveaway event!

Our prize package includes a copy of The Warbler GuideThe Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, and How to Be a Better Birder, a pair of Zeiss TERRA binoculars, and the audio companion for The Warbler Guide.

The Crossley ID GuideHow to win? Visit this post for details, but there are numerous ways to win, including liking any of the three books Facebook pages, emailing us at blog@press.princeton.edu, signing up for our email alerts for Bird and Natural History Titles at http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/,or tweeting at @PrincetonNature or at any of the author’s Twitter pages (@IDCrossleyGuide or @The WarblerGuide). The winner will be selected at the beginning of October.

Plus weHow To Be A Better Birder have two free downloads that are available at our blog site:

Crossley ID Guide Raptors : A sampler raptor guide in PDF format
Quick Finders from The Warbler Guide : A ‘quick finder’ designed to help you identify over 50 warblers faster with targeted color photos.

Most of all, stay tuned as we continue to post everything you ever wanted to know about bird migrations throughout the fall season.

New FREE E-Book: Common Garden Birds from The Crossley ID Guide: Britain and Ireland

Crossley_Common_Garden_BirdClick here to download the complete e-book, Common Garden Birds [PDF]

This free e-book features Common Garden Birds of Britain and Ireland. This selection of images is drawn from The Crossley ID Guide: Britain and Ireland. These images are available to download/use/link, but please provide credit to The Crossley ID Guide: Britain and Ireland, Princeton University Press, 2013.

Click on the images below to open a full-sized version.

 

Related: Raptors from The Crossley ID Guide, 25 Common Feeder Birds in N. America

 

Blackbird Blue Tit Brambling
Chaffinch Coal Tit Dunnock
Eurasian Collared Dove Goldfinch Great-spotted Woodpecker
Great Tit Greenfinch Long-tailed Tit
Nuthatch Robin Song Thrush
Woodpigeon

Crossley ID Guide Blog Tour, Day 8

Blog tour logo

Today’s featured blogs are:

 

Another Bird Blog discusses the raptor species the UK and US share and gives reader yet another chance to win a copy of The Crossley ID Guide

Radley Ice describes Montana’s successful Peregrine recovery program which is bringing the peregrine falcon back from the brink of destruction.

Amy at Magnificent Frigate Bird volunteers at some wildlife rehabilitation centers and in her post, she introduces us to a few of the raptors that serve as “education ambassadors”–Darwin the Kestrel, 0511 the Red-Tailed Hawk, and others.  Plus if you leave a comment on her post, you’ll be entered to win signed copies of The Crossley ID Guides.

A Charm of Finches post went up relatively late on the 18th, so I want to re-share it here. A terrific review of the book included.

Also, don’t forget to go check out the quiz at Greg Laden’s Blog. Post your response and you’ll be entered into a drawing for 2 lbs of Birds and Beans, Scarlet Tanager coffee!

 

For the complete list of scheduled posts, please click here.

A Q&A with Richard Crossley

The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors is literally shipping today from our warehouse to retailers all over the world. It seems like an opportune time to get Richard Crossley’s thoughts on the response so far to the Crossley ID Guide series, the decision to publish a guide to raptors, and what’s next on the horizon for this popular series. Happily, Richard took a short break from his hefty travel schedule (he was in Seattle last week, Massachusetts Audubon this week to talk about the Crossley books) to answer a few questions:

 

RichardPUP: The Raptors guide is the second in the popular The Crossley ID Guide series. We published the Eastern Birds in 2011. What was the response like to the Eastern Birds guide? Did anything surprise you?

Crossley: The response has been everything I hoped for. No real surprises.

PUP: You’ve been traveling a lot to talk about The Crossley ID Guide. What has the response been from birders?

Crossley: Mixed. Most love it, but some are finding old habits die hard. The Peterson system was a game changer in its day and some people have spent their whole life looking at a sideways bird on a white piece of paper with an arrow pointing at one of the bird’s features. But I’ve always thought we can do better so I challenge readers with complex scenes with multiple birds at different angles, realistic backgrounds, and no arrows. To change a lifetime habit will take time, but my book is based on an understanding of how the mind works and how we learn. Using modern technology we can make images more lifelike, complete, and understandable. For the expert who already has a wealth of knowledge, some of these things are not as vital as for the beginner, but my system is designed around how we learn everything else and it will work for almost everyone.

combo coversPUP: Why did you decide to publish the Raptors guide next?

Crossley: Because it only covers North American raptors it offers a nice contrast to The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds. Because there are fewer species to cover, we can include lots of panoramic double page spreads and each species gets several pages of coverage. While both books have the same in-focus scenes, the additional space really demonstrates the flexibility of this style of imagery and how lifelike scenes are more engaging and informative. Plus we can include lots questions and other thought-provoking things to interest the viewer. The Eastern Birds book introduced the Crossley ID Guides to the world, and the Raptors guide really shows how powerful and beautiful this system of learning can be.

PUP: The plates in the Raptors guide are phenomenal. Do you have a personal favorite? Which raptor was the most difficult to photograph?

Crossley: Thank you. There are lots of plates I really like—you would hope so since I designed them! The one I get the most feedback on is the double page American Kestrel plate—it catches the eye for most people. As a ‘designer’ it is always interesting to try and work out why something is so popular.

1 - kestrel

As for the most difficult to photograph, my stock answer is the one I wasn’t able to get. Thankfully Jerry and Brian have fantastic collections of images that made ‘Raptors’ a relatively easy project.

