Having followed John Vanderpoel's Big Year in 2011, the name of Steve Howell, and those of his collaborators, Brian Patterson, Kate Sutherland, and Debra Shearwater were familiar to me. If you want to see seabirds, you go on pelagic trips with these folks...the birding gods of the open seas. And now they have given us their bible: Petrels, Albatrosses & Storm-Petrels of North America.
Unfortunately, most of my birding to date has been land-locked. When I do make that pelagic excursion, this book will be my study guide. It is densely packed with text, photos, and maps. A doctorate level field guide if you will, but readable to the average birder and useful to the ornithologist.
As pelagic birding is still one of the great frontiers with new species for North America being discovered seemingly every year you can count on Howell's bible maintaining an open cannon.
See some sample pages below or click on the cover above for more details:
As a birder lusting for the tropics, this is a book that sends adrenaline rushing through my veins. A book dedicated to some of nature's coolest bird species. Pages 48-115 are like a field guide, with brief details adjacent to a color plate with illustrations. The remaining pages providing in-depth information for each species including tips on identification, distribution text and maps, a discussion of movements within their range, habitat, physical description with very detailed measurements, discussions about geographical variation and subspecies, voice, natural history, breeding, food and feeding, and current conservation status. The descriptive text also is accompanied by several photos of each species, so you get the best of both the illustrative and photographic worlds. Cotingas and Manakins is better than an encyclopedia for more than 130 species. Click on the link for more details.