UPDATE: THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.
We're giving away five copies of the Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding—each one signed by the author, Kenn Kaufman. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below, and be sure to include a viable email address (it won't show up on the page). The official rules are below. The contest ends at midnight, Friday, March 29, 2013. In the meantime, Kaufman shares a bit about the fantastic guide below. Good luck!
In the two decades since the first edition of Advanced Birding was published, the amount of information available has increased by staggering amounts. In the late 1980s, a serious birder’s reference library on ID would have included Gulls: A Guide to Identification by P. J. Grant, Shorebirds: An Identification Guide by Peter Hayman et al., and a handful of detailed articles from British and American birding magazines.
Amazon.com"/>Today there are multiple fine books specifically treating the identification of gulls, shorebirds, hawks, hummingbirds, and any other group you can think of, and so many fine articles have been published that it is impossible to keep track of them all. In the late 1980s, Peter Pyle had just produced a first slim guide to the molts and plumages of songbirds. Today that guide has been superseded by two fat volumes by Pyle, totalling over 1,500 pages, detailing molt, plumage sequences, and geographic variation of every North American bird. In the late 1980s an expert birder asked me, in all seriousness, whether the Pomarine Jaeger even has a distinct plumage as a juvenile. Today it takes a few clicks on the Internet to find dozens of photos of this plumage, and many of these actually are identified correctly! What had been a trickle of published material has become a torrent. While the challenge formerly had been to find basic information on identifying most birds, the challenge now is to sift through the blizzards of information to find those points that are relevant, significant, and reliable.
As times change, reference books and field guides must change also. The first edition of Advanced Birding included detailed chapters on identification of 34 species pairs or groups, providing information that was not readily available to most birders. Simply updating that book now without changing its focus would hardly serve a useful purpose, because virtually all birders have access to vastly more information today than they did in 1990.
If I were to simply list more and more field marks for more species, this guide would take on the dimensions of an encyclopedia before it added materially to what is already available. So in this edition I have taken a different approach altogether, and the focus here is on how to identify birds, or how to learn to identify birds. In other words, it’s not about memorizing field marks, it’s about truly understanding what you see and hear.
Most of this book, then, consists of a thorough exploration of how to look at birds and how to listen to them, how to come to grips with the special challenges of each group of birds. Unlike many field guides, this one is not designed for quick reference in the field. The best time to study it is before going out to look at birds. The first seven chapters will help orient you to universal aspects of bird recognition. Then, if you’re heading to the tidal flats or the sewage ponds, read the chapter on learning to identify shorebirds. If you’re heading to a hawkwatch site, read the chapter on learning to identify birds of prey. And so on.
In addition to all these introductory chapters, I have included ten “sample” chapters treating specific groups in depth. These should be useful in their own right, but they also illustrate various principles: the challenges involved in identifying jaegers, for example, are very different from those we encounter with Empidonax flycatchers. As you master the identification of more groups of birds, you will develop the kind of background knowledge that makes it easier to learn even more.
KAUFMAN FIELD GUIDE GIVEAWAY OFFICIAL RULES AND REGULATIONS
1) Sponsor: Audubon Magazine, an operating unit of National Audubon Society, Inc., 225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014 (“Audubon Magazine” or “Audubon”).
2) No purchase necessary.
3) The “Kaufman Field Guide Giveaway” (“Contest”) is open from 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (“ET”) on March 4, 2013 through 11:59 p.m. ET on March 29, 2013;
4) Eligible entrants must be at least 18 years old as of March 4, 2013, a resident of the contiguous 48 United States. Employees, officers, and directors of Sponsors, and each of their respective parents, subsidiaries, and any and all entities directly associated with the Contest, including immediate family members and members of the same household, are not eligible to participate (collectively with Sponsor, the “Contest Entities”). Void where prohibited by law. Contest is governed by U.S. law and subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. By entering the Contest, entrants agree to accept and be bound by all the terms of these Official Rules and Regulations (“Official Rules”).
