Sibley Guide to Bird Behavior

Elphick, Chris, John Dunning and David Allen Sibley, eds. The Sibley Guide to Brid Behavior. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.

Reason read: January is Adopt a Bird month…or something like that.

I have to say this right off the bat, because I think it is funny and potentially points to my birding ignorance. At the end of this Sibley guide there is a “Species Checklist” which makes a lot of sense until you consider the size and weight of the book. Surely Elphrick, Dunning and Sibley don’t want you carrying this behemoth into the field!
What you need to know about this guide is that it is unique in its voice. In addition to its glossary there is a section on author biographies because each chapter is an essay written by a variety of folks. Not just ornithologists and other types of bird experts contributed an essay or two. Students, biologists, naturalists, ecologists, writers, museum curators, photographers, and even a B&B owner. In the introduction it is noted that the whole purpose of this book is to be an introduction to the great variety and complexity of bird life. What I failed to notice is that the essays are written by and for birders.
Additionally, the illustrations and maps are stunning.

I don’t have a favorite quote or line from this book, but I do have a favorite bird. On page 485 is the chapter on Waxwings. The Bohemian is my all time favorite.

Author Editor facts: Elphick is a birder since childhood. Dunning is an associate professor at Purdue. Sibley is not only an editor but he is the illustrated and technical consultant on the project.

Book trivia: All of the illustrations were done by David Allen Sibley and are beautiful.

Nancy said: Pearl calls The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior “indispensable” (Book Lust p 40).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the funny chapter “Bird Brains” (p 39).



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