Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.

Posts about Bird books

David Sibley to speak in Minneapolis

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: January 31, 2014 - 8:36 AM

Author and artist David Sibley will speak at the Bell Museum of Natural History at 7 p.m. on April 2. He will talk about his new book, "The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition." The book contains 600 new paintings, additional information, and includes 111 bird species rare in North America. The event will be co-sponsored by The Bell Museum and The Bookcase of Wayzata. The event will require tickets, cost of which can be applied to purchase of the book. Ticket information is yet to come. The book will be in stores on March 11.

Free help with warbler identification

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: January 30, 2014 - 12:08 PM

Free quick-find warbler identification pages are available from Princeton University Press. There are seven pieces in the set, all downloadable as pdf or jpg files. Each opens as a full-color image 10 by 7 inches. The guides are taken from the book “The Warbler Guide,” a Princeton publication by Tom Stephenson and Scott White. There guides are: warbler faces, birds at a 45-degree view, eastern warblers spring, eastern warblers fall, undertail view, complete under view, and western spring warblers. I downloaded faces and 45-degree-look as pdf files. ID is possible from the images. I think these would be very useful for photographers in particular, when a photo image poses ID questions. Compare your photo with the illustration on your pdf file, both there on your computer screen. If you have the book (and a fine ID guide it is), you have these quick-find pages. Having them on the computer, side by side with your photos, should make the ID effort easier. Go to blog.press.princeton.edu, choose the page for birds and natural history, choose free download quick finders, and download (very fast). Here is the faces guide. This is a reduction from the actual 10x7 size.

David Sibley's new book -- interview and first look

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: November 20, 2013 - 11:10 AM

You can read David Sibley's comments about his forthcoming revised and improved "Guide to Birds," and see some of its pages, thanks to BirdWatching magazine.

The magazine's Web site offers a recent interview with Sibley, and a look at 10 pages from this second edition.

Go to  http://bit.ly/1aGfxKh

I've just read the interview and looked at the sample pages. The changes are noteworthy. This truly is a new and improved edition. Not that I don't have enough field guides, but I'll buy this one when it comes out in March. Thanks to BirdWatching magazine and editor Chuck Hagner for this preview.

Sibley second edition coming in March

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: November 1, 2013 - 9:54 PM

A second edition of “The Sibley Guide to Birds” will be published in March. The first edition, hugely popular, came out more than a dozen years ago. Author and artist David Allen Sibley has completely revised his first book. There are larger illustrations, more illustrations, repainted illustrations, and expanded text. The reworked paintings will show more detail. Paintings of 85 rare species will be included. The expanded text will offer conservation status, habitat information, and tips on finding birds in the field. Maps have been updated. Release date for the hardcover volume is expected to be March 11. Amazon has the book listed at its discount price of $27.79.

Landscaping for backyard birding

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: November 5, 2013 - 11:48 PM

“Bird Homes and Habitats,” a new book about making your backyard bird-friendly, features a Duluth resident who has done so. Dudley Edmondson, an active Minnesota birder, and his wife Nancy describe their improvement project along with 14 other homeowners in this book, “Bird Home and Habitats.”

It’s one of the books in the Backyard Bird Guide series from the magazine “BirdWatcher’s Digest” and its editor, Bill Thompson III. It carries the Peterson Field Guide imprimatur.

Photos and text guide you from project beginning to end. There are lessons to learn about food, water, cover, and nesting opportunities, the latter focusing on bird boxes. Yards large and small are included.

One of the smallest, half of a California lot 60 by 120 feet (the house sits on the other half), is described by owner Alvaro Jaramillo as a “pretty lame backyard” when he and his wife purchased the home new.

Jaramillo and his wife changed the lot from lame to birdy with native and drought-resistant plants and shrubs placed to form a thicket for winter cover.

The Edmondsons needed to replace people-friendly landscaping with bird-friendly. They began with the soil, followed with native and bird-friendly trees and shrubs. The latter focused on fruit-bearing varieties. They used highbush cranberry, juneberry, chokecherry, and elderberry. The mountain ash trees that came with the house provide another bird-favorite fruit.

They have feeding stations and nest boxes. Edmondson wants to create additional shrubby and brushy areas for nesters.

The success stories fill the back of the book. The first half offers instructions on all the things you might want to do to make your yard a welcome habitat for birds. 

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