5) To enter leave a comment by completing the “Your name”, “E-mail” and “Comment” fields (the Submission”) on the following article page of Audubon Magazine’s website: http://mag.audubon.org/articles/living/win-signed-copy-kaufman-field-guide-advanced-birding. The “Homepage” field on such article page is optional and will have no effect on your chances. Email addresses submitted with any Submission must be valid. Sponsors reserve the right in their sole discretion to disqualify and remove any Submission at any time in the event it is determined Submission is offensive, inappropriate, not in keeping with Sponsor’s image or if it is determined that the entrant has not otherwise complied with any portion of these Official Rules.
6) Only one entry permitted per person.
7) Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received.
8) Five winners will each receive one copy of the book The Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding, by Kenn Kaufman, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2011 (value: $21) (Total value of all prizes: $105).
9) Winners will be selected by a random drawing conducted by Audubon Magazine on April 5 and notified by Audubon Magazine via email on or before April 8, 2013. If within five (5) business days using Audubon Magazine’s reasonable effort, any winner does not respond to Audubon Magazine’s notification email, or otherwise cannot be contacted, or is found to be ineligible, an alternate winner may be selected.
10) Sponsors are not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate entry information, viruses, bugs, malfunctions, or other any other errors, human or otherwise, regardless of the cause (collectively, an “Error”). In the event of any Error, Sponsors reserve the right, in their sole discretion to discontinue, suspend, cancel, or modify the Contest. In the event of cancellation, Sponsors reserve the right to judge all eligible, non-suspect entries received prior to the Error requiring such cancellation using the selection procedure outlined above. Sponsors, joint and severally, reserve the right in their sole discretion to disqualify any entrant at any time in the event of any evidence of false or deceptive acts by an entrant, including, but not limited to, multiple Submissions or Submissions generated by script, macro or other automatic means; any Submission determined to be offensive, inappropriate or not in keeping with Sponsors’ image; or failure to otherwise comply with these Official Rules. Prize is subject to availability. No substitution or transfer of prizes or cash redemptions permitted, except at Sponsor’s sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute for any reason whatsoever a prize (or portion thereof) of comparable or greater value, at their sole discretion. Sponsors do not have, nor shall have in the future, any duty or liability, direct or indirect, vicarious, contributory, or otherwise, with respect to the infringement or protection of any copyright in and to entrant’s Submission. Winners are responsible for the reporting and payment of all taxes as well as any other costs and expenses associated with acceptance and use of their prize not specified herein as being awarded.
11) Contest Entities and their designees have the right, unless prohibited by law, to use entrant’s name, city and state of residence, voice, picture and likeness, without compensation, notification or approval, for the purpose of advertising and publicizing the goods, services and mission of the Contest Entities and all matters related to the Contest, in any manner or medium, now or hereafter known, throughout the world in perpetuity.
12) Entrants may be required to execute any documents necessary to perfect such rights in the Sponsors. By entering this Contest and/or accepting the prize, entrant and/or winner agrees to, and hereby does, release the Contest Entities from any and all liability, loss or damage arising from or in connection with participation or attempt to participate in the Contest and/or the awarding, receipt, use or misuse of the prize or participation in any prize related activities, and claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy. The Contest Entities and their parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates and divisions, and their respective directors, officers, employees, attorneys, representatives and agents make no warranties, and hereby disclaim all warranties, express or implied, concerning any prize furnished or awarded in connection with the Contest, including, but not limited to, any winner’s ability to claim a prize awarded in the Contest for reasons of the prize provider’s bankruptcy, insolvency or failure to continue its business. WITHOUT LIMITING THE GENERALITY OF THE FOREGOING, SUCH PRIZES ARE PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AND THE CONTEST ENTITIES HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL SUCH WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND/OR NONINFRINGEMENT.
13) You may obtain the name and city of residence of winners by mailing a self-addressed stamped envelope to Kaufman Field Guide Giveaway, c/o Audubon Magazine, 225 Varick Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10014.