PUP: That brings up another question. The Eastern Birds was a single authored project. For the Raptors guide you are collaborating with co-authors Jerry Liguori and Brian Sullivan. What was that like?

Crossley: Jerry and Brian are two of the best. Jerry has published several highly acclaimed Raptor books and Brian is a well-known photographer and project manager for eBird. I have known both since the 1980’s—scary how time flies—so there were not a lot of surprises. They handled nearly all the writing and Crossley Books handled the visual side of things. They did a great job. They were asked “to be the bird” for the introductory section of the species accounts and these accounts may well be the highlight of the book. They really give you a fantastic sense of each species’ personality and lifestyle.

PUP: You shot the majority of the photos in the book and they are beautiful. Do you have any special tips or tricks to photograph raptors?

Crossley: Shooting Raptors is the same as for other birds. I am a big fan of travelling light and I always have my camera ready so that when the moment comes it is as simple as point and shoot. The moment often comes when you are not expecting it. The question is, “are you ready for that moment,” because you will never have it again.

PUP: Fans of the Shorebird guide will be pleasantly surprised to find you’ve included mystery plates in the Raptors guide. What was behind that decision?

Crossley: The Crossley ID Guides will always be about inspiring people to understand and relate to nature. Giving people a quick-fix answer is not the goal. The more we look, the more we learn! Questions are the key to understanding because they make us look, see, and ultimately, understand. This is how we learn. People love working out puzzles because they are fun and because they help us improve at whatever we do. The sense of accomplishment and understanding that come from figuring out the answer for ourselves is a powerful aphrodisiac for nature.

PUP: Many of the plates show birds from odd angles—above, below, behind—or in less than ideal lighting situations. Why did you choose to include these plates?

011-early-morning-light-mystery

Crossley: Nature occurs at odd angles and in varying light. The goal of The Crossley ID Guide is to make the images so lifelike that when you see a bird in the field, it matches what you have seen before in the book.

Research shows us that the mind is very good at working things out. The problem comes when we don’t tell the whole story. It is important to show everyone—particularly beginners—the complete picture so they can work it out and understand what they are seeing. If you’ve only seen one image of a bird standing still, looking to the right, and painted in full color, how will this help you identify a bird flying overhead at dusk? The same goes for plumages. So-called “beginner books” often show birds in their brightest breeding plumage and the dullest nonbreeding plumage without showing them in transition between. This is a great way to confuse the reader.

PUP: Speaking of “beginners”, you’ve recently co-founded a new initiative, Pledge to Fledge. Can you tell us a bit about that and where The Crossley ID Guide and books like it fit in?

Crossley: The goal with everything I do these days is to popularize nature, the outdoors and a healthier lifestyle. Ultimately, getting more people involved in birding and nature will result in positive impacts for conservation. Pledge to Fledge is a global birding initiative for birdwatchers to introduce a friend, family member, an associate, or anyone they know to birding. Organisations are encouraged to do it on a larger scale, too. By fledging a birder, taking the ‘pledge’ on the Pledge to Fledge web site (www.pledgetofledge.org), and sharing your stories globally through social media, birdwatchers around the world can help grow birding. We invite everyone to take part in April and August. Pledge to Fledge is an organization for us all to come together and make a difference.

The Crossley ID Guide series is part of this popularization because the books make birds and nature accessible, too. With the publication of The Crossley ID Guide: Britain and Ireland, we’re taking this message to a global audience, and while we don’t have additional plans for international guides at this time, the opportunities for places such as China are very exciting.

PUP: You’ve mentioned the Britain and Ireland guide, so that brings me to the million dollar question. What else is coming down the pike and will you publish other books on specific groups of birds?

Crossley: There are a number of books in The Crossley ID Guide series that are close to completion. A complete guide for Britain and Ireland will come out this November. That will be closely followed by a guide to Waterfowl and then a major guide to Western Birds of North America. We hope to have both of those books out in 2014 and have additional projects planned after that. Fun times but some sleep would be nice!

PUP: Last question, I promise. Who is the audience for the Raptors guide? How do you hope people will use it?

Crossley: Given the previous answers, I hope everyone will recognize it is for you. It is for people who love the beautiful outdoors. And, of course, it is for people who enjoy birds; who want to know their personalities and how they feed and behave; and who want to connect in a way that is different to other published Raptor guides. If you want to identify, age and sex birds, we believe it is the best. The mystery photos are suitable for beginners and intermediate birders. There is something for everyone.

Birding for me is a voyage of discovery that is exciting. I always wish discovery to be at the heart our books. Hopefully, this will prove to be a book that everyone enjoys for some reason, even if they didn’t expect to. Well, that is my dream…..

PUP: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.

 

Crossley ID Guide Blog Tour, Day 6

Blog tour logo

Today’s featured blogs are:

Birdchick.com – A feature on the Northern Goshawk and a chance to win a copy of The Crossley ID Guide

Charm of Finches – A feature on raptors found in Southern Texas

Minnesota Bird Nerd - A feature on Hawk Ridge and raptor counting

Nemesis Bird posts the answer to the mystery plate quiz and announces the winner. Was it you? Thank you so much to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary for donating an outstanding prize!!

Also, in case you missed it on Friday, we announced the a November 2013 publication date for The Crossley ID Guide: Britain and Ireland. Birdwatch magazine posted some sneak peeks.

 

For the complete list of scheduled posts, please click here.