Enter by December 31, 2013 to be in the drawing. See Nancy's review of the books and learn more about the giveaway via her post Book Review: Birds of the Midwest Adventure Quick Guide.
NOTE: Looking for a last-minute Christmas gift for the birdwatchers on your list? The Kindle version of The Warbler Guide is on sale for just $9.88, a savings of 67% off the list price and a significant discount from Amazon's regular price of $16.17. Kindle Books can be gifted in moments via email - it's easy! Act fast, the price can go up any time!
The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle. Published 2013. As reviewed and pictured: Flexibound, 560 pages.
I used to read travel guides cover to cover. They aren't really meant to be read that way, but I enjoyed planning future holidays so much that I couldn't help myself.
When I started birding, I began to accumulate books on birding. Unlike the travel guides, I never read a field guide all the way through. With even my favorites, only the introductory sections got my full attention, while the species accounts were browsed through at leisure or certain sections studied only when I needed them.
New this year, The Warbler Guide turned out to be a genuine page-turner for this birder.
Before the species accounts begin, the authors delve into identification tricks and tips, first covering "What to notice on a warbler". This goes deeper than the typical topographical bird maps found in most guides. A lot of pages are devoted to learning warbler songs, calls, and chip notes, including in-depth instruction on reading and understanding sonograms.
Before getting to the species accounts, there are some great "quick-finder" keys. In the book and as separate print-outs they are an effective way to quickly scan for a bird, with several view choices available depending on how much of the bird's body you managed to observe.
The species accounts themselves are as in-depth as you'd expect in a quality family-only guide. Photos of full and limited views are accompanied by detailed ID tips, including habitat, foraging technique, behaviors, and more. When plumage differences exist between sexes or ages, they are treated independently -- with distinctive views and comparison species shared per plumage.
The Quiz and Review section at the back of the book is a great way to use the skills and techniques shared in the preceding pages. A couple of additional quick-finder style indexes are also found towards the back of the book: warblers in flight and warblers in silhouette. All of this and much more make The Warbler Guide an outstanding family-only resource for birders looking beyond their general field guide. I give The Warbler Guide 5 Goldfinches out of 5.
Each year Neiman Marcus offers a Fantasy Gift catalog with a range of experiences and products aimed at the very, very wealthy. This year a special falconry accessory set is in the offering, with a price tag of $150k. Look at the opulence!
The Bespoke Global Falconry Companion includes two oiled walnut chairs, a 20-karat gold plated falconry perch and leather perch scale, four hoods with hood stands, two lead crystal beverage decanters, and a backgammon board featuring gold plated brass playing pieces. Everything a modern falconer needs. Business Insider called this luxury falconry collection "absurd" but I certainly wouldn't turn it down. ;)