So in my initial review of the Crossley ID Guide, I mentioned that the text for each species account seems shorter than found in most field guides. But the more I read, the more I wondered. There seemed to be a lot more there than I had originally thought. So I had to break out some other guides and do a comparison. As I suspected, there was a lot more in the Crossley ID Guide than I had originally given it credit for. Here's a comparison word count for each species account in Crossley ID and several recent field guides, including the new Stokes guide, the original Big Sibley, Kaufman's guide, the Smithsonian guide, NWF guide, and 5th edition National Geographic Society guide.
As this comparison should make it clear, the Crossley ID guide holds its own against the other guides, with only the Stokes guide coming in with a consistently higher word count per species, and Kaufman coming in almost always below Crossley ID in word count.
Here are the rankings by total word count for these hopefully representative species accounts:
Big Sibley 1591
Nat Geo 1141
Crossley ID 1014
So while Crossley ID does come in below most of the other guides, the text isn't that much shorter. And since Crossley ID spends almost no words on descriptions of vocalizations, the amount of words spent describing the behavior and plumage of each birds is very similar to that found in most of the other guides. Note that though this count is skewed by the Red-tailed Hawk account, which is probably the longest in the Stokes guide, even without it the rankings remain about the same.
One finding of this quick comparison that shocked me was how much text is actually in Big Sibley--which I've also thought in the past was a bit spare on text. Turns out it has more text per species than almost all the other guides. Of course, the new Stokes guide is the most wordy. And I have to say, actually counting the words in the Kaufman guide made me like that guide even more--nothing like a spare, beautifully executed format and design to warm the heart--at least the part of my heart that I inherited from several Danish ancestral lines :-)
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