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

The hummingbirds are back in New Jersey already!!

ruby throated humminbird

Check out this map at to see when they arrived in your region.

Meantime, enjoy this gorgeous plate from The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds.

Birdchick posts the winning Crossley-style photoshop photo

Last week, Birdchick posed a challenge to her readers — “Take the Northern Goshawk plate from The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, Photoshop yourself into it, and make it your own.” She has just announced the winning plate:


Birdchick has several honorable mentions up at her site, so check them all out. This is my personal favorite:


Love seeing all this creativity!

Last day to enter The Crossley ID Guide Sweepstakes

To celebrate the publication of The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, we are giving away the ultimate prize pack to one lucky fan in this sweepstakes.

Included in the prize are a pair of Nikon Trailblazer ATB 8×42 binoculars, an autographed copy of The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds, an autographed copy of The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors (signed by all three authors!), The Wild Birds Unlimited Window Feeder, Videos of the 1st and 2nd seasons of Birding Adventures TV, the Audubon Birds app, and a year’s membership with the American Birding Association (includes a year’s subscription to Birding magazine). Basically, the prize contains everything you need to get started birdwatching and/or to improve your ID skills.

The sweepstakes runs from March 7 through March 22 and there are many ways to enter the random drawing. Please see details on how to enter and eligibility requirements below. You can also enter the sweepstakes by emailing (one entry per day) with CrossleyEntry in the subject or text of your email.

The sweepstakes closes today at 7 PM EST.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A huge thank you to all of organizations that donated prizes for the sweepstakes:

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary logowicked-joe-logo[1]

birds and beansnikon-optics-logo[1]

Feeder script NS horizontal wSSNY




Crossley ID Guide Blog Tour, Day 10

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It’s the final day of the blog tour. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about raptors and, of course, The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors.

Today’s featured blogs are:

Birding New Jersey and the World – Feature on Harris’s Hawk

Birder’s Library – A run-down and comparison of additional raptor books

Celery Farm – A local NJ blog dishes on its resident family of Red-Shouldered Hawks (I’m linking to last week’s update on the family, but look for a new one later today).

Round Robin @ Cornell Lab – Identification tips on the Sharp-Shinned Hawk.

An please make sure to join us for a FREE, live online event with the authors of The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors. For those of you who have been lucky enough to attend a Birds and Beers party with the Birdchick, this is like that, only anyone can come from all over the world, and we all convene online at Shindig.  Pre-registration is not required, you can just show up at 6 PM:

Also, today is the last day to enter The Crossley ID Guide Sweepstakes, so go grab as many entries as you can!

For the complete list of posts that have been part of the tour, please click here.

Crossley ID Guide Blog Tour, Day 9

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Today’s featured blogs are:

BRDPICS  – Tips on raptor photography & ID from an expert.

Thermal Birding has a Q&A with Brian Sullivan, co-author of The Crossley ID Guide and project leader at eBird. He discusses his favorite hawk-watching site, how he got started down the raptor path, and his favorite hawks, which include…

The ubiquitous Red-Tailed Hawk, the raptor featured in the tour stop at NatureShare.

Don’t forget to pre-register or make a note in your calendar for our Raptor ID Happy Hour: The fun begins tomorrow night at 6 PM and is open to anyone with access to a computer.


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

Crossley ID Guide Blog Tour, Day 8

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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.

Take Flight with the Crossley ID Guide: White-tailed Kite


Click on the photo above to view a larger image.


White-tailed Kites nest in a variety of coastal prairie and open habitats throughout their range, and in late summer through winter can be seen in rather large concentrations near communal roost sites, and in places where foraging is good. They are often seen in association with Northern Harriers, as the two feed on the same prey and occupy the same habitats. Can you find the Northern Harrier in this plate from The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors?

To see ALL blog posts related to The Crossley ID Guide, 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?


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 (, 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

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Today’s featured blogs are: – 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.



Crossley ID Guide Blog Tour, Day 5

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Today’s featured blogs are:

As promised, Birdwatch magazine has made a very important announcement regarding The Crossley ID Guide series. The Crossley ID Guide: Britain and Ireland will publish in November 2013. They have sample plates from the British guide, too.

And over at Birding is Fun, Robert Mortensen has written a feature on the Swainson’s Hawk (let’s all hope he’s illustrated it with another Crossley-style plate or perhaps a video with raptor-planking in it).

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


Crossley ID Guide Blog Tour, Day 4

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Today’s featured blogs are:

Nemesis Bird – A review of The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors

Birding Etc. – Comparison of plates from The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors

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