Duluth birder and author Laura Erickson has written a wonderful guide to Minnesota birds. Released in August, published by the American Birding Association, it is the writing that takes it away from the ranks of other field guides and makes it better.

"Field Guide to Birds of Minnesota" contains text and photos of 300 bird species one is most likely to encounter when birding in the state. There are maps, index, American Birding Association Code of Ethics, and the usual information about habitats, sounds, bird parts (wonderfully and clearly illustrated), developing identification skills, and a detailed list of some of our better places to use this guide.

Photos throughout the book, by the way, are very good, showing most species in profile, others, like raptors, from below.

All descriptions are brief, as usual for such books, but Ms. Erickson brings serious writing skills to all of the text here. Most bird ID text is totally business. Ms. Erickson gives us small images of bird personality as well as physical features. She writes with style, describing in a few well-chosen words germain descriptions of habitat, behavior, and song as well as appearance.

Maybe you don't need another field guide, but this one is different. It is better.

Waterproof cover, 330 pages, index, quick index, and hundreds of lovely photos. Price is $21.95.