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Thursday, December 12, 2019

REVIEW: Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America

So I've been sitting on this review for over a year--a very worthy title that I want to do justice to, but have struggled with how to review.  Here's the short of it--this is a pathbreaking book, representing an amazing new effort in birdsound identification that I want to be successful, but one that I am still struggling with.

Donna at 10,000 Birds has a great review of the book here.  If you haven't read that yet, it's a great place too start.

Take a look at the sample pages--they show what a great design this book has, with spectrograms of most of the bird sounds of the 520 bird species normally found east of the 100th meridian.  These are made from the 5400+ audio files that accompany the book, found online at  Checking out this excellent website, you quickly notice that there are more sounds here than included in the field guide.  That's one of the first difficulties of treating a subject like this--there just isn't room in a standard bird guide to cover every sound one might hear out there.

I am very intregued by the system that Pieplow created to classify bird sounds.  Unfortunately, I haven't put in the time to learn his nomenclature, so I'm not sure how useful it is.  So this book creates a whole new way to classify and understand bird sounds--which is great on one level, but seemingly requires significant time and effort to learn and use.  Time and effort I haven't been able to put in yet, and am not sure I will ever get around to.

So I recommend this as an amazing resource, but would like to hear more from folks who have actually used it to learn and identify bird vocalizations.  What is the best way to use this book?  How have you used it to actually learn and identify birds?


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