The Backyard Bird Lover’s Field Guide

Author: Sally Roth
Genre: Nature/Outdoors
Publisher: Rodale Inc.
ISBN: 1-59486-602-3
Pages: 336
Price: $19.95

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“When you identify birds by name, they feel like friends.

That is Sally Roth’s assertion, noted on the back of her very pleasant book, The Backyard Bird Lover’s Field Guide. If you are accustomed to the usual suspects utilized for bird identification, such as the Peterson’s guide or Sibley’s, Roth’s work will give you a refreshing, simple alternative. And if you’re a novice birder, it’s just what you need.

Roth begins by describing a bit of bird-watching history along with personal reasons on how and why one should pursue such an activity. She writes with a casual, light-hearted style that makes it seem like you’re reading notes from a familiar acquaintance. The large number of vivid photographs adds additional life to her homespun tales.

The author gets to the heart of solving the avian identification riddle by describing specific geographic regions around the United States detailed with native birds in mind. The information is especially handy for those who enjoy traveling or are just curious about common bird populations around the country.

The book provides easy directions for identifying a variety of well-known species. What are your “First Impressions” of the bird in question? “Details, details,” and “Listen up!” are just a few of the categories one should consider. Roth even tells us what seeds they will eat from birdfeeders and the types of vegetation they prefer. Each page is capped off with a short recollection or insight of the featured bird.

The focus and style of Sally Roth’s field guide make this a valued addition to any bird lover’s collection. It may be slanted to newcomers, but it’s a great way for anyone to become friends with the birds.

Reviewer: Gene Berger