Monday, April 30, 2012

Review of How to Be a Better Birder

The following is a review of Derek Lovitch's How to Be a Better Birder. While there is no trick or fast-track to being a great birder, this book provides a lot of easy to follow and easy to practice methods to increase your birding skills and your enjoyment of birding.
How to Be a Better Birder begins with a chapter on advanced field identification, with a focus on using a "whole bird and more" approach. Using this method will help you identify more birds more often. Nobody can identify everything all of the time, but with practice you can begin to identify birds based on movements and overall appearance versus obscure, often hidden field markings.
Following advanced field identification, there are chapters on birding by habitat and birding with geography. These sections go hand in hand and are equally important for understanding what birds you will find where. With more knowledge on these topics you will improve your ability to identify more birds as well as discover those birds that are rare and out of the ordinary.
Next there are chapters on birding and weather and birding at night. These two sections go into detail on how to use weather forecasting, radar, and more on how to predict and anticipate where birds may show up, mostly during migration. Websites and other resources are listed throughout for you to learn these tools more thoroughly.
The chapter on birding with a purpose takes a different approach to the idea of "being a better birder". The focus here isn't necessarily building up your skillet but putting your growing skills to good use for conservation and citizen science. We wholeheartedly believe in this, although sometimes it is hard to follow through!
The book ends with a chapter on "patch listing". Here Mr. Lovitch focuses on the joys and benefits from birding extensively at local spots or "patches". He has a few small parameters and sets goals to build patch lists and in doing so, is able to learn more about habitat, distribution, and the birds themselves.
How to Be a Better Birder reaches a wide audience from beginner to expert. The tone and flow of the book allow you to gradually learn new methods to be a better birder. You're bound to find several nuggets of information that you can use today, tomorrow, and always in the search for more birds.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher and the review originally appeared on


  1. Great review! Sounds like a wonderful book filled with useful information.

  2. It's now on my list of books to acquire. Thanks!