New On The Shelf: The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds: Eastern & Western Region

New on the Shelf: The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds: Eastern & Western Region Donald & Lillian Stokes. Little, Brown and Company, 2013. Paperback. $19.99 each.
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These brand new field guides from Donald and Lillian Stokes are sure to become a valuable resource for many bird enthusiasts. Based on the best-selling The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America, which was released in 2010, these updated volumes are split into two portable, regional guides, making them more concise and easier to handle in the field.

Jam-packed with thousands of brilliant photos, these books are among the most comprehensive North American field guides. Multiple images are included for each species, allowing for easy comparison between plumage differences: male, female, summer, winter, and various ages. The birds are featured from various angles, and subspecies and hybrids are included for many species.

Each guide sports an attractive, clutter-free layout that is fun to browse at home as well as easy to use in the field. "Identification Tips" boxes are featured throughout, going over difficult groups such as gulls and sparrows. All of the information is presented in an accessible, beginner-friendly format.

The text highlights key field marks, with a cutting-edge emphasis on what to look for in the overall shape of the bird. Detailed notes on habitat and voice are included. The range maps appear to be accurate, up-to-date, and depict migration routes for many species.

One of my favorite features of the Stokes guides is the emphasis on identifying birds in flight. Many of the photos depict flying birds, and each species profile highlights aspects of plumage and shape to look for in flying birds (e.g., the pointed tail feathers in bobolinks). Flight patterns and behavioral clues are also described, such as the strong, direct flight of Bullock's orioles, and the fact that purple martins tend to soar more than other swallows.

Not only do these guides feature beautiful photos and a user-friendly format, attractive features to brand-new birders, but they also contain enough detail and information to make them a valuable resource for seasoned veterans.

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  • I have experienced this when a house wren punctured 5 blue bird eggs last spring in our blue bird box. Then I hung out a wren box by the trees and he got busy filling it and left the bluebirds alone and they successfully raised another brood!
    by Susan, Sun, 07 Apr 2019
  • I also have several turkeys that live in the woods behind me. They visit early morning and near sundown. Living in the country with a mountain and brook behind my house, I have animals visiting 24hrs a day. My turkeys are awesome. They know me and wait for their breakfast. They hop up on my patio wall to look in my windows. I also noticed the 2 birds that are the lookouts. They come over to eat as the others march across my lawn to my neighbor who also feeds the animals. We also have coyotes that, I am sure, have eaten turkey dinner. The squirrels run around and chase them to protect their seeds and cracked corn. I feed my 3 raccoons peanut butter jelly sandwiches, which they share with a possum and 3 skunks, at the same time, by the way. No food goes into my garbage. Meat scraps go to crows and hawks. Everything else, even soup, gets eaten before the sun is completely set. That keeps bears away if no dishes are there to entice. I break up bread in tiny pieces now and turkeys 'gobble' it up. So happy to find another person that enjoys wildlife. Nothing is more satisfying than walking out side and spotting Daisy the skunk, calling her name and watching her tripping all over herself, running to meet you. Thank you for your valuable information.
    by Stella Kachur, Wed, 27 Mar 2019
  • This is exactly my experience. The local feed store had some on sale so I thought I'd try some. Actually I was shocked at how it is avoided, and I've been feeding birds for more than 40 years. I suppose I've never had it out as the ONLY food source, but when I put it out along with the blackoil, peanuts, cracked corn and suet cakes, absolutely nothing would touch it. Even when I dumped some on the ground the rabbits wouldn't eat it, nor would the squirrels. Eventually some turkeys and deer ate some--when they could find nothing else underneath the other feeders. But even they left plenty on the ground which they NEVER do with cracked corn, sunflower, etc.Every person should try some if they're inclined and decide for themselves since every situation may be a bit different, but for me/my species, safflower is a big no.
    by Colin Croft, Sun, 03 Mar 2019
  • I have questions about the Zick Dough? It says not to use in cold weather. It is still in the 40s here. Too soon? How long should I expect a supply to last? And, use a tray feeder? Thanks.
    by martindf, Sun, 25 Nov 2018
  • Glad I found this. I'm a snowbird and was worried about all the birds that come to feed at my birdfeeder. I have Cardinals, sparrows, doves, Blue Jays, chickadees. I hope they'll find food elsewhere while I'm gone.
    by Donna, Sat, 03 Nov 2018