Book Review

Birds of the Mid-Atlantic Region

and Where to Find Them

Image: Book CoverThere aren't a lot of books on the birds of Delaware – actually there's only one that I know of – or of this region. So this book is a welcome addition!

Author John H. Rappole is an ornithologist and research scientist at the Smithsonian Institution Conservation and Research Center in Virginia. He has also written or co-authored books on the Birds of Texas, Birds of the Southwest and The Ecology of Migrant Birds.

There are many good reasons to recommend this book, not the least of which is its reasonable cost, especially for a book with such a limited potential audience. It's an excellent book to aid the beginning birder, as well as for experienced birders or birders from other regions visiting the mid-Atlantic states for the first time.

The book starts with a section on how to use the guide, a general description of the mid-Atlantic region, and a short section on migrations. One of the most useful features in Rappole's book is a "Locator for Mid-Atlantic Birding Sites." It lists good birding locations in Delaware — as well as in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The actual birding guide is color-coded according to types of birds. For each species, the guide provides common name, scientific name, length and wing span, call, habitat, similar species, a distribution map and description, and suggestions on where to find them in the region. There is one photograph of the male of each species. I wish the photos were larger, and they don't show the female or variations within a species. Aside from that criticism, this is a useful guide I'll keep with me.

Birds of the Mid-Atlantic Region also has a reference section and a good index. It measures 5¼ by 8¼ – perhaps a little large but still a comfortable fit in a purse, glove compartment or backpack.

– Reviewed by Fred Breukelman
Vice President, Delaware Audubon Society
Reviewed in 